30+ Tips on How to Always Look Elegant and Classy

how to look elegant and classy
Valentine’s Day Outfits

Do you always want to look elegant and classy no matter the occasion? Get exact ways on how to dress chic every day. Stop wasting your money on trendy and unflattering clothes. Looking expensive doesn’t require you to take out a second mortgage on your home. There are simple guidelines that you can follow so that you strategically pick the items for your elegant wardrobe that make you feel confident every day.

You can look elegant by wearing neutral colors and simple jewelry and makeup. Dress classy by choosing fitted, modest styles and flattering silhouettes. Opt for timeless pieces and expensive-looking materials, like a silk blouse and structured bag. Your garments should be well-maintained without wrinkles or rips. Polish off the look with styled hair and nails.

1. Wear neutral colors like black, white & beige 

how to look elegant and classy - neutral colors

The number one way that you can instantly look more elegant is to incorporate neutral colors as much as possible into your wardrobe. This may sound like a cliché – but not without good reason. You see, while colors, especially brights, can be worn in a classy fashion, they can also easily go wrong. Neutral colors like white, beige, gray, camel and especially black, can be effortlessly paired together  – and with any other colors – in endless combinations and look chic. While certain other colors go in and out of fashion, neutrals endure the test of time. They are perfect for your year-round, winter and spring capsule wardrobes.

  • black
  • white
  • beige
  • gray
  • camel

2. Wear clothes in solid colors

how to look elegant and classy

Solid colors are the way to go when curating an elegant wardrobe. These are timeless, while most logos and prints eventually become outdated. So just avoid these hyper pieces – AlexandrasGirlyTalk has a great video explaining what hyper pieces are. Of course, you can wear patterns, but you first need to make sure that you have a solid (pun intended) foundation to pair them with. It’s the easiest to combine solids neutrals with each other. Make your outfit look effortlessly chic by coupling black and white solid pieces or go for an all gray monochrome look. The options are endless and it couldn’t be simpler! 

  • avoid logos, prints & patterns
  • solid colors, especially neutrals, are timeless
  • easy to combine with other colors
  • solids make up the foundation of your wardrobe

3. Monochrome looks are effortlessly chic

how to look elegant and classy
Click for my outfit details

Monochromatic looks are one of the easiest ways to look put together with minimal effort. Plus, it will never go out of style. This works best with neutral colors like an all-black, all-gray, all-beige or all-white outfit. However, the beauty of this style is that it can be done with practically any color, even brights and pastels like an all-red or an all-dusty-pink outfit. Try your best to find the same shade and tone of the color to give it the most uniform look. Pant suits and jumpsuits are an even easier way of pulling off monochrome. 

  • monochrome looks are chic, yet effortless
  • neutrals are the most elegant – all-black, all-white, all-grey, etc.
  • can be done with brights and pastels, e.g. red, dusty rose, etc.
  • quick hack: matching pant suits and jumpsuits 

4. Wear matching colors like beige, camel and white

Although it’s not rocket science, many tend to ignore the basics of color theory. It’s super easy to combine colors once you learn what colors work together with a little practice. As a general rule of thumb, no more than three colors should be used in an outfit (excluding patterns and jewelry). Of course the same colors in different shades and hues look great together like beige, camel, white, cream and brown. But all of the neutrals look great together. Black especially matches absolutely every color and classic pairings include black and white; black and camel/beige; and black and gray. Read more about classic and beautiful color combinations. 

  • no more than 3 colors per outfit
  • stick to same colors in different shades and hues
  • neutrals always match, especially black
  • classic combos: black and white, white and beige, black and camel 

Although it’s not rocket science, many tend to ignore the basics of color theory. It’s super easy to combine colors once you learn what colors work together with a little practice. As a general rule of thumb, no more than three colors should be used in an outfit (excluding patterns and jewelry). Of course the same colors in different shades and hues look great together like beige, camel, white, cream and brown. But all of the neutrals look great together. Black especially matches absolutely every color and classic pairings include black and white; black and camel/beige; and black and gray. Read more about classic and beautiful color combinations. 

  • no more than 3 colors per outfit
  • stick to same colors in different shades and hues
  • neutrals always match, especially black
  • classic combos: black and white, white and beige, black and camel 

5. Opt for simple, matching jewelry in gold

Simplicity is key to an elegant look. That’s why you should keep your jewelry very simple. Go for classic metals like gold, silver or rose-gold. Alternatively, you can opt for diamond-like stones like diamond studs . These are a great investment, especially if they are the real thing. Once you’ve decided on the type of metal, then aim to get each piece of jewelry in the same metal with the same, minimalistic style. This way you can easily mix and match the simple pair of earrings, necklace, bracelet, watch and ring(s). This will absolutely match your entire wardrobe and will take out a lot of the thought process when getting dressed. 

  • simple jewelry is the most  elegant & matches everything
  • precious metals like gold, silver & rose gold
  • choose a matching, minimalistic style
  • 2 pairs of earrings (hoops/studs), 1 necklace, 1 bracelet/watch, 1 ring

6. Stick to neutral make up and hair colors

timeless makeup - natural makeup

While colorful eye looks and hair can be fun and look elegant if pulled off correctly, your best bet of looking classy is going for more neutral hair and make up. Opt for more natural make up like nude lips and browns, like bronzer on the cheeks and in the eye crease. This just enhances your natural beauty and complements the rest of your neutral ensemble. Stick to natural hair colors and just play around with soft highlights and balayage during the seasons to spice things up. 

  • browns & nudes on eyes, lips & cheeks
  • natural hair colors (w/ highlights)

7. Make sure that your clothing is fitted

Elegant style is all about clothes that fit your body. While oversized or tight clothing can look modern at times, these trends come and go and they can easily look unflattering if done wrong. Your clothes shouldn’t give you enough wiggle room for another person to fit in, neither should they make you feel so constricted that you can’t move. Your clothes should flatter your shape and ultimately make you feel good about yourself. Remember, your clothes should fit your body and not the other way around. So don’t pay as much attention to sizes rather to the fit. If it doesn’t look good on, then put it back, return it or don’t buy it in the first place. If you really want a particular piece and can afford it, get it tailored to fit your body like a glove.

  • don’t pay attention to sizes 
  • clothes should fit just right
  • not too loose or too tight
  • get it tailored if possible 

8. Choose high waisted bottoms

There is nothing less classy than a muffin top or a whale tail (a.k.a. thong showing). The most flattering type of waist for almost any body type is a high rise. It cinches you in at the top, flattens your tummy, accentuates your curves and elongates your legs. You can also wear a midrise as long as it leans more towards high waisted. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to sit comfortably without worrying that you’re going to show skin on your backside. Opt for high waisted everything from pants to skirts to bikini bottoms. 

  • high waisted bottoms are the most flattering
  • it cinches waist, flattens tummy, accentuates curves & elongates your legs
  • opt for high waisted everything: pants, skirts & bikini bottoms

9. Go for tops with a high neckline

Of course a low V-neck can look classy at times but it is much harder to pull off correctly. When in doubt, opt for a top with a high neck as this will always look classy no matter the occasion. There are still many styles to choose from whether it’s a basic crew neck, blouse collar, high V-neck, mock neck or turtleneck. The goal is to just make sure that when you bend over, your cleavage isn’t there for the whole world to see (when you weren’t planning on it of course). 

  • avoid showing too much cleavage
  • high necks are always classy
  • many options: crew neck, blouse collars, mock neck, turtleneck

10. Opt for clothing pieces with longer lengths

Long versions of most clothing pieces instantly elevate any look. Opt for skirts and dresses that are just above the knees or longer (midi / maxi) and go for cardigans, blazers and coats that cover at least your bottom. Extra-long coats are especially chic. Contrary to belief, a modest/conservative fit is not prudish or boring. It ensures that you don’t accidently show your underwear and instead, it elongates your shape as it draws the eye down a longer silhouette. Longer cuts are perfect for any age and you’ll be able to wear these pieces for years to come, cropped pieces are usually more trendy.

  • long clothing is more flattering & sophisticated
  • knee-length, midi, maxi dresses & skirts
  • long blazers, cardigans & coats

11. Wear flattering silhouettes that cinch the waist

If you want to look elegant every single day, it is time to start only investing in flattering pieces and silhouettes. Although it may take some trial and error to figure out what suits your body shape, you’ll feel great once you do. There are some general guidelines that apply to most. Go for clothing that accentuates your curves by cinching in your waist and flaring out like anything A-lined, belted and wrap. Also flowy pieces flatter most people like loose blouses and shift dresses. 

  • A-line, flared & wrap skirts / dresses
  • high waisted, loose pants / jumpsuits
  • belted anything e.g. coats
  • flowy garments 

12. Make sure that your underwear is nude and seamless

Nothing will ruin an elegant outfit faster than a visible panty line. Elegance starts at the base so ensure that no lines or underwear are visible. You can do this by investing in nude, seamless panties and bras that match your skin tone. If you can, try good quality strapless bras. A bonus is that this type of underwear tends to be more comfortable since it doesn’t have seams digging into your skin. If you want to go all the way, shapewear will help flatten your tummy and accentuate your curves for that dress you’re planning on wearing.

  • seamless underwear to hide lines & add comfort
  • nude underwear should match your skin tone
  • shapewear for tight dresses & clothes
  • strapless bras if possible

13. Look for tops with thick straps

Another tip that many neglect to follow when the warm weather comes around is opting for tank tops and dresses with thick straps. The straps should be wide enough to cover your bra strap since showing it is not a cute look. Spaghetti straps look cheap unless you can manage to wear them without a bra or straps – which is usually not the case for most women. 

  • opt for tank tops & dresses with thick straps to hide bra strap
  • alternative: sleeveless shirts & button ups
  • spaghetti straps only without a bra (strap)

14. Buy longer shorts that are loose around your legs

While bottoms with a longer length usually look the most elegant, sometimes the weather is just so hot that you need to wear a pair of shorts. In this case, you need to go for shorts which are loose enough around your thighs they aren’t squeezed like a sausage. In the best case, they should be high waisted and long enough to at least reach your fingertips when your arms are by your sides. Shorter than that and your bottom will be hanging out. 

  • opt for high waisted, loose shorts
  • shorts should be long enough (e.g Bermuda)

15. Opt for opaque clothing

When in doubt opt for opaque clothing, no matter if it’s shirts, bottoms, dresses or even tights. Although there are very few intentional exceptions, being able to see your underwear through your clothes is the opposite of classy. Just check whether you can see your hand through the garment when holding it underneath and/or try it on under strong lighting. For added security, you should wear a camisole under all of your outfits. 

  • opaque clothing is more elegant
  • avoids showing underwear
  • check opacity with hand or under strong lighting

16. Pay attention to balanced and symmetrical looks

Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it goes without saying that balance and symmetry are aesthetically pleasing. A rule of thumb in fashion is that if one part of the outfit is voluminous, then the other looks best if it’s streamlined and fitted. For example, if your top is tighter, then opt for a looser pair of pants. If your pants are fitted, then pair it with a voluminous top or sweater. On the other hand, a symmetrical outfit with a cinched waist, like a belted dress, is also pleasing to the eye.  

  • balance out a tighter top with looser pants & vice versa
  • create symmetry with a cinched waist

17. Invest in timeless pieces like a trench coat

This is a big one because the thing about elegance is that it is not bound by time. That’s why you need to invest in timeless pieces, rather than in trends and hyper pieces. Timeless pieces are perfect for any age and will last you a long time if you choose right ones. Then you’ll reach for them again and again like carrot pants or a trench coat all-year round. You can pair these timeless pieces with each other for a classic aesthetic or with modern items to keep the look fresh. 

  • timeless pieces are always elegant
  • black sheath dress
  • white button up
  • pencil skirt
  • trench coat
  • ballerina flats

18. Choose classic patterns such as houndstooth

While solid, neutral colors are always elegant, opting for classic patterns is a way to spice up your wardrobe. Certain patterns like stripes, plaid or animal print are timeless since they never really go out of style. This is because many of these patterns have neutral colors – like leopard print, which is comprised of black, camel, beige and white. You can never go wrong with a floral dress or a leopard print blouse as long as they are on classic silhouettes. Just make sure you choose original and neutral colors of the prints.

  • stripes
  • plaid
  • original animal print
  • houndstooth
  • argyle
  • polka dots
  • florals

19. Try timeless makeup looks like red lipstick 

how to look elegant and classy

Of course, an elegant outfit needs a matching makeup look. Why not add a red lip and/or winged liner to add sophistication instantly and effortlessly? Just be sure to choose the right red shades and to not make your wing too thick. These classic styles take out the guessing work so that you can complement your classy aesthetic, yet not to distract from it. Along with red lipstick and winged eyeliner, there are certain other timeless makeup looks that will forever be stylis

  • red lipstick 
  • winged eyeliner

20. Opt for expensive-looking materials

Clothing made out of expensive-looking materials – like fur and leather – and anything with a sheen, shine or sparkle – like metallics and silk – are historically associated with wealth and a glamorous aesthetic. Luckily nowadays you can opt for less expensive and faux versions of the materials. Choosing items with fur or gold detailing will always look more expensive. They will still give the effect as long as you go for high-quality and realistic-looking options. 

  • fur, feathers, leather, crocodile, snakeskin
  • silk (satin), velvet, metallics like gold detailing
  • crystal, diamond, high-quality sequins
  • linen, high-count cotton, cashmere, wool

21. Stick to structured pieces 

Nothing is worth investing in more than structured pieces like a sleek coat and a structured bag. Structured bags are a must in any elegant wardrobe since they keep their shape for a long time. As a general rule of thumb, it is structured enough if it can stand up on its own on a surface without tipping over. Small shoulder pads in coats and blazers often created additional structure. Dresses and skirts can also be structured if they are good quality, tailored to fit your body like a glove and/or made out of thicker, stiff material. Also, certain styles like pleated skirts and sheath dresses have a structured look.  

  • structured bags (should be able to stand on its own)
  • structured coats & blazers (w/ small shoulder pads)
  • sheath dresses & structured/pleated skirts

22. Keep a well-maintained wardrobe 

It goes without saying that dirty and worn out clothing is a no-go if you want to look like a classy lady (or man). Put-together people don’t have holes, lint, piling, rips, wrinkles or dirt on their clothes, accessories and shoes. Keep your clothes looking good as new by properly storing, cleaning and repairing them.

  • keep clothes, shoes & accessories clean 
  • remove lint & piling 
  • steam wrinkles
  • avoid clothes with rips and holes

23. Blouses are appropriate for any occasion

Elegant blouses are timeless and universal. They are one of the best options for a classy look all year round. They are absolutely flattering for all body types and there are so many styles, cuts and patterns to choose from. You can easily go from day to night in a blouse. They look good with any pair of bottoms from jeans to pants to skirts. They are a more beautiful alternative to a T-shirt in the spring / summer and can be layered with a blazer in the winter / fall. Silk (satin) and tie neck blouses are especially fabulous. 

  • timelessly elegant
  • very versatile
  • silk and tie neck blouses

24. Try blazers and other layers (ponchos, capes)

Blazers are great for when you don’t know what to wear. You can look instantly put together by just throwing on a blazer with any outfit. It is such a versatile piece that can also serve as light layer or jacket. It can elevate a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers for a casual chic look and it can be worn for work with pants / skirt and heels. You can even dress up a fitted turtleneck with it during the cold months. A blazer can last forever if you take care of it and the right one never goes out of style. Go for a looser and longer blazer for a more comfortable fit. Capes and ponchos are great alternatives if you want to step up your game a notch.

  • effortlessly elevates outfits
  • suitable for any season
  • looks great with jeans, skirts and turtlenecks
  • wear it over your shoulders 
  • alternatives: capes, ponchos, vests & elegant cardigans

25. Wear dress pants and trousers

A pair of proper pants are always a more elegant alternative to jeans. Opting for a pair of loose carrot pants which can be just as comfortable and very versatile. Dress your pants down with a T-shirt / long-sleeve shirt and flats or dress them up with a blouse, blazer and heels for a power suit. These pants also look great in the winter with tights underneath, a sweater and sock booties. A slimming pair of black pants should be a staple in your elegant capsule wardrobe.

  • carrot pants are universally flattering
  • classier alternative to jeans
  • seasonally versatile 
  • can be worn casually, dressed up, for winter

26. Add a feminine touch with dresses and skirts

Although this might seem so obvious, you might have forgotten this tip. Dresses and skirts a more feminine, dressy (pun intended) alternative to pants not matter the season. Elegant dresses are a whole outfit in themselves and don’t need much added to them. That’s why they are so easy to slip on when you’re pressed for time. Elegant skirts are even more versatile since you can pair them with any top from a blouse to a sweater if done right. Choose timeless styles to get the most wear out of your dresses and skirts. 

  • more feminine and fancy than pants
  • elegant dresses are an easy outfit for any season
  • elegant skirts are very versatile 

27. Pointy high heels elevate any outfit

Elegant high heels are a fool-proof way of instantly elevating any look, especially ones with a pointy toe. Heels can come in all styles and heights so they can be worn for any occasion in any season. Wear strappy heels in the summer or heeled boots, like knee high / over knee boots, with a sweater dress for one of the chicest, winter looks. You can wear black pumps all year round with a basic pair of jeans or with black, opaque tights for a super classy aesthetic. But don’t feel intimidated about wearing heels. You don’t have to wear the high stilettos that you see on Instagram. Actually, elegant ladies wear what they can walk properly in. So opt for more wearable block heels up to 3 inches (8 cm) or kitten heels that look just as cute. Choose heels with a more pointed toe for timeless elegance.

  • pointy toed heels look the most sophisticated
  • suitable for any occasion in any season
  • summer: sandal/strappy heels
  • all seasons: black pumps
  • fall/winter: booties, heeled knee-high/over-knee boots
  • block heels (up to 3 inches/8 cm) & kitten heels

28. Add statement accessories like a hat

If you feel like your look needs a little something extra, try accessorizing. Believe it or not, a single statement accessory can really upgrade an outfit. Adding a pair of chic sunglasses or topping your ensemble off with a stylish hat can really make a big difference. There are endless options like tying a silk/satin scarf around your bag/neck, belting your jacket with a gold buckle belt or adding a beautiful watch that speaks for itself. Accessories are a budget-friendly way to add elegance to your wardrobe.  

  • chic sunglasses
  • stylish hat
  • satin/silk scarf
  • statement watch
  • gold buckled belt

29. Style your hair and try updos

how to look elegant and classy

Styled hair can really make you look more polished because it shows that you put in effort. There are many doable elegant hairstyles like a slicked back ponytail or low bun. Sleek straight hair also always looks put-together, especially with a straight middle part. Or try flipping your ends inwards or outwards for a more retro style. Experiment with these hairstyles and updos to find those that suit you.

  • styled hair looks put together
  • slicked back ponytail or bun
  • sleek, straight hair 
  • clean hair parting (e.g. middle part)

30. Keep your nails manicured

how to look elegant - white nails manicure

Nice nails are the perfect final touch to a polished look (pun intended again). Something can often look off if everything else is put together – outfit and makeup are on point – but your nails aren’t done. They are one of the most noticeable areas since you use your hands a lot to talk and do other things. A manicure is can even be the only necessary accessory. In addition, pedicures are a must if you’re wearing open toe shoes. To match your whole wardrobe, opt for neutral and timeless nail colors like nude, white, red and black. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the salon – there are other affordable at-home nail care options like gel kits, glue on nails or good quality nail polishes that don’t chip. 

  • polished nails are the final, elegant touch 
  • neutral colors like nudes, white, red & black
  • at-home alternatives to nail salon like glue on nails & kits

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6 months ago

i want to ask,
aren’t diamond stud earrings too simple/invisible? especially if hair not in updo style

1 year ago

I try very hard to dress with style & elegance but when fashion designers dictate what they THINK is in, that’s only what is available! Puffer jackets, v necked tops & cropped pants are the ugliest! Yet, everywhere you shop, that’s all that’s available! Oh forgot, all those ugly flowered dresses like my grandmothers curtains!

Orange Tree
Orange Tree
1 year ago

Spot on!

1 year ago

Thanks for sharing your tips! I agree with most of the article except for me,
1. I love, love floral prints. I can’t imagine wearing all solid colors.
2. Animal prints are a no no for me.
3. Nail polish is always natural. No color.

Thara k
Thara k
2 years ago

Thank you for writing this with Elegance Dear Scarlet!Really fantastic & very informative!loved it!!