Classiness is an elusive quality that many strive for, and few attain.
It’s a refined elegance, an air of sophistication that makes you stand out.
But just like not everything that glitters is gold, not everyone who wants to appear posh pulls it off.
Let’s brush up on the basics.
If you’re doing these 20 things, you’re not as classy as you think.
It’s never too late to correct your behavior.
Oh, you just had brunch with the Obamas, jumped on a video call with Bill Gates, and met Beyoncé during fashion week?
I’m sure your life is fascinating.
But if your conversations sound like a who’s who of the world’s elite, you’re just as obnoxious as Tahani.
Tone it down a notch. True classiness thrives on authentic connections.
Stop trying to impress people with who you know.
Impress them with your charming personality.
2) Misusing fancy words
I don’t like people who rely on fancy words to convey their superior intellect. And I’m a writer!
If a guy slides into my DMs and calls me resplendent, I block him.
(A reenactment of “Romeo and Juliet,” the internet is not.)
What I find amusing, however, are those who use impressive-sounding words wrong.
As a general rule, stick to terms you’re comfortable with, or you’ll look silly instead of classy.
I met a woman at a party once who was the definition of pretentious, bringing up topics like Descartes and Anna Karenina and how contemporary pop will never compare to classical music.
It was a birthday party for an 18-year-old; I kid you not. Anyway, I made polite chit-chat while rolling my eyes on the inside.
Then she called Italian architecture ambidextrous, and I almost spit my beer in her face.
She probably meant something positive, but I’ll never know.
I wanted to seem classy, too, so I didn’t correct her.
3) Ignoring personal hygiene
You can wear the fanciest outfit in the world.
If you don’t understand the importance of grooming and personal hygiene, you’re as far from classy as someone can be.
Bad breath. Dirty nails. Unkempt hair.
It’s like you’re trying to keep people at bay.
Besides showering, brushing your teeth, and applying deodorant, here are a few tips that will help you stay fresh when out and about:
- If you have facial hair, ensure it’s well-trimmed and groomed
- If you wear makeup, ensure it suits the occasion and carry essentials for touch-ups
- Your shoes should be polished and clean
- Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean
- Carry tissues for unexpected situations that may require discreet cleanup
- Mints make for a great accessory
It’s not rocket science.
4) Wearing wrinkled clothes
Since we’re on the topic of appearance, iron your clothes before leaving the house.
Wrinkled clothing gives the impression that you didn’t take the time or effort to care for your attire.
This can be interpreted as a lack of respect for the event you’re attending or the people you interact with.
Classy people would never.
5) Not following dress codes
Additionally, stick to the dress code for events.
Wearing sneakers to a formal dinner party or showing up in a tuxedo to a casual gathering is a surefire way to signal that you’re out of touch with polite society.
There’s a time and place for everything.
6) Wearing brands ostentatiously
Are you familiar with Succession, the hit drama about miserable people bickering for power?
The characters on that show look classy and filthy rich – all without wearing one logo.
Flashy, logo-covered designer clothing from head to toe signals that you’re trying too hard.
True classiness is all about subtlety.
Focus on timeless, tailored pieces and luxurious textiles to build a wardrobe that catches the eye.
7) Forgetting basic manners
Do you know what screams classy?
Saying “please.” Holding the door for others. Not talking with your mouth full.
If you’re treating manners like they’re relics of the past, adjust your attitude.
Being courteous never goes out of style.
8) Over-the-top PDA
Public displays of affection are sweet… unless you smooch like you’re in a Hollywood rom-com.
A peck of the cheek and a squeeze of the hand are scandalous enough.
Basically, don’t do anything the characters in “Pride and Prejudice” wouldn’t do when you’re around others.
Classiness involves a touch of restraint and decorum in social situations.
Save the passionate lip-locks for a private setting. They’ll be worth the wait.
“I can’t believe I got another promotion. I work so hard, and it’s exhausting.”
“I’m so tired of staying in fancy hotels all the time; I long for the simple life in the countryside.”
“I feel like I’m losing touch with my origins. I’ve only flown business lately.”
Self-praise masked as humility is very 2014.
Instead of fishing for compliments, let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
Classiness is linked to humility, and humble individuals don’t feel the need to constantly highlight how amazing they are.
They’re secure in themselves and their abilities.
10) Crashing parties
Blair Waldorf once said that “the most important parties to attend are the ones you’re not invited to.”
While this may apply to teen keggers and networking events, crashing adult parties makes you seem a teensy bit desperate.
Respecting invitations *and* boundaries?
That’s classy, for sure.
11) Oversharing on social media
I’m all about speaking your truth, but there are certain things classy people don’t share on social media:
- Personal problems or relationship drama
- Daily selfies
- Explicit, offensive, or inappropriate content
- Negative comments about others
- Detailed financial information
- Political/religious rants
- Misinformation or rumors
- Vague, attention-seeking updates
If your social feeds are endless streams of self-promotion and vitriol, reevaluate your approach.
Sharing every detail of your life with your followers is inelegant.
That’s what friends and throwaway profiles are for.
12) Speaking loudly
Shouting your conversations for all to hear might get you noticed, but not in the way you’d like.
Classy individuals have mastered the art of speaking softly and clearly without losing their audience.
You don’t need to be the loudest voice in the room to command attention.
13) Talking over others
If you frequently interrupt people or talk over them, you’re not as classy as you think.
Give others a chance to express themselves, and you’ll earn their respect more easily.
Nod, ask pertinent questions, smile.
As an added bonus, you’ll get compliments on your fantastic listening skills.
14) Swearing like a sailor
Using profanity like punctuation isn’t the classiest move in the book.
While the occasional curse word might add color to a stuffy gathering, there are so many other words you can use to get your point across.
Just make sure they’re not overly fancy. Refer to number 2).
15) Forgetting to tip
Stiffing your server or leaving a minuscule tip?
You must have left your classiness in your other wallet.
16) Arriving late
Being perpetually late signals a lack of respect for everyone else’s time.
Whether meeting a friend for lunch or attending a gala, manage your schedule so that you arrive a few minutes early.
Showing up in the middle of the proceedings is plain rude.
17) Having public meltdowns
We all have bad days when the universe despises us to the point where we’re positive we did something atrocious in a former life.
Shouting your frustrations in public, however, won’t make things better.
Nor will fighting, screaming at whoever made you mad, or throwing tantrums.
Keep your frustrations for the gym and your tears for the bathroom.
Classy people never lose their temper when others are around.
The planet is not doing particularly well at the moment.
If that’s not a good enough reason to convince you not to leave your trash lying around, classy individuals respect their surroundings and aim to preserve and protect them.
Follow in their footsteps.
19) Performative altruism
Performing acts of goodwill is laudable. Doing so only for the praise or validation of others, not so much.
Truly classy people are generous out of a sincere desire to make a positive impact.
You won’t hear them brag about how much they donated to charity or how they went out of their way to help an old lady with her groceries.
Continue to contribute to causes you care about, but don’t bring up your unmatched altruism every five minutes.
20) Failing to express gratitude
Being ungrateful for favors, gifts, or acts of kindness is anything but classy.
Classy individuals appreciate and acknowledge the generosity of others.
If you’re not keen to bring back the old-fashioned thank-you cards, a well-crafted text will do.
Classiness isn’t about putting on a show or pretending to be someone you’re not.
It’s about caring for yourself, being authentic, respecting others, and connecting with people.
If you’re guilty of some of the blunders above, embrace the opportunity for self-improvement.
As long as you’re willing to make some tweaks, the ability to navigate society with poise will follow.