If you are wondering what it means to be elegant, you have come to the right place!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
One hears the word, “elegance,” quite often used in a vast number of ways, but what is elegance? What does it mean to be elegant?
The Oxford Dictionary defines elegance as “the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner.”
“Refined grace” is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word.
Wikipedia says, “Elegance is beauty that shows unusual effectiveness and simplicity. Elegance is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness, particularly in visual design, decorative arts, literature, science, and the aesthetics of mathematics.” Well, that is a mouthful!
Some people define sheer elegance as simply beautiful or beautiful in a simple way. However, that “simple” definition just doesn’t encompass the scope of true elegance. Elegance implies charm, gentility, dignity, magnificence, class, refinement, good taste, grace, and much more.
Perhaps it would be easier to define what elegance is not, such as crudeness, poor taste, coarseness, roughness, etc. Today, however, we will focus on how to be elegant.
This post is all about some of the best ways to be elegant.
To Be Elegant Requires Effort
Sophisticated and poised are words that we associate with elegance and the elegant person. We think about elegant clothing and being able to handle situations easily. But sometimes, elegance is not a naturally occurring state. Sometimes we have to put forth a little effort to appear elegant to others. But the end result is well worth the effort!
The mark of elegance is the ideal goal that can set you ahead of mostly everyone in today’s world. The following suggestions are some reliable ways to be elegant, so you will want to memorize and practice them!
How to Be Graceful and Elegant
- Always show up on time. This is a hard one for many people! Try not to be late. Five or ten minutes late should not be a big problem, but half an hour or more behind schedule is very rude. It shows a lack of consideration for other people’s time. The only thing worse is not showing up at all. Be there when you say you will, even if you have to set your watch half an hour fast. If you can arrive early, that’s great. You do not want to have the reputation of always being excessively late.
- Always keep your word. The elegant person’s word is something on which others can rely, regardless of the circumstances. If, for any reason, you cannot keep your word, immediately let the person know. Then, reschedule or see how you can make amends. Elegant people are known for being true to their word. Therefore, it is important to do everything you can to keep yours.
- Refrain from judging others or gossiping about them. An elegant person does not elevate himself or herself by putting other people down. He or she tries to find the best qualities of his or her friends and emphasizes those qualities when mentioning those people to others. Judging and gossiping are negative qualities that should be shunned by the person who wishes to be elegant. If you cannot find anything nice to say about someone, make an effort not to say anything at all!
- Learn and practice excellent table manners. For some reason, when most of us think of etiquette or elegance, table manners are the first to come to mind. The table is where our behavior prefers to betray us, so this is where we need to pay special attention if we wish to be elegant. An elegant person has the knowledge of which utensil to use and when to use it. We will be covering advice on table manners and other types of etiquette and manners in all situations. One can browse online articles and find a lot of helpful information that can answer most questions. The De La Mora Academy has great courses to expand one’s knowledge.
- Temper your need to be right all of the time. Lose a game or an argument and you will remember how unpleasant it can feel to be wrong. Most people have an aversion to being wrong, so frequently insisting that you are right alienates and upsets people–even if you are right! The first step is paying attention and identifying the times when you feel the need to be right. Then, decide if it is more important to be right or keep the friendship. If you know inside that you are right, but also know how to yield to the situation, you will be known as a kind, understanding person who is willing to consider other viewpoints.
- Refrain from being an open book. In today’s world of social media and informalities, it seems that everyone feels the need to be an open book. However, being an open book for the world will provide you no favors. It is a good thing to be somewhat mysterious. This should never come from a place of game-playing or manipulation, but from a dignified inner reserve. It is a bonus that the opposite sex is attracted to mysteries, and that friends and acquaintances also are interested in learning more about you. However, part of being elegant is knowing that you are in control of yourself and that you have value. Therefore, others can wait for and appreciate that which you decide to share about yourself in your own time.
- Nurture your friendships. If you think about all of your relationships as delicate houseplants in need of nurturing, sunshine and water, you will understand the needs of the people in your life. Keep up with your friends. Know their birthdays and send them a card or some other greeting. Remember their anniversaries or their milestones and other important days – especially the painful ones. People will love that you are there for them and that they are special enough to you to be remembered. Always be able to produce their phone numbers and addresses.
- Control your emotions and responses. Always try to stay calm and reasonable. Be mindful of the volume of your voice. The elegant person is usually in control of his or her emotions. Walk away for a few minutes if you have to, but make every effort not to lose your cool. This is a weakness that others will exploit if they know how to upset you. Your calm and controlled voice will allow others to trust you and respond to you in a positive manner. Keep in mind that others will remember how you responded to situations, even if you don’t recall the problem.
- Be tasteful when it comes to grooming. Ladies, makeup can be fun and it can be easy to get a little carried away, but try not to overdo it. The purpose of makeup is not only to enhance one’s beauty, but to either pass for being natural, or to be so beautiful that it makes one appear ethereal. Go easy on fragrances and keep in mind that they have the ability to be noxious to others. Gentlemen, also be mindful of your aftershave and antiperspirant. They can be extremely loud.
- Dress elegantly with modesty in mind. Learn and follow color analysis. Discover the colors that look good on you and choose your wardrobe colors accordingly. Make sure that your clothes are not too tight or revealing. An elegant lady leave much to the imagination, and never makes strangers certain. Dress appropriately for occasions. Keep in mind that it is far better to be overdressed than underdressed. A gentleman takes pride in his appearance and sees to it that his undergarments remain hidden.
- Remember The Golden Rule. If you treat others the way you would like to be treated, you will never go wrong. Always imagine how you would feel if the tables were turned and then act accordingly. Being considerate of others is one important part of refinement, and it is one excellent way to be elegant!
- Take pride in your life. Try not to obsess over the small things or the things you cannot change, but caring about the things you can control will make a difference in your life. Taking pride in your actions, appearance, and possessions will be noted by others and you will be known as a class act. This also applies to your surroundings. Make sure your house, workplace, vehicle, and other surroundings are neat, attractive, and welcoming. It does not take a lot of money to be neat, just a little elbow grease! So, keep things tidy.
- Expand your awareness and knowledge. Before you go to a social event or gathering, take a few minutes to check out the current events and headlines so that you have an understanding of what is happening. Having ready topics also comes in handy if you need a quick conversational subject to get through any awkwardness when meeting new people. This is a start when it comes to refinement. The elegant conversationalist should know enough about a broad range of topics in order to uphold his or her end of the conversation.
- Take responsibility for your children and animals. Always clean up after your children or your pets, whether at home or in public. Clean up after animals relieve themselves. Remove children and animals from public areas if their yelling, crying, or barking are likely to disturb anyone. Do not let them run loose or climb on other people or disturb what they are doing. Maintain full control of all beings who are in your charge. The elegant person makes every effort not to importunate others.
- Be a good role model. People love to emulate refined and elegant people. Set a powerful example for others to imitate. Your example will hook their inner desire to be their best. Dress well, use good manners, show compassion, and be a good person. Extend respect and consideration to others and honor their wishes, their privacy and their property. Strive always for decency and kindness. Be the person you would like to be, even if you must pretend at first. You will eventually become the elegant person you desire to be.
- Be a good friend. Always consider how you can make someone feel happier and more comfortable. Be the friend you would desire to have in other people. Keep confidences. Do not divulge the secrets that others have revealed to you privately. Never share their confidence with others. Also to be avoided is talking about others in a derogatory or unkind manner. Everybody loves feeling good about themselves, so refrain from being stingy with your compliments. Extend compliments whenever you like or admire something about someone.
- Smile often. Like yawns, smiles and laughs are contagious. Not only will you look a lot more elegant with a smile than with a frown, you also will be more approachable. People will see that you welcome interactions. Others naturally gravitate to someone who appears to have an optimistic outlook on life. Smiles draw people to you and tell the world that you are a friendly, happy person.
- Cultivate preparedness. Adopt the scouting motto of always being prepared. Be prepared to the best of your ability for anything you can anticipate. Think about things that could go wrong and be prepared to handle emergencies. This does not mean that you need to dwell on them; simply take the actions necessary to prepare for your anticipations and then shift your focus to other matters.
- Perform random acts of kindness. There is no shortage of ways that we can uplift and be of service to others. We are always happier when we can give to others. The elegant person acknowledges this and strives to put it into practice. One popular way of doing something nice for someone is by paying at a drive-thru for the meal that was ordered by the person behind you. You can also put a coin in an expired parking meter so that the owner of the car does not get a parking ticket. If you see someone struggling to pay for or carry groceries, you can lend your assistance. There are countless ways to lend a hand and the payoff is worth it. What goes around comes around!
- Pay attention. Treat others with great respect. Listen to the stories of elders because you can learn great truths and wisdom from them. An elegant person is a great listener, so make eye contact and let the person feel that what he has to say is important to you.
- Have gratitude. Thank God for your blessings. Always remember the origins of your happiness and joy and never take them or anything else in your life for granted. Spend some time each day in meditation and gratitude for all the good things surrounding you.
Elegance takes time!
Do not fret if some of these points are not natural for you. Elegance is learned and cultivated through experience. Try to assimilate these suggestions into your life and you will morph into the elegant person you dream of being. You will find that being elegant will become second nature and more of your friends and acquaintances will desire to spend time with you. It feels good to be around good people, especially those we admire and wish to emulate. If you focus always on refinement and self-improvement, you will eventually arrive at your destination on your journey to be elegant!