Who is the elegant sophisticated woman?
People often mistake sophistication for
elegance. While it is possible to be both, you can be sophisticated without being elegant and elegant without being sophisticated.
Elegance as we know is graciousness in action, and possessing a certain confident simplicity.
Sophistication comes from a great deal of worldly experience and knowledge of art and culture.
It comes from an in-depth learning about the world, its people and having an
refined understanding of different cultures. It is also about being comfortable with differences, luxury and anywhere you go, and in whatever situation.
However, sometimes sophistication can be vulgar. (It’s true.)
We’ve all seen it before.
This happens when there is an over-emphasis on materials and luxury goods. It is too much value placed on the high life. There is too much aspiration, and a sort of greed to want it so badly. This creates all kind of “trying-too-hard” behavior – making certain associations because of their stature, namedropping, keeping up with appearances that do not truly reflect the real circumstances.
There is also a vulgarity in overly parading wealth. Women who dress up in too much bling, and overdoing the monogrammed designer goods.
There are also people who balk at flying economy class, pretending to hop off their private jet and being rude to service staff.
Who can forget pretentious women who attempt to be sophisticated by rattling off their knowledge of cuisine and restaurants, the magazines and books they’ve read to show how literary and sophisticated they are.
I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but rolling my eyes at some of these desperate measures as shown by
photos and captions posted on Facebook.
The story is like this: This couple is not as financially well off as their friend, this single guy, and this single guyfriend is extremely well-to-do. So when this couple’s baby was born, they made him their daughter’s godfather, obviously thinking about possible opportunities and benefits that this godfather may present in the future. Then on Facebook, it is filled with baby captions such as this, “godfather, don’t look so sullen! Smile for your goddaughter!” and “What are you looking at, godfather?”. Yes, we get it. This rich and famous guy is the Godfather of your daughter. We know the association.
So yes, these are some examples of rather vulgar and sometimes desperate attempts to be associated with sophistication.
But that’s not what we want. We are looking at what makes a woman elegant AND sophisticated?
A Sophisticated Confidence
The Elegant Sophisticated Woman has a sort of what I like to call a ‘sophisticated Confidence‘.
That means she can be confident and comfortable in all situation, even in the uncommon ones. One example is dining in a traditional Japanese restaurant with locals. Speaking about politics in an engaging way (not an excuse to air your unsolicited political views). Choosing wines from a wine-list (she may not know everything, but she has her favorites). Discussing books and art and travel and the ballet etc.
Being elegant and sophisticated doesn’t necessarily mean you have to know about EVERYTHING, but it simply means that you take an interest in things around you. Some are about the world around you, others might be about conservation efforts. The affordability of education bothers you, or perhaps you are excited about the up and coming African Art fair. You have a few favorite books and you’re passionate about the ballet, and the cello.
It is sort of a way of life to continue to cultivate your life as well as be an activist of some sort. You take a stand in what you believe in and help others who cannot help themselves. You have a natural curiosity about other people who are different from you and treat learning language as an inspirational, privileged eye-opening opportunity. You are open and accepting and have a liberal mind.
This is opposite to those who aren’t sophisticated – they have a narrow mind, they are not that open to people, views or things that are different. And they do not care about anything that does not affect them directly.
While the elegant sophisticated woman may not know everything, nothing really surprises nor intimidates her. She is are open to venturing into the unknown. She makes the effort to learn and be open-minded. She is accepting and welcomes diversity. That makes her comfortable in everywhere she goes. She is not self-conscious –
thinking and fretting and sweating about not knowing.
How can I obtain this sophisticated confidence?
You’ll have to train for it. Like everything else, you have to keep an open mind, continuously learn and remain humble. Learning is hard work! You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations until you learn to become comfortable.
You’ll need variety and exposure! You’ll have to step out of your comfort zone.
It has been said that confidence
is next to beauty that causes a woman to be appealing.
Confidence means you know how to act in any situation, making you sure of what you are doing.
So maybe you have a list of things in mind that you’ll like to become sophisticated (read: confident, being at ease) in.
You can make a list of some things that come to mind right now about what scares you. (Yes, that’s right! We all have things/people/situations that scare us and make us uncomfortable.)
How do we get confident in _______ (fill in the blanks)?
It could be…
- Being comfortable on a first date
- Speaking French
- Doing your Hair
- Being financially free
Here is the Secret to
Elegant Sophisticated Confidence:
Then you do it automatically and you don’t have to think about it anymore — that’s confidence.
Whatever you want to achieve, practice, practice, practice. Keep at it no matter how frustrated you are.
start by looking confident
While you are practicing and establishing your sophisticated confidence, you might as well work on ‘looking confident’.
No matter what they say about how inner beauty is important (it is important!), the first impression you give more often than not helps people decide what you are. If you don’t create a confident impression,
people may not take an extra effort to get to know you, and they won’t be able to know whether you have a heart of gold or not.
Here are some places you can start…
- Practice Eye Contact
- Pay attention to how you dress
Your posture tells the world how to treat you from sight alone. You can either look like winner or a loser. Posture is the single most important body language there is. Erectness is confident-looking. People will believe what your posture tells them about you.
For instance, if you tell a little boy to “act like a King”, instantly you’ll see him straighten his back and his neck as though he were wearing a crown. You wonder how they know these things?
posture communicates more than you know.
Psychologists say that the first indications that a person’s morale is dropping when her daily grooming habits slip.
Haven’t we all seen girlfriends who have had their hearts broken thus not bothering with make up anymore? They let themselves go… put on weight and the such?
We can tell when our friends have ‘lost their will’ to live simply by their appearance.
Due to losing a job, marriage or be in some serious financial debt …smart, good looking people start resembling the beggar on the street. They’ve lost hope and given up.
Thus, maybe it isn’t intentional, but pay more attention to your grooming because it affects you more than you know. Somehow when we know we’re looking quite fine, we feel confident and are prepared to meet whoever wherever.
Confident eye contact
Eye contact is another indicator of confidence. Practice looking people directly in the eye as it will help you establish a position of confidence in the minds of others.
Though it is important to establish a confident eye contact, do not stare at their eyes or gaze into them. Look at their eyes when speaking, but be natural about it.
What makes you interesting?
Read the next line over and over again. It is the key.
An interesting person is an person who is interested.
Do not worry about being interesting or TRY to be interesting.
Engage in conversation, ask interesting but appropriate questions and learn about someone else’s culture.
Have an avid social life. Take part in charities, serve in church, throw dinner parties. Get involved in the life outside your own.
Pursue your aptitudes and talents. Seek personal growth, refine your knowledge and pursue your passion.
Embrace change. Learn about things that increases your levels of sophistication.
Areas of Possible Interest
Here are some areas of Interests you could possibly pursue. Do you think of ‘trying or learning to be sophisticated’. As long as you cultivate yourself continually, it will come naturally.
Pick a few below!
- Art – drawing, painting, museums
- Languages and Culture
- Theatre, Plays, Musicals
- Dance – the
- Ballet, Waltz etc
- Music – Symphonies, Musicals
- Sports – Skiing, Tennis, Golf
- Water sports – Sailing, Speed-boating
A lot of these topics are covered if you embark on obtaining a classical education. And you can get one from home.
Click here to read more about a Classical Education.
One Genuine Manner
The elegant sophisticated woman has one genuine manner.
What does that mean?
Having one genuine manner means that you treat everybody the same. You don’t change your manners according the person’s social status.
You speak in the same way to a very important person (VIP), and in the same way to that waitress just now who served you dinner.
Having one genuine manner will give you freedom from pretentiousness, phoniness and self consciousness.
Only those people who have no manners, save their best behavior for the VIPs.
Have you been to those networking meetings where people flash their big smiles at you and then try to find out what you do?
Why? That is because they want to find out whether you’re a “useful” person to them or not. Once they figure out that you’re not, the smiles fade away and they try their best to politely excuse themselves.
That is just horrible manners.
Raise Your Comfort With Luxury
No matter what financial means you have, you want to develop a self-assurance made of steel. No one, or being in luxury will intimitate you. You are better than all the material things and luxury in the world.
That is why you shouldn’t be intimidated by luxury. If you are, learn to feel comfortable with it. Learn to feel at home with luxury. It doesn’t matter how come you gave.
Your confidence level can only rise to what you are comfortable with. Do fancy stores and restaurants intimidate you? Does a certain kind of highly accomplished person or wealthy person make you feel small?
Confront your intimidation – you’re more valuable than any material thing.
It is true that sometimes it will take a while before you can learn to tame your emotions and nerves – you’ll just have to be mentally strong and find a way to manage them. It is normal and completely human to feel intimidated by what we think we don’t know (and feel like we should know).
Learn to get comfortable in ANY place, circumstance or situation, no matter where you go. This brings me to my next point…
Expand your Reality – Remove your Intimidation
Everyone gets intimidated. Probably not by the same things but we all get intimidated. The skill to learn is to not to be intimidated, or be calm and confident even though you have all these intimidating feelings.
What intimidates you?
Eating at fine-dining restaurants? Traveling to unknown places where you don’t speak the language? Speaking with new people? Being at a fancy ball, dining with very important people?
You could make a list of a few things and start address these fears one by one. Maybe you don’t like dressing up fancy because it makes you feel uncomfortable?
If you are not comfortable with dressing up, dress up! Practice dressing up. Get away with a little at a time. If you are always in flip flops, wear sandals the first time, and the next time little ballet flats, then kitten heels …. and perhaps a nice pair of high heels someday. It is all about progression, at no matter what pace.
It helps to dress the part. How you dress matters.
Write down as many situations as you can think of that are uncomfortable for you.
A) A party where I don’t know anyone.
B) When people ask about ….
C) When I have to speak about ….
Work out a response in your mind, write it down, memorize it, practice it in the mirror.
Study the art of conversation.
You will only rise as high as your comfort level, so you want to begin elevating your comfort level.
For instance, when you first got your job and earned $100 a week, you only shopped in stores which sold shoes $20 and under. $150 shoes was
‘out of this world’ for you. Then you earned $500 a week and suddenly, those $150 seemed more affordable. Now you can seriously consider that $150 pair of shoes.
Your reality just expanded.
Another example would be…do you remember when you first bought your first set of luxury bedsheets? Maybe they were 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Suddenly, 700 thread count sheets went on sale and you decided to buy them.
700 thread count sheets were so luxurious to sleep on! When it was time for a wash and change, suddenly your 300 count sheets didn’t feel as good anymore.
You’ve started to develop a discriminating taste for quality (and luxury). You can now tell the difference between 300 and 700 thread count sheets.
Expand your reality also to people you meet, so that you will no longer feel intimidated by certain types of people.
These are the types of people are tend to be intimidating:
- Beautiful people
- Intelligent people
- The wealthy
- Those financially savvy
- Those from certain schools
- Those who speak the perfect language
- Some with heavy accents
- Famous people
- Influential people
- The widely travelled
- The sophisticated
- The snobby
- The savvy
- The knowledgeable
- The religious
- The materialistic
- The fashionista
- The connected
The more intimidating people you meet, the more you practice and increase your quiet self confidence, you’ll soon learn that they are just like you and me. Then, we’ll no longer be intimidated.
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