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Old 07-21-2007, 12:54 AM
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What do class and elegance mean to you?

What do class and elegance mean to you?

Can we readily define or discuss what “class and elegance” mean to us without referring to famous persons and without sharing pictures of them to explain our viewpoints, and without going straight to the dictionary for the definitions.

We think this could be a fun and challenging topic, and for starters, we have included the dictionary definitions of the two words.

Class defined:
noun. 1. A set, collection, group, or configuration containing members regarded as having certain attributes or traits in common; a kind or category.
2. A division based on quality, rank, or grade, as: a. A grade of mail: a package sent third class.
b. A quality of accommodation on public transport: tourist class.

3.a. A social stratum whose members share certain economic, social, or cultural characteristics: the lower-income classes.
b. Social rank or caste, especially high rank.
c. Informal Elegance of style, taste, and manner: an actor with class.

Elegance defined:

Pronunciation: 'e-li-g&n(t)s
Function: noun

1 a : refined grace or dignified propriety: dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style.
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Old 07-21-2007, 04:24 AM
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Do you mean in the way they dress or act or talk or all together?

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Old 07-21-2007, 04:56 AM
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In 2 words: Audrey Hepburn. Class is more than being born with money or having the money to buy the most expensive clothes. Class and elegance is truly something that comes from within. You know when you are in the presence of a "great lady." Class in my mind also means having a certain knowledge of social grace and proper behavior. A lot of people today don't follow those kind of old fashioned social norms anymore, and I think that's why people with class and elegance truly stand out, because they are a bit old-fashioned.
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Old 07-21-2007, 05:46 AM
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To me class and elegance is so many things combined's your manners, it's the way you talk the words you use, they way you treat others and the way you respect yourself and others.

Its also the way you dress in a modest way and without being flashy.
I believe education and culture are very important also.

Its just being yourself without trying to show others that you are a person of class and elegance.
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Old 07-21-2007, 11:23 AM
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Class and Elegance to me is classless and timeless. Well, that did not make any sense at first, but let me explain what I mean. I associate class and elegance to someone who is poised, well mannered/polite and well dressed (not necessarily expensive). Such person usually carries himself or herself with dignity, and their presence is never flashy or over bearing. It's a kind of inner beauty that transcends social and economic standing. For example, I know plenty of people with no money that possess such qualities and vise versa. I believe it's in the way you were raised and the standards you set for yourself. It's a kind savoir-faire, and it's always evident when such person interacts with others. That's my take anyway. I love the subject by the way.
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:28 AM
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I try to think of people around me who I think have class and elegance, rather than stars. I find they all have this in common :

- They know how to move : that includes posture, gracefulness, femininity (if we speak only of women, obviously), a certain way of moving their head or body so there is always like a breeze around them, real vitality (and I am sorry, but in that sense, just my thinking, someone like Princess Grace (not Grace Kelly) was always a little too stiff, too self-conscious about having class and elegance, but that was the times too, and what she thought were the expectations of her status, a nice voice, nice laugh and friendly expression and smile. (That's also why I think models on runways may not qualify, they look totally unapproachable. I know it's deliberate, but...)

- They are always appropriately dressed for the occasion, it never looks like they tried too hard, and they add to the sense of context of any occasion, almost making any occasion into a festive event, whether going to the open market carrying the proper accessories, going to lunch on the town with friends, teaching in the classroom, or whatever.

- They know how to age gracefully without resorting to drastic measures to change their appearance to appear younger. They just move along naturally with their age and with the times, with the right hairdo, etc. Naturally I am afraid that means a lot of maintenance, in terms of exercise and diet, but they think they're worth it, their spouses, friends, colleagues etc are worth it, and that's beautiful.

- They make you glad to be alive and grateful that they add such an aesthetic sense to your daily perceptions, like passing a tree in bloom or sitting in a garden, depending on whether you stand next to them waiting to cross the street or spend an afternoon with them. They just spark a happy feeling in you for just being next to them and inspire you to work on a little self-improvement on your part so you can contribute to others' pleasure in the same way.

- They don't mark "class' (as in social class) too much. There is something innate, good and young at heart about them. When apprised of their social status, you may be surprised that you thought it was higher than it really is. Just my opinion, but actresses like Catherine Deneuve are too bourgeois looking to me and it deters from their class and elegance, although obviously, the majority would disagree with me. Princess Victoria, Caroline Kennedy have class and elegance.
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:03 PM
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Your responses are very interesting and inspiring. However, could we stick to the above criteria. The idea is to define class and elegance without using examples of famous personalities since we don't want this thread to turn into a discussion about royals, actors or whomever.


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Old 07-22-2007, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by iloveroyals View Post

- They know how to age gracefully without resorting to drastic measures to change their appearance to appear younger. They just move along naturally with their age and with the times, with the right hairdo, etc. Naturally I am afraid that means a lot of maintenance, in terms of exercise and diet, but they think they're worth it, their spouses, friends, colleagues etc are worth it, and that's beautiful.

I think in this day an age, this is probably one of the most important aspects of class and elegance. So many once beautiful and attractive stars have destroyed their good looks with surgery, so the people that accept aging seem even more classy.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:07 PM
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In my opinion, a person with class must be confident but not arrogant; friendly but not overly talkative.
An elegant person doesn't walk but float; she/he dosn't talk but speak; don't smile but radiate. Is always kind (but firm), never swears, and always has pristine manners.

This is how I think about the subject.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:20 PM
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:27 PM
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everyones post reflect what elegance and class is much better than i can explain. , i only know, i know it when i see it and it has nothing to do with breeding or money or family connections.
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Old 08-03-2007, 07:32 AM
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Intresting topic & great views of points. Intresting what people think of things.
To me, Class is two things;
1. where the person belongs in society, upper class, middle & lower.
2. How the person carries him/herslef in public as well as politness

Elegance is the way a person dresses and put her/him self together. It doesnt always have to be about the way a person dresses but also you get a few people who walk with grace which i would say is very elegant.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:03 AM
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Class means two things to me
One is social standing as said by dazzling
The other is more about an individual's sense of self. You either have it or you don't.

Elegance is something on the other hand that may be picked up or learnt. For example a person may wear a beautiful gown and carry themselves correctly, thereby looking elegant. However the next day they can revert to something else.
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:58 AM
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I was looking through the book "Audrey Style" and found a few quotes and ideas about elegance and class.

Diana Vreeland said that "Elegance is refusal". There certainly is a lot of emphasis these days on not looking like one tried too hard, avoiding any excesses of decoration, jewelry, any idea of sumptuousness, with Ralph Lauren exemplifying the ideal of American casual elegance. It is also the idea that you should not be overwhelmed by your clothes, that you wear the clothes, they don't wear you.

On the other hand, there is also the idea that you should add the mark of your individuality or mood to your clothes : adding a little something to perk up your outfit, to sign that you are in a glamourous, seductive or amusing mood, so it is not always an ideal of stark, austere elegance.

Valentino says, "The importance of fashion is to make one dream a little, to soften one's imperfections". I totally agree with that, and a person with elegance and class, I think, is a person who makes you "dream a little".

In the same vein, an elegant person is a graceful person to be around, one who somehow makes your day a happy day after you have left her.

Finally, a person with class is one who is not scattered, is focused in a zen kind of way in what is happening now, with you, who does one thing at a time and stays focused. It goes along with the idea of self-discipline and "a plan" to always be at one's best, to develop and improve spiritually.

These seem a bit abstract without examples, but I guess if one thinks of either Audrey Hepburn or our favorite royal, it makes sense.

I've kind of wondered if elegance and class need to be trained (upbringing, dance background, that sort of thing), need a model one aspires to imitate, or if you are born with it. I think you can be born with it, as non-urban, non-western countries and cultures show us. I also think that some kind of background (especially ballet) can train you to see it and embody it.

I'll continue my reading, see if I find anything else. I must say, any book on Audrey Hepburn is a treasure trove of quotations about elegance and class.
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:16 PM
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To me, some one who has class is a person who has courtesy, manners and respect for others as well as themselves. Someone who believes in themselves and holds their head up tall and proud, but who does this with dignity. A person who knows their worth and is not snotty or arrogant about it. A person who can move from one situation to another without making other people feel uncomfortable.

As for elegance, to me that is a person who is non flashy in their dress. Their taste in everything is simple and can stand the test of time. Someone who has natural grace.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:52 PM
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Two things money can't buy.They are inate to the person,You have it or you don't.

Audrey Hepburn certainly typifies this
The important thing is not to stop questioning
~Albert Einstein~
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:34 AM
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This question reminded of two books I read:Definitions that I've found and like include-
"Class is unonstentatious quality. It is restraint. It is modesty, an elegance of behavior, a willingness to let time measure your performance rather than a strident, meretricious "selling" of your personal wares. Class is a quiet pursuit of excellance that abhors all pretension."
- William Bernbach, chairman & founder Daoyle Dane Bernbach
" My definition of 'class; is that it is synonymous with 'quality'. It does not mean wealth, birth or position. It does mean that innate sensitivity to other people, that appreciation of the good, the decent and the fair, and that hunger for the beautiful and the appropriate that distinguishes an individual as a person one can be rewarded to know."
-Jacob Javit, former US Senator
"What is Elegance? It is a sort of harmony that rather resembles beauty, with the difference that the latter is more often a gift of nature and the former the result of art. The origin of elegance is easily traced. It springs and develops from the habits of a civilized culture. The word comes from the Latin eligere, which means 'to select'".
-Genevieve d'Ariaux
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:53 AM
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class and elegance are shown only in the best fiesta days then normal days keep the best elegance and class behaviour to the best days only of ceremonies .
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:13 PM
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Class and elegance? Princess Mathilde of Belgium.
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Old 11-22-2008, 10:40 PM
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Neither can be bought or taught. Self respect and self assurance can give one the inner glow one needs to behave and dress properly.
Neither has anything to do with expensive stuff.
One is either born with it or will never have it.

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