Clothing your Character: the Art of Class

Written by Maggie McCarthy.  Media by Bri Phillips.

Have you ever seen someone who seems to exude class? Extending far beyond style of dress, this principle encapsulates the whole woman. Everything from fashion to cultural awareness fits under this broad category. Without needing to carry on a conversation with a woman but simply through observing her style, demeanor, and interactions with others, we can often make accurate assessments concerning a woman’s “class”. While such impressions certainly come into play, only through truly taking the time to know someone can we make accurate judgments on a person’s character.

The ideal of class has always been valued in American society. Although we often throw this term around and admire others for upholding the standard, we have a difficult time mastering it ourselves. Society tells us to pursue elegance and lady-like behavior, while also pressuring us to attract men and establish our status in a social group. At first glance these ideas may not seem to oppose one another, but a deeper evaluation of these ideals reveals their inevitable conflict.

As we attempt to gain attention and affirmation from men we often feel pressured to wear less clothing and display loud, often obnoxious behavior. These tendencies stand in stark contrast to the picture of the refined and tasteful woman we should aim towards. Not only do we seek attention from males, we also desire to prove ourselves to other women. This desire motivates us to one up our friends in our fashion choices and social lives. Life turns into a competition and we find every excuse to promote ourselves to the world.  For these reasons, the pursuit of class has become exceedingly difficult in the modern world.

For the 21st century woman, the pursuit of class has become more crucial than ever.  We must fight to preserve the standard of femininity and the “gentle and quiet spirit” that has been passed down throughout generations. While some progressive women feel stifled by this traditional standard, like any valuable principle it truly frees us to fulfill God’s desire for all women. He wants us to feel beautiful, loved, and fulfilled. Through cultivating our gifts, maintaining our appearance, developing lasting relationships, and exploring our passions, we can fulfill this God given calling.

Class does not merely address the way we present ourselves to others but in the way we handle ourselves in our daily, private lives.  More than anything it is an internalized state of being that remains constant throughout all circumstances. Although this standard may seem impossible and out of reach, through pursuing our education, developing our own personal sense of style, cultivating feminine manners, and establishing a humble yet confident spirit, we can restore the ideal of class to its rightful place. As Jordan Christy says, “Our culture is in desperate need of real women with brains, beauty, and self-respect- women who aren’t afraid to take risks, dream big, and order dessert. If we don’t do it, who will?”

Further Reading:

How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace by: Jordan Christy

Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady by: Derek Blasberg

The Classy Woman

Darling Magazine 

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