How To Be Elegant in 40 Effortless Steps

Perhaps the best way to define elegance is to begin by explaining what it is not. Elegance isn't rash. It has absolutely nothing to do with one's processions or title. Nor is it exclusive to one group over another. Elegance cannot be bought or inherited. And while many assume that elegance is about choosing the right fork or pairing the right wine to its complimentary cheese, the true definition has more depth and sincerity. 

Our nation has entered an era where elegance is scarce; a period in which what's garish, shiny and offensive is often mistaken for elegance or sophistication; where what's loudest rings truest. In truth, elegance is found in the subtleties. It's principled. It's courteous. And while it includes knowing how to make the perfect martini and being well read on myriad of topics, it's also about showing restraint, speaking softly, and sending timely thank you notes on monogrammed stationary. Being elegant is actually rather simple. Anyone can claim it, with a bit if work. Consider implementing these tips in your everyday life and you'll create a life that is as elegant as it is charming.

1. Listen without interrupting.

2. Study the arts.

3. Always choose quality over quantity.

4. Serve tea after meals.

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4. Choose a signature flower for your home and display fresh ones as often as you can.

5. Travel far and often.

6. Never arrive late.

7. Don't discuss money in public. Ever.

8. Learn how to properly wrap gifts.

9. Always dress neatly and appropriately. Avoid loud, obvious labels and fads. Both are tacky.

10. Keep your manicure and pedicure fresh. Chipped nail polish and dirty nails are never attractive.

11. Never point at someone.

12. Learn the art of conversation.

13. Be mindful of your posture.

14. Invest in monogrammed, cotton dinner napkins, handkerchiefs, guest towels and bed linens.

15. Never over accessorize. 

16. Be generous.

17. Remember birthdays, anniversaries and other significant moments.

18. Men, invest in a tuxedo. Women invest in a beautiful cocktail dress. 

19. Learn to host a cocktail party.

20. Always be genuinely complimentary to others.

21. Highlight the positives. 

22. Acknowledge someone's title when addressing them, especially if they are your elder.

23. Always show deference to the elderly.

24. Learn how to set and maintain boundaries.

25. Choose one signature accessory that compliments your sense of style.

26. Always offer a handkerchief to someone who's crying.

27. Learn to listen and not merely respond.

28. Never compromise your standards for anyone or anything.

29. Practice your penmanship and when you have a chance to send a handwritten note, do so!

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30. Don't debate politics or religion. Share ideas and always be open to other's points of view.

31. Be respectful and appreciative of those you employ. 

32. Tip graciously for services and deliveries.

33. Always show deference and gratitude to U.S. service members.

34. Look for reasons to help those most in need. And then do so. Often.

35. Know when to end a relationship or partnership and do so with dignity and class. 

36. Never overspend.

37. Never arrive at someone's home (or a party) empty-handed.

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38. Dress well when traveling.

39. Avoid using foul or derogatory language.

40. Treat everyone in the room equally, from the waitstaff to the host.

 

What do you think makes for an elegant, well-lived life? Add your tips in the comment sections.