Many of us live our lives thinking that we’re the epitome of class and elegance itself.
However, on close inspection, we realize that we’re anything but.
Most people simply throw on airs, and very few people actually know how to act like a classy woman.
And to help you figure yourself out, here are 16 behaviors that can help you know if you’re legitimately classy.
1) Showing respect for everyone (not just a select few)
Most of us have this idea that being classy literally means trying to act like someone from the upper class and disregard the “riff-raff” as being not worth their time.
But there’s a difference between social class and classy behavior.
True class is found in grace and acceptance of all people, but most especially the poor and downtrodden.
Think of how Princess Diana embraced victims of AIDS at a time when people despised and feared them. Try to be more like her, rather than that wannabe who thinks that the company janitor isn’t worth their time.
2) Being mindful of how you affect others
Everyone can agree that acting prim and proper is important to being classy.
But the why is what separates those who are genuinely classy from those who are simply pretending.
Those who are simply trying to throw up airs will act prim and proper because it makes them look “respectable”, while genuinely classy people act the way they do because they’re careful about how they might affect others.
So if you want to be classy, ask yourself whether your actions might bother others, and if they will, try to find a way to be as inoffensive as you can.
Of course, this is far from an absolute rule. There are times when one must stand for themselves, even if it means making a scene.
You’ll never find a classy person acting restlessly clingy.
They’re not going to impatiently tell their friends to hurry up and keep them company if their friends happen to be late to a party, for example.
Instead, they’ll just get comfortable and find ways to amuse themselves while they wait for their friends to arrive. They might even start a conversation with other guests.
Being a classy woman means being a staunchly independent and confident woman.
4) NOT gossiping
There’s little class and honor to be found in gossip.
So be careful if you catch someone who seems “classy” go out of their way to speak ill of others and spread rumors without care—they’re certainly not as classy as they like to think they are.
The truly classy woman doesn’t care for the business of others, and will pay attention to gossip only when she’s directly affected.
5) Picking up after oneself
The common conception of the classy woman is that of one who acts like a princess—one who believes that menial labor is below her.
This is far from the truth, of course.
Truly classy women clean up after themselves, even if it’s as simple as making sure their plates are neat and cutlery arranged before they leave the diner.
Sure, it might be the waiter’s job to clean up after them, but at the very least, they’d help make the waiter’s job just a little bit easier.
6) Respecting rules
Classy women do their best to respect rules, both written and unwritten.
They won’t try parking if they see a “no parking” sign up, or try parking in a PWD parking spot unless they themselves are a person with a disability.
And unless it’s specifically asked of them, they will avoid wearing a white dress to a wedding lest they accidentally one-up the bride.
This does not mean she won’t question rules that don’t make sense, of course. But she’ll do her best nonetheless to not be obnoxious and offensive.
7) Dressing up for the occasion
Classy women have no trouble dressing up to fit in.
If they’re invited to a costume party, they’ll wear a costume no matter how “silly” it might make them look.
They are just as comfortable wearing a suit and tie to a business meeting as they are wearing a swimsuit to the beach.
They have their own individual styles which they take pride in, but they understand that there’s a time and a place for everything.
8) Displaying dignified behavior
Classy women never lie, steal, cheat, or flirt with married men.
They respect themselves as well as others, and they will do their best to live their lives with that respect in mind.
Real class, to them, is not about luxury and fame, but about living a life guided by respect for oneself and for others.
9) Carrying oneself well
Classy women don’t go around wearing rumpled clothes, slouching, and staying in one corner unnoticed.
Instead, they stand straight, speak clearly, and make sure their clothes are always well-ironed. In other words, they carry themself with dignity.
All these certainly help them make them classy, but classiness is just a consequence—never the point.
They hold themselves tall and proud because they’re confident and self-assured.
And it doesn’t matter at all to them if they only have $20 in their bank account or they’re at the bottom of the food chain, they’ll hold their chin up anyway.
10) Finding the right place and time to do certain things
This is very important for a classy woman.
It might be fun to flirt and tease, but classy women know better than to indulge in it at the workplace.
And while it’s necessary to tell someone the bad news, the classy woman won’t share it while that person’s still enjoying themself.
Classy women take into consideration how their actions affect others, and they’d not do certain things just because “they can’t help it” or “it has to be done”.
11) Thinking before talking
Classy women do not believe in the “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” argument.
They acknowledge that words can indeed do plenty of real harm.
That is why they always take the time to think through their words and make sure they aren’t causing anyone distress with what they’re saying.
They take great care not just to make sure that what they have to say is worth saying, but also that they’re being as delicate and sensitive as they could be with their words.
12) Caring about hygiene
Having good hygiene means that not only does one care for themselves, it also means that they’re mindful of the people they share their spaces with.
A woman can have a thousand-dollar designer dress and a tote from Louis Vuitton, but if people fall dead the moment she enters the room… could she ever be called classy?
The part that hygiene plays in class should not be underestimated.
Classy women don’t necessarily have to adorn themselves with fancy perfumes or bathe in the smoke of incense daily. They just take good care of the basics.
13) Respecting and demanding consent
It should not be understated just how important consent is to classy women.
They’re not going to share anything that might get a bit too personal without first asking if it’s alright for them to share it, or vent if they haven’t yet been told that it’s fine for them to vent.
This goes the other way around as well—they’re not going to like it when people do things like browsing their messages without their explicit consent.
14) Remaining calm under pressure
Staying calm is something that grows harder and harder with each passing year in this world we live in.
And yet genuinely classy women manage to do it regardless.
It doesn’t matter if they’re way past their deadlines or if their files have suddenly become unreadable. They’ll just take a deep breath and try to find a solution.
If you want to be classy, be calm.
There are many techniques one can employ to stay calm under pressure, and all of them are invaluable. Even if you’re already good enough at doing so, it won’t hurt to try to learn more ways of staying calm.
15) Ability to set limitations for oneself
Classy women know how to enjoy life, and yet they also know how to exercise restraint.
They’d spend on things that bring them joy, but at the same time put a limit on how much money goes to luxuries.
They’d drink alcohol of their choice, and yet at the same time take care not to get piss drunk to be out in public.
16) Fighting misogyny in the most tactful way
Feminism has gone a long way, but the fight is far from over.
Being classy isn’t about acting like a submissive housewife from the 60s, but at the same time, it’s not about being the rough-and-tumble rebel who’s always ready to attack men.
Classy women won’t hesitate to call out, criticize, and fight back against the institutions that would seek to put her back in the kitchen.
They won’t tolerate both misogyny and misandry in their presence, taking great care to get their point across as gently yet firmly as they could.
Many of us misunderstand classiness.
We like to think it’s all about being haughty, about being high on the corporate ladder, having an abundance of wealth to flaunt at our disposal, and being able to look down on those beneath us.
Yet real class and elegance is not something that is necessarily dictated by wealth or prestige.
In fact, you can be secretly a nerd or a gamer girl with an entry-level job and be the classiest person in town.
You see, it’s all about attitude—about how mindful you are of the people around you, and how much you respect yourself and others.