“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades” ~ Audrey Hepburn. Think about the most elegant woman you know. What is it about her? Why is she so captivating? Chances are you don’t so much remember what she was wearing, but think instead of her overall persona and presence. That is elegance at work! It’s not about clothing; it’s about attitude and poise. That said, there are some general style tips that can help – a code of elegance so to speak. If you’re wondering how to look elegant and classy every day, this post is for you.
We are spilling the 6 style secrets all elegant women know.
First, toss out the notion that elegance isn’t for you. Elegance isn’t constrained by budget or body type. Anyone can develop it, even those who think they don’t have time for it! Our personal style impacts the way others see us and how we feel about ourselves.
If you’ve ever looked at celebrites and wondered why they look so fabulously elegant, here’s the secret… Every piece they’re wearing is customized, tailored to highlight their unique shape. Fit makes such a difference. Small things, like hem length or the width of a sleeve, can transform a “meh” look into something impecably elegant.
The next time you try on something you love, but feel doesn’t look right on you… play around with it a bit before deciding. Would nipping in the waist or raising/lowering a hem make it more flattering? Is this piece a classic you will wear for years to come? Elegant women consider fit/tailoring a must. If you can’t afford alterations, pay close attention to sizing. Many brands are expanding their fits, offering petite, curvy, tall, short, etc.
The next step for those who want to learn how to look elegant and classy every day? Embracing quality over quantity. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy affordable fashion, particularly when testing out new trends. However, when it comes to staple pieces—those items you reach for again and again—elegant women invest in the best quality they can afford. A great coat, a fabulous boot, “fits you like a dream” denim, a quality handbag… These are the types of pieces that instantly elevate your look. Choose one and wear the heck out of it!
For instance, I used to buy cheap shoes. I would spring for pretty but painful heels/boots, thinking I was scoring a bargain. Weeks later they’d be falling apart and my poor feet? Covered in blisters! So, I broke the pattern and began to invest in the shoes I wear most. I found a perfect block heel pump (Sarah Flint’s Jay Style). Not only does it add polish and luxury to my daily looks, but it also makes financial sense. When you calculate cost-per-wear, quality pieces end up saving you money.
No one looks good in everything (even models). However, women who’ve discovered how to look elegant and classy everyday know themselves. They understand what works for them. Moreover, they aren’t afraid to tweak an outfit or style to make it their own. Take the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, a fixture on lists of the most stylish and elegant women in the world. She knows her tiny waist is an asset and flaunts it with perfectly tailored garments that draw attention to that feature. The Duchess routinely adds belts to the styles she chooses, as I did with the dress above.
Think about the outfits you wear that tend to draw compliments. Is there a common theme? Do you have a color palette that makes you glow? A silhouette that flatters your frame most? Lean into that!
Ask yourself… How many items do I have in my closet that are “ho hum” or “just okay”? Perhaps you bought it because it fit, you thought you needed it, or it was a killer deal. Then, you discover it’s not really you—or worse yet, it’s actually rather uflattering. Women who know how to look elegant and classy everyday operate with an edited wardrobe. They only wear clothing they truly love. They simplify their life and their closets by purging anything they feel lukewarm about.
Think black is boring? Afraid taupe is tired? Nope! There’s a reason elegant women wear a lot of neutrals. Whether black, cream, or camel, neutral palettes offer a sense of sophistication and polish. They allow the garment-wearer to shine, rather than their clothing. They’re also eternally appropriate. You can go monochrome or mix and match neutral pieces with something bold to create other elegant looks. I’m a firm believer that every woman needs a great neutral turtleneck, blazer, dress, and button down top (or blouse). For example, my “uniform” tends to be a black turtleneck and jeans paired with a heeled bootie.
When your outfits are sleek and minimal, you need a signature hair and makeup look to complete them. It doesn’t have to be bold, but it does have to be YOU. Think Taylor Swift’s red lip, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly’s sleek ponytails and chignons, Blake Lively’s blonde beachy waves… Elegant women may experiment with their hair and makeup, but they always return to what works best. For me, it’s a coral lip and loose curls.
Need some wardrobe inspiration? Here are few classic pieces to get you started!