Today’s blog is a little longer because it’s packed with very important information that could help you make a great first impression that opens doors for you...
I get often asked how I do it that I project this polished, sophisticated decorum. Truth is, it runs in the family. I was given it by my mom, who learned it from her mom. I now appreciate being raised that way, even though as a child and a teenager I didn’t think so. :)
I have to admit that it did make my professional life easier. When a woman carries herself with class, the doors open. So, let’s talk about being classy and sophisticated, how to achieve it, why it is important, and what it could do for you…
There are two ways you get to display class and sophistication. The first one is external - how you look. The other one comes from within - how you behave.
Let’s start with the look…
When it comes to your wardrobe, less is always more. Choose great quality fabric, clothes that are fitting, well-tailored, and pressed. Always.
Avoid wearing an outfit that is too tight or too loose, always do your best to balance it. If you wear leggings or a pencil skirt pair it up with loose tops like a blouse or loose sweater. If the pants are wide-legged choose the tight top. Stay away from anything too revealing. Make room for imagination. Watch out for bold accessories, keep your jewelry minimal, like a pearl necklace, simple gold loop earrings, or a statement watch. Keep it focused on one thing.
Great quality handbag, matching belt and shoes are a must. They immediately make your outfit look stylish and polished.
Next, let’s take a look at your hands and hair. It is what people notice right away.
Your hair is your crown. Invest in great hair care. For many years I made a mistake of coloring my hair at home with OTC box colors. It resulted in my hair being dry, and the color was not consistent. I had a tendency to go for a shade way darker than what my natural hair color was and it made me look older.
Healthy looking well-groomed hair makes a huge difference. Get a great modern cut that accentuates your features. There is no point in having long hair if the hair is not regularly groomed, and has dry split ends, and no shape. Invest in color, pomades, gels that will keep your hair styled all day. Updos, buns, and ponytails are all great options.
Your hands need special TLC as well. Nice manicured nails, soft well-hydrated skin, and nail polish that is either in neutral nude color or nice red will make you look sophisticated.
When it comes to makeup, again, balance is key. The rule is: not too heavy, matte (stay away from shiny, sparkly look unless it’s an evening you plan to go to a party). The balance will be achieved by choosing one area that you want to bring out. If you want to play with eye makeup go for nude lips. If you want red lips, keep the eye makeup to the minimum. Less is more applies here too. Always carry a powder or blotting papers that will help you keep the shine in check.
How you carry yourself will let your audience know how confident you are. This will support you at job interviews, business meetings, and any other important human interactions (like dates ;)
Posture is everything. Standing straight with your shoulders pulled back and down, tummy tucked in, chin slightly up, will visually lengthen and elongate you. It will project confidence.
When walking, keep your knees together and place your feet in front of each other as if you were walking on a tightrope.
Now that we got the look down, let’s talk about the way of being…
There is a quote that I read a while ago that I will never forget. It goes…
“Lady is a woman who behaves in a way that makes all men want to act like gentlemen.”
It is obvious that classy women have good manners. “Please” and “Thank you” are a given. Being polite is natural. There are a couple of other things…
Being graceful is one of them. It is about how you handle yourself in social situations. When disagreeing on a subject, ladies do not curse or pick a fight. They have their opinion and they politely voice it and back it up with facts. If the opponent still disagrees, they agree to disagree.
Being knowledgeable on many subjects, being well-read, being in the know about the latest news, and being caught up on art and culture will make it easier for you to hold an intelligent conversation. So do your research, educate yourself. By the way, nothing speaks sophistication more than being fluent in another language.
Last but not least, having great table manners is crucial. Think Pretty Woman. She had to go through the whole training on this, remember? What she’s learned was to eat slowly, chewing on small bites, lips closed. She learned to be open to trying a new cuisine, to be adventurous. She also learned how to use the proper utensils at the right time.
Sounds like a lot? I am sure that you got most of it down. And if you feel like there might be room for improvement - hey, practice makes perfect! I’m with you. Personally, I am currently practicing the way I verbally express myself. I am making a conscious effort to stay away from profanity, and also from overused words such as “like”, “so”, and “right?”...
Because let’s be real. We are judged on how we look and how we speak first. I am a strong believer that all the opportunities I have had come up, all the meetings that went well, all the achievements were due to how I projected myself. And because I aiming high now I get to work on myself….
What impression are you going to make that will allow the doors open for you?