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Elegant Letters, Issue #35 Cope with nervousness

Feeling Nervous?


Hi everyone!

How are you? The holiday season is approaching and all the more opportunity for us to dress and be our best!

I’ll like to talk about the issue of ‘nervousness’ and share my experience with this.

Ever felt nervous in an ‘elegant situation’?

This could mean:

  • being in the company of higher educated people you feel are out of your league
  • or with sophisticated or wealthy sorts who make you feel like a country bumpkin
  • not knowing how to use elegant silverware in complicated dinner settings.
  • making a mistake
  • attending a glamorous event etc etc.
  • having to socialize with people you don’t know and you’re not exactly the extroverted sort?
  • Here is a fact:

    There will always be times when you feel nervous no matter how confident or accomplished you are.

    I’ll bet President Obama was nervous before the results of the elections were released!

    So here are some ways you could cope with your nervousness

    First, think (or write) down all the possible scenarios that make you nervous.


  • dressing inappropriately – wearing the wrong dress
  • forgetting names
  • not knowing how to use the right silverware
  • not knowing what to say in the midst of people you just met
  • not being liked by your company
  • feeling like an impostor and being ‘exposed’
  • being looked down on
  • falling over in heels
  • Secondly, think now of all the possible solutions to these problems

    Do a search of articles on elegantwoman.org that provides solutions to these problems. Once you have the knowledge, confidence grows.

    Here are some helpful articles:

  • How to behave at an elegant dinner
  • A quick refresher on which utensils to use
  • The art of conversation
  • Conversation blunders (Skip this if you don’t have much time.)
  • Practice walking in heels
  • Check the
    dress code, check with your friends, especially those who has been to similar events before on what they’re wearing. Google pictures of similar past events.
  • Work on a ‘sales pitch’ of yourself. If you had a friend talk to others about you, what would you like them to say? This is preparing yourself for self-introduction.
  • Most importantly, as I would say is the number one lesson of elegance, is be authentic. Don’t try to pretend or impress.
  • My Recent Nervous Experience

    It has been a while since I dressed up, or entertained. That is why I struggled with self-doubt when I was to attend society ball. It was a charity benefit.

    Compared to some of my friends, I would consider myself a conservative spender. My dress was a fraction of what theirs cost, I did my own makeup, and I scheduled my haircut before the event..my hairstylist was nice enough to style my hair.

    I was not used to wearing a big gown with high high heels and wobbled but after about 40 minutes, I got used to it.

    I forgot to review the formal table settings and all I remembered was ‘outside in’ when faced with all the gold utensils. I looked around for help, but everyone was eating something different. In the end, nobody cared if I used the wrong fork! The waiter would replace anything I need and take away anything I don’t need.

    There were people who were interesting and for those who weren’t, I let them happily talk about themselves.

    The only thing that I suppose I didn’t expect was that my dress was quite a hit, and many asked me where it was from. I didn’t know whether to be embarrassed that my dress was not from a high fashion designer (NafNaf) relative what others were wearing. I mean this was compared to Oscar de la renta, Vera Wang etc. I decided to just smile, be proud of it instead of dodging the question or give a sly answer.

    “Yes, my dress is from NafNaf. Thank you (for the compliments).”

    One of my friends was embarrassed for me (haha – but don’t worry I was not offended.) when the society photographer requested my name, the designer of my dress and a solo photo of me at the event.

    But that had me thinking… I mean, how many times can I wear the dress even though I love it? Maybe I would consider renting a gown next time!

    Anyway, here is a picture of what I wore on that night (that’s me on the right):

    By the way, one of the sole of my shoes fell off (because it was old) but thankfully, my dress was really long and I continued dancing the night away. My point is, there will always be a sort of unforeseen thing that will happen – we just have to cope!

    At the end of the night, I still felt like an impostor because I am out of my comfort zone. There will always be situations in your life when you feel you need that extra boost of confidence. It helps when you prepare, dress and look the part and on top of that, be yourself and don’t apologize for anything!

    You are your own person, beautiful and unique and committed to be your best. You’re good enough!

    Thanks for reading!

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