There’s no need to do a total makeover if you want to be classy and elegant.
You simply need to make a handful of changes to your habits and you’ll be dripping class like nobody’s business.
And to help you be the most elegant you that you can be, here are 15 things you can do to become instantly classy and elegant:
1) Dress nicely
Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious—your looks.
It’s important that you pay attention to not just who you are on the inside, but how you present yourself on the outside.
Don’t take this to mean that you should go around in designer clothes every time.
You can wear designer clothes, but if your clothes are all wrinkled and you’re so gaudy you like you just walked out of a circus, “classy” would be the last thing on anyone’s mind.
So keep yourself well-groomed, wear clean clothes, and learn some basic fashion dos and don’ts.
2) Tip generously
A lot of people mistake class and elegance for extravagance. That’s why they buy expensive wine and designer bags.
But that’s not quite right. What classy people are is that well…they aren’t cheap.
They aren’t going to dine out and eat a $300 dollar meal only to give a $1 tip. No, they’ll happily give tips for a job well done, and that’s usually at least 15% of the bill.
So if you want to be classy yourself, then tip generously and treat wait staff well.
3) Pay extra attention to your hygiene
As I mentioned earlier, the way you present yourself goes a long way to whether you’ll be perceived as boorish or classy.
Clothes are a big part of that, but even the best clothes in the world won’t help you if you look like you haven’t bathed in a year and smell like you just went for a swim in the sewers.
So try to make sure you maintain immaculate hygiene. Bathe daily, brush, floss, and always check yourself within the day.
4) Go beyond looks
While your outward presentation is important, it’s not the only thing that makes someone “classy”. You should always put an effort to go beyond looks.
If looks alone determine class, then every single fashion model on Instagram would be classy by default. But we all know that’s far from the case.
Nourish your mind, your spirit, be social, master a skill. Be more than just your looks and be a person of substance.
5) Don’t be rude
A classy person is never rude. Strong and self-assured, perhaps, and more than capable of fighting back if forced into a corner… but never rude.
Treating like everyone else is below you and taking people’s goodwill for granted is something no classy person would do, and it doesn’t matter how many fur coats you have or how well-groomed you are—you’ll never be classy if you’re rude.
A truly classy person makes it a habit to say thanks whenever there’s a reason to, and will always say “please” when asking for a favor.
And they’d never lash out on anyone just because they can.
6) Be confident in yourself
Even if you’re the smartest, prettiest, and most talented person, if you lack confidence, it will be hard for you to stay classy.
Classy people love themselves no matter what, and it shows in how they carry themselves.
Have you perhaps seen an average-looking guy who keeps his back straight and doesn’t stammer or act creepy when chatting with girls?
That’s class in action right there. And you can be one too if you learn to embrace who you are.
7) Move with grace
Clumsiness is the furthest thing from grace and elegance. On the other hand, even someone in ordinary clothes can stand out and exude elegance and class simply from the way they move.
If you want to move with grace, don’t lumber around like your legs are made of lead, hunch over like the weight of the world itself is resting on your shoulders, or flail your arms around carelessly.
Instead, stand tall and walk with a spring in your step. Be bold and yet precise with how you move your body.
8) Be culturally curious
As you might have already figured out by this point, being classy means respecting etiquette.
And the thing with etiquette is that it isn’t the same everywhere—what might be seen as polite and classy in one culture can be seen as crass and rude in another.
I mentioned tipping well earlier in this article and tipping is generally seen as good etiquette in much of the West. But if you were to visit, say, Japan, it’s actually considered offensive to give tips.
And while eating everything on your plate is usually polite, a clean plate means “I want more” in the Middle East and if you keep on eating everything on your plate you’ll look like a glutton.
A classy person wouldn’t want to offend or be misunderstood, and that’s why a classy person will always be curious about other cultures.
9) Have a hobby
There are people who are all work and no play. As a consequence they end up boring, take the world too seriously, and overall a downer to be around.
A classy person sets aside time for rest and recreation. They engage in a hobby or two, whatever suits them in their free time.
This ties in to an earlier point I mentioned. Classy people are confident, and that confidence means they couldn’t care less about what others might think of them because of their hobbies.
They find and pursue hobbies that give them personal fulfillment, rather than doing what everyone else thinks is “trendy” or cool.
10) Have decent savings
Yes, you can still be classy and elegant even if you earn below minimum wage. But as you grow older it’ll become harder and harder for you to maintain this image.
Let’s be real—the economy is in shambles and it’s only getting worse as the years go by. You easily run the risk of waking up one day and realizing that you’re living paycheck to paycheck without any way out in sight.
You can’t be all work and no play, but at the same time you shouldn’t endanger your own future just to look classy. So go and build your savings first.
11) Don’t complain all the time
There are people who chase after negativity. Either they’re diving headfirst into some random drama they’ve stumbled into or they’re sitting around complaining about something.
This kind of behavior is exactly what classy people avoid. It’s not like they’re ignoring the bad stuff or didn’t see them in the first place. They simply don’t fixate on negativity any more than is productive.
So stop being too negative. And the best way to do this is to expect less and to try to be a little happy-go-lucky, if you can.
12) Learn the basics of good communication
Communication is a very important skill, and one’s ability to truly articulate themselves and hold a conversation can easily draw the line between an average human being and someone who oozes with class.
Talk clearly, say what you mean, and be perfectly aware of how your choice in words can affect subtext and tone.
And of course, listen well. Do it not just to hear what they’re saying, but also to discern what they’re trying to communicate.
It might seem intimidating to see this, and you might wonder if it’s even possible. But don’t be discouraged—communication is, again, a skill. Skills can be learned with enough time and effort.
13) Be a person with integrity
Integrity is an integral trait of truly classy people. You can’t claim to be a person of class and elegance if you’re a shameless double-crosser.
So if you want to be considered classy, don’t do anything that could make people question your integrity.
Mean what you say, don’t cheat or lie. Be someone trustworthy and reliable.
14) Don’t be a nuisance
If you want to be classy, stop being annoying.
I know it’s hard to please everyone and you don’t have to have a pleasing personality…but you have to not deliberately do things that could greatly inconvenience others.
In other words, don’t be an ass.
Fall in line properly, throw your trash in the trash bin, don’t shout in the hallway. I could go on and on.
If you’re in doubt, ask yourself “If someone else does this, would I be annoyed?” If the answer is yes, then don’t do it even if you have a good reason.
15) Be someone your future child will aspire to be
Assume that your future child is with you. How will you dress up, act, and talk with them around?
Would you act like a slob, annoy everyone and pick fights, or would you instead strive to be the ideal role model and always strive to be the better person?
By acting like someone your future child will aspire to be, you will automatically become more classy and elegant.
Class and elegance aren’t things you can just “have,” or a single trait that you can learn to pick up in a week or two.
It’s the sum of how you present yourself on the outside as well as who you are on the inside.
Many of the things you need to do in order to achieve it might seem hard, but if you just keep at it, you will find that they are quite attainable.
And best of all, the things you do in trying to become elegant will point towards making you a better person overall, so it’s definitely worth it to try.