How to Truly Exude Class: Part Two
by Bailey Powell
Hello again! In How to Truly Exude Class: Part One I defined class, discussed why possessing the quality is important and gave a step-by-step process to achieve inner beauty, which Part Two means nothing without. Part Two is more about physicality and how you present yourself to the world each day. Although outer beauty is not as important as what’s goin’ on on the inside, it is undoubtedly a part of being a well-rounded woman!
In a way, exuding class via outer beauty is not as simple as inner beauty because it is subjective and means something different to every woman. Each of the following can be altered and implemented differently according to the woman applying them. The steps stand as a framework for the goal of classiness and are in no way meant to be limiting or the end-all-be-all rules. The following are the icing on the cake and simply serve as complements to Part One.
Modest is Hottest.
Okay look, I am not about to get all Mother Theresa on you or thump you on the head with the Good Book. The point here is simply to be mindful of what you wear! This might be a no-brainer to some but when defining class, how you dress yourself cannot be left out. How boring is it to leave nothing to the imagination? Sexuality can be conveyed many more ways than bare skin. I’m not saying you should go out on the town wearing a potato sack with your peep-toe pumps, but do keep a couple of rules in mind while getting dressed: If you’re wearing something low-cut and cleavage bearing, maybe it’s not the day to break out your micro mini. On the flip side if you’ve got all thirty-whatever inches of your gams out, it’s probably not the time to bring out the girls. After all, who wants someone to be staring at everything but their eyes after getting Bambi-worthy eyelash extensions or spending $25 on a tube of Diorshow? Now you’re with me. Modest=classy.
Being tasteful somewhat piggy backs on modesty, but differs in a sense that it is more specifically tailored to who you are. Being tasteful is more than just avoiding tacky- it’s finding what suits you and playing up all of your best qualities accordingly. You don’t have to be Rachel Zoe to understand body types and features and what looks best on them. For instance- while empire waists flatter everyone, they’re especially complementary to pear-shaped women. On the other hand, a Y silhouette is favorable to a busty or apple-shaped woman. Have high cheek bones? Break out the contour blush. Are you petite? Work those heels. Have olive tone skin? Wear bright colors- you get the idea. Wearing what flatters your body the most=classy.
Being kept can be described as looking like you made some kind of effort. It can also be described as being immaculately coiffed, dressed and poised. A happy medium is what I go for, but this one depends on the girl. For some women, simply having clean hair, nails (discussed below), clothes and practicing good general hygiene is all they need to be kept because that represents who they are and does not betray their character. (Think girl next door.) For other women being kept could mean the latter plus flawless makeup, hair cemented into place, being freshly waxed and shaved, and wearing a carefully constructed, pressed outfit. Whatever version of being kept suits you, the important things are the minimal, girl-next-door basics. Kept=classy.
Speaking of Makeup.
The rules of classy makeup are simple, finite and important:
- If you wear face makeup, make sure it is the right color. This often cannot be achieved until you see your face in sunlight. Face makeup that is too light, too dark or (HORRORS!) too orange makes you look like you just left clown camp. After all, the purpose of it is to make your face a natural, even color and texture not to look like a mask. Check your foundation in the sun before taking it public!
- If you’re playing up your lips, keep your eye makeup low-key and vice versa. If you’re workin’ a smokey eye and MAC’s Ruby Woo you could, once again, look like an off duty clown. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s risky. You know your style and face better than anyone else, so trust your own judgment as to what you can pull off. For instance, if you have deep-set eyes a lot of dark eye shadow might make them look smaller or pushed back. Go for a dramatic lip and keep the eye makeup clean and simple.
- Keep your makeup simple and light during the day. The evening is the time to pull out all the makeup stops. Dramatic, over the top makeup during the day not only looks a tad ridiculous but takes away from the effect of your nighttime look if you’re wearing it all the time.
- Go easy on the perfume. Everyone loves a sweet-smelling woman, but you don’t want to gas out every living thing you pass because you bathed in Chanel No. 5 that morning. Keep it to a minimum, spritzing yourself on your pressure points and once or twice on your hair (it holds scent better than any other body part).
Okay so this might seem like one of the things that does not apply to every woman, but before you skip over it let me explain: Unless you get all Michael Jackson and wear (a) glove(s) 365 or something your hands are what people see most besides your face. When you meet someone you shake their hand (in most cultures) and you handle and hold everything with your hands. They’re basically always on display.
The best thing about maintaining your nails is that it does not have to be an expensive ordeal. While getting your nails done occasionally is fun, if you have a pumice stone, a nail file and some quality polish there’s no reason why you can’t be your own nail tech. As a financially strapped college student I use nail polish as an inexpensive way to be on trend. It’s perfect- the price of a trendy new polish is relatively inexpensive compared to a trendy new article of clothing, and you can wear it as many days in a row as you like. ;) My personal favorite brand is OPI.
Random piece of advice: Chipped nail polish is for twelve-year olds and Cory Kennedy ca. 2006. As soon as your manicure starts to chip, get out the nail polish remover!
For the more low maintenance gals, simply keep your nails un-chewed, clean and neatly filed:
et voilà, presentable nails that aren’t hyper-feminine or too much upkeep. The more fashion forward might take a cue from Miuccia:
and of course there’s everything in between those two extremes. No matter your style, the important thing is that your nails are kept at all times. Kept nails=classy.
How You Hold Yourself.
Ever since I was a little girl my mom has always told me “Shoulders back, hold my tummy in and tuck my butt under”. I never really knew what that last bit meant, but I get the gist. Good posture yields grace as well as a healthy back. A classy woman moves gracefully and thoughtfully, crossing her legs at the ankles and keeping her chin up. Good posture and holding yourself in a dignified way=classy.
Sidenote to tall women: I always think it’s such a shame to see tall women slumped over. I myself am 5’9″, and although it took me a long time to appreciate it height is a gift often associated with elegance. Wear heels, stand tall, be proud of your body!
Little Pieces of Etiquette
- If you smoke sit down and cross your legs while you have a cigarette. I will admit that this is old school, but in terms of classiness it’s truly timeless. If you think about it, rushing around while smoking is counterproductive anyway.
- Nix the trashy photos. This is a new addition to what being a classy woman means due to the technological advances we call social networking. Rude gestures or poses are are not only unclassy but (as we all know) can have a negative effect on your career. This piece of etiquette goes a bit further. Since social networking gets more and more integrated into our lives each day (hey big brother!) be conscious of everything you post whether it’s pictures, blogs or even your “about me” on Facebook. Being classy has taken on a whole new element in the past ten years- keep it clean!
- Read! It not only improves your vocabulary and gives you more points of reference, it gives you something to talk about. After all, no one wants to talk to someone who can’t bring anything to the conversation! It doesn’t matter if it’s Dostoevsky, The Economist or your favorite blog, just read something!
Now- I am human and so are you, so don’t beat yourself up for bonging the occasional beer or sluttin’ it up on your birthday. (Jokes.) But really, being classy is not about being perfect. It is about handling situations with grace while taking preventative and premeditated actions beforehand to make life as smooth as possible. Nobody’s perfect (cue: Miley Cyrus), but who would want to be? How boring.
I wish you the best of luck on all of your future, classy endeavors.