Elegance may be found in aesthetic alone but it is also the quality of grace in attitude, speech, even the way we move. Elegance spans all earning brackets. While there is elegance unique to the very wealthy that comes with affording the most luxury, there is also elegance with little money and the right taste to pick it out at the thrift shop!
I own a wonderful collection of elegant clothes that I bought second hand including this outfit here. Elegance is not a price point as much as your taste. Also it does not cost anything to stand straight, walk smoothly, be courteous and kind which all embody elegance.
1) Be aware of your gait. As we age we can tend to shuffle more or take smaller steps because of bad posture, or slight aches or muscle and joint stiffness. I have caught myself doing the little old lady shuffle around the house because of all of the above. Yikes! Sometimes we emulate our mother’s body movements too so if you were raised by someone with a particular way of walking or moving you may be copying it. Some people pound their feet heavily when walking and just kind of crash around. Try noticing how you move. Think how a ballerina stands, moves her arms, moves her neck, and her strides are more floaty rather than clunky. She uses fluid movements not jerky movements. Even if you never take a class or study it on your own, just think BALLERINA. This has helped me to stand, walk and move with more fluidity and poise.
2) Dress in fancier fabrics. Lace, silk, velvet, chiffon, satin, even polyester, these fabrics have a higher end look compared to cotton or linen, which, while beautiful, read more casual. However you can elevate your cotton and linen items by trimming them in lace or embroidery. There is a reason wedding gowns, prom dresses and the like are not made out of cotton or linen they do not have the luster of being more regal but they are still very valuable and even expensive fabrics. You can mix your fabrics in a room to bring an elegance to your more natural textiles or to upgrade an outfit such as wearing a lace top with a cotton skirt. Even lounge clothes and pajamas made out of silk, satin, lace or lace trimmed cotton, can be elegant. Up your elegance factor by choosing or at least mixing in these fabrics in decor and fashion.
3) Polish your appearance everyday. Elegance is something you must practice and reaching for sloppy or casual items everyday is not practicing elegance. Even the most casual items can be infused with elegant choices. Jewelry perks up jeans and a blouse. A pretty lipstick perks up a plain face. Be aware if your hair needs a trim or if you just need to wash it to fluff it up. Keep nails shorter rather than longer, with natural polish or classic colors like red or soft pinks. Keep things well groomed even if you do little else. Make it a habit to be styled elegantly every day. Looking more polished will help you be more aware of your poise. Our style choices influence how we carry ourselves. Dressing well is a reminder to behave in accordance with a higher standard.
4) Be a listener. A way to show genuine respect and love to other people is to listen to them without interrupting. Everyone feels loved when they feel listened to. The Holy Bible teaches us to “esteem others as higher than yourself”. When you give someone the stage in the conversation, if they are courteous back, they will offer you ample opportunity to converse. If they do not offer you the moment to interject or they do not ask you questions to allow you to participate, you lose nothing by letting them dominate the conversation. If you have to force your way into their rambling they probably do not care what you have to say. If they do, they will ask for your input and that is the time to give it. Some people are self focused and will not realize their rude conversational behavior but some people just never learned conversation etiquette. Some people get very nervous when speaking with others which can lead them to prattle on without seemingly caring about the other person. The best way to handle conversing is to always defer to the other person. It is an act of kindness and grace no matter the reason for their bulldozing conversational behavior. Even if the person talking is not an interrupter or keeping you from interjecting just give people your attention. Do not look at your phone while they talk, do not interrupt. Look at the person talking and do not talk until they have handed you the baton. Decide to extend this grace to listen to people even when the same is not extended to you. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
5) Wear clothing that covers more. Spaghetti straps with a bra strap hanging out next to it on a shoulder is not a good look. Look for tank tops that have wide straps as you see in this outfit. This was the classic design for sleeveless tops until the spaghetti strap became a fashion later on. If you are ok wearing a strapless bra to be able to wear your spaghetti strap tops that’s another option. But never display bra straps if you want to look elegant or even properly dressed. Likewise, modern trends tend to show a lot more body. Short shorts and thin leggings as pants might be normalized but they are not classy. Longer items that have a more flowy design or items with more structure cover to a degree of classy modesty. It does not mean we lose our shape or erase our attractiveness, on the contrary, elegant choices enhances a woman’s beauty without showcasing it in a brash way.
Elegance is learned and it has not been emphasized in our modern day. We are all rough around the edges in some ways and I appreciate a little grit and rustic charm to anything including people. However elegance is a wonderful personal quality as well as a style quality that elevates the person, the home, and those exposed to them.