How to Be Elegant and Classy

A well-dressed couple enjoying a walk up the street.
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Fashion designer Coco Chanel once said, "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." Of course, the female gender doesn't have a corner on class. Both men and women who want to be considered elegant and classy can spruce up their appearance, work on their manners, and refrain from unbecoming behaviors.

1 Dress the Part

You might think that wearing a designer label automatically catapults you to elegant-dresser status. Looking classy, however, doesn't require an extensive budget -- it simply means wearing well-fitted, clean, pressed clothing, free from rips, threads or stains. For elegance, wardrobe consultant Tina Adams recommends wearing solid colors and minimizing the accessories to just two or three per outfit. Before you leave the house, run a lint brush over your outfit to ensure it’s fur- and hair-free. Women should double-check their nails for chipped polish, and both genders need to style their hair so it looks polished, not messy.

2 Mind Your Manners

A classy person minds his manners, follows proper etiquette and thinks about how his actions will affect others. To that extent, keep a few basics in the back of your mind when going about your day-to-day life. Some traditional manners that still apply today: Say "please," "thank you" and "excuse me." When eating, chew with your mouth closed, and don’t talk with your mouth full. When invited to an event, RSVP to the occasion and arrive on time. At the event, turn off your phone -- or at least the ringer -- and if you must take a call, step away and speak softly. In the 21st century, elegance extends to social media: Refrain from arguing or discussing sensitive issues on networking websites.

3 Carry Yourself Confidently

An elegant person is confident, not boastful. Adams recommends working on your posture to appear taller and more secure in yourself. You can also appear more confident by not fidgeting, and keeping your head up and looking forward. When speaking, don't rush or ramble, and pick your words wisely -- an elegant person refrains from crude language and four-letter words, even when angry.

4 Refrain From Complaining and Gossip

It’s impossible to feel happy all the time, but an elegant person does not frequently complain to others. Rather, she gives off the impression of maintaining a successful life, even when a little down on her luck. At the same time, a classy person doesn’t gossip or talk behind a friend’s back -- even in the name of “venting.” If someone tries to engage you in gossip, redirect the conversation. For example, if a co-worker wants to talk about a colleague’s poor fashion choice, transition to the trends you saw in the latest issue of “Vogue.” When all else fails, keep quiet -- doing so often quashes the conversation.

Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.