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Which Style? Part I – How To Be Classy

June 2, 2010

I always claimed that there is no particular style I favour. My motto was to go with the flow, change my appearance according to my mood, and experiment with different looks.

I guess this lack of signature style excited and saddened me at the same time. I always felt slightly jealous of women who manage to carry the same unique style for years with commitment and confidence.

And, due to their “practice” in a particular way of dressing, their style evolves, becomes more unique and sophisticated, as opposed to people who constantly juggle between different streams of fashion, giving none of them a chance to become their second skin.

I think a woman who has a signature style polished to perfection gives the impression of somebody who is fully aware of and is enjoying her mature femininity with a quiet, almost mysterious confidence. On the other hand, doesn’t that signature style puts you in a box, makes your look a bit predictable and monotonous? Well, I guess it depends on your personality and on the little details…

And even though I doubt that I will ever be able to commit to one style, there will always be a few that strongly affect my taste and look.  At the moment, it is the classy style that catches my attention. There is something clean, confident, and extremely chic about it. Relatively few people opt for this style though, claiming it to be bleak and boring. But according to a very classy friend of mine, people just don’t know how to pull it off. It is all in your attitude, the details, and a few tricks that draw that thin yet extremely definite line between boring and classy.

So after observing this style and talking to my classy friends here are a few bits and pieces that I think make a difference:

1. It is all about the shoes.  A pair of elegant high heels can transform the most prudent outfit into a chic creation, while the most gorgeous look can fade when paired with frumpy shoes. Also, while keeping the rest of your outfit simple, you can always let your shoes to show your true colours.

2. “If you want to be classy, don’t ever mix more than two colours!” – says my friend. Using a wider colour palette can make you stylish, quirky, or edgy, but never classy.

3.  Wear classic pieces and simple shapes with a focus on your hair and makeup, and nails. A groomed look will affect your look in the same way as a  pair of good quality shoes.

 4. Slightly loose shapes can look extremely classy, perhaps because they give a more nonchalant impression.

 5. Wear little or no jewellery. Statement necklace is one of the most amazing things ever but it will probably take you into a different style zone.

 6. Always follow the less is more rule.

 And these are the pieces I have in mind when I think about classy style:

 1. A classic white shirt. 100% cotton, no annoying details, no too fitted, not too loose, with the sleeves casually rolled up. And don’t forget to wear your collar turned up in Medici style. It instantly transforms the shirt from plain to chic.

 2. Classic watch, silver, or gold, perhaps the combination of both, with a slightly masculine feel to it. I would probably choose one with brown leather strap to make it more casual.

 3.  A thin silver or gold necklace with a tiny pendant.

 4. Cashmere cardigan in black or camel. I would go for a slightly loose version.

 5. Straight leg trousers or loose harem pants. Not only the give a full view of your gorgeous shoes, these trouser styles also bear the two  characteristics of classy style – first has a minimalist, the second a nonchalant feel.

6. Colour palette: black, shades of brown and grey neutrals, cream, white, a bit of red. These colours always look sophisticated and can be combined in all kind of different variations.

 7. Scarf in a neutral colour palette to be casually wrapped around your neck.

how to be classy image by garance dore

Image courtesy of Garance Dore, a blogger whose photographs of stylish and classy women have been a constant inspiration.

My Dear Readers, I hope you got the image I was trying to convey. Are you a fan of classy style? Is there anything else you would like to add?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2010 9:00 pm

    Classy styles always remind me of Audrey Hepburn (or Katherine Hepburn). While they’re lovely, it’s definitely not a style for me!

  2. Delane permalink
    June 3, 2010 12:04 am

    I’m not sure I agree with #2. “If you want to be classy, don’t ever mix more than two colours!” – says my friend. Using a wider colour palette can make you stylish, quirky, or edgy, but never classy

    I love the classy elegant look of Red, Black and White together. Black trousers, white shirt, red belt.

    I think fit has a lot to do with classy. And not looking messy.

    When I think of classy I think Caroline Herrera, Giorgio Armani, Marlowe, Luca Luca.

  3. White Rabbit permalink*
    June 3, 2010 7:20 am

    Thanks for you comments Girls!

    Ashe, I agree, it is hard to commit to classy, even if you admire it in others. There is just so much temptation out there to have fun pieces.

    Yes, Delane, I found that tricky too…I think what my friend meant is not to have a colourful, clashing colour palette. I guess mixing different shades of neutrals or wearing classic colour combinations such as black, white and red, or navy, white and red is still well within classy.

  4. June 3, 2010 11:29 am

    I’m the same as you, I chop and change styles depending on my mood!

    Sometimes I am in the mood to be classy. Though at the moment I think I might be wearing too many colours to fit in that particular little box!

  5. Lyddiegal permalink
    June 3, 2010 12:06 pm

    The classy look is one I always wish for, but rarely make it out the door in. I always go for the excess of color or jewelry!

    I think the two color pallet is key, when I did my black and white challenge, I think that was the closest I got.

    Maybe some day I can evolve into a classy dresser, but today you can’t pull my rhinestone encrusted camera necklace out of my hands.

  6. June 3, 2010 4:15 pm

    I absolutely adore you, Alice. I could not agree more…it is all about the shoes! My shoe collection is my pride and joy!! 🙂

  7. June 4, 2010 10:07 pm

    I admire anyone and everyone who can incorporate classiness into their style. Personally I love tailoring and heels and chic pieces which help to create that overall classy look. It’s all about the confidence too!

    Of course, whilst signature styles are cool and all, I think there’s nothing wrong with switching it up every once in a while to keep things interesting. 🙂 I love tailoring just as much as messy rock chick sometimes!

  8. White Rabbit permalink*
    June 5, 2010 5:25 pm

    It is great to read all your comments on classy style, Girls. When I wrote this article I wasn’t a 1oo% sure if I am getting it right since I don’t always opt for this style…so I am glad the article was welcome. I will definitely continue this series. The next style guide..well it is a secret!

  9. Lucy van Pelt permalink
    June 6, 2010 4:31 pm

    I belong to the group “I admire classic style in others, but could never do it myself” , at least not on daily basis. I love colour and print and playfulness too much. I find the classic style a bit too contrived and dare I say it…boring. Fashion for me is not always about the garment fitting just right, or being the most flattering for your body type. It’s also about breaking the “rules”.

  10. June 7, 2010 10:51 pm

    We love classy style — but not too prissy. Great style tips!

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