What Happened to ‘Class’?

Lightweight wrap cardigan

Have you ever heard someone referred to as a “classy woman”?  Surely not much anymore.  Many don’t even know what it means!

What is “class”?  Using good old Webster again, we find that “class” is “excellence; exceptional merit”; “elegance, grace, or dignity, as in dress and behavior” and being “the best or among the best of its kind”.  Whew!  What a listing!  The term class is what I have used and will use in the future to describe the kind of woman of God I want to be.  I first heard this term when it was applied to my mother by my dad.  He said that when he first met my mother, at college, the first thing he noticed was her class.  These days you don’t hear that very much.  Dad was so impressed with my mom’s carriage, dress, manners and pleasant personality that he married her — and now, he’s working on his four daughters to excel in this same area. 

There are several aspects of the classy woman I am going to explore in this post.  While my last post focused on the fashion aspect of the godly woman (combining modesty with a lovely appearance), there are a few other characteristics that are necessary to make a godly woman complete. 

Posture is going to be first on the list because I believe it is a lost art.  A girl can wear anything she wants to, but if she slouches or scuffs her feet, rounds her shoulders and hangs her head, nothing will look nice on her.  It also gives her an appearance of self-consciousness and anti-social behavior.  Stand tall with your shoulders back — as the mother of one of my friends said, “Pretend there is a string attached to the top of your head, and walk like you are suspended from it.” 

Speech and posture go hand in hand.  If you are slouching and sloppy, what you say may not be taken as seriously as you wish.  And if you slur your words, talk loudly and abrasively, or speak in a monotone, uninterested voice, your physical presentation will go out the window as well.  Some of the most important virtues of the classy woman are her abilities to enunciate her words clearly, speak slowly but with a pleasant tone, and consciously watch what she is saying. 

Dress has several aspects I will explore.  We already talked about fashion, Pencil skirtbut for a quick recap, a godly woman is careful to use discretion while shopping, so that modesty is the main influence over her choices.  There are several clothing manufacturers that are known for their quality and modest styles (for the most part).  These are Lands End, Talbots, JC Penney and Coldwater Creek (my personal favorite).  I personally do a lot of resale shopping to save money, but I look for these brands because I know the quality they produce. 

5-row Beaded Illusion NecklaceJewelry can either be overdone or be the perfect accent to an outfit.  These days, too often it is overdone.  Usually, I just wear earrings, a ring and a necklace to work.  These I try to pick to complement what I am wearing.  Though this may surprise some, there is such a thing as immodest jewlery.  The girls in my family call it the “ghetto rat” look — big hoops, many necklaces, three or four rings.  If you’re a designer, maybe you can pull it off, but otherwise, it just looks like you are trying too hard. 

Makeup is a topic of great debate in homeschool circles, and I don’t portend to change anyone’s standards.  My mother went to cosmotology school before she married my dad, so in my family, we have an expert for referral!  At thirteen we were allowed to wear foundation and some mascara.  From then on it was on an “ask” basis, and now at eighteen I pretty much choose for myself, and my mom tells me if I look “muddy” or overdone.  In my family, makeup is a choice, but it is preferred because it brings life to your face.  Even if my mom hadn’t worn makeup before she met my dad, he would ask her to wear it because he likes it on her — and on us. 

Character, the final aspect, is the most important of all.  This is what motivates the classy woman to dress, speak, walk and look the way she does.  She is seeking God in her life and letting Him guide her choices.  Through Him she becomes all she can be.  If we focus on Christ, these other aspects will all fall into place. 

A classy woman is rarely found today.  Keep an eye out for them, and watch what makes them what they are.  And while you are at it, become one yourself — bringing honor to Christ by representing Him so well.

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5 Responses

  1. That is a very interesting post. I have never thought about that before. It kind of goes along with why you should dress modestly.

    Thank you for the updates! I really enjoy getting them. Do you send them out yourself? Or do you have a feedburner that sends them out itself? I just recently got a feedburner. I am not sure if you put your link in it, but if you want, you can to receive automatic feed. 🙂

    Love,
    Rachel

  2. Dear Phy,
    I liked your post – character being far more important than the “visuals”, but character often appears visually first. Concerning makeup – please remember that my mom told me and I in turn told you girls: “You may wear makeup as long as I can’t see it or notice it.” Which meant using a light, light hand always and just accenting. Nothing heavy or harsh and just going with what God gave you – not painting or gooing. Foundation often is not even necessary – optional with the occasional breakout, concealer and blending. I know you know this, but possibly not a reader or two.
    And, as always, over-focus on the externals just robs us from the internals, which are of the utmost importance to God our Father. With love from Mom

  3. Thank you for this lovely post!! I agree with you heartily. I remember my mom saying that people would compliment her for looking nice and dressing up more than the other girls. Besides it being fun, I feel so much more feminine and ladylike. And it is so much harder to have good posture in a sweatshirt and jeans! 🙂 And I like what you said about makeup, not overdoing it but complementing your face. Once again thank you!!

  4. Dear Phylicia,
    The phrase, “she has class” really isn’t used much these days. I like how you addressed each part of class and gave a visual with your words on what you understand to be classy. As I read your words I was wondering if I did such things and what I ought to work on myself. Here is what I cam up with. *smile*
    POSTURE: got that okay.
    SPEECH: pretty conciese but maybe a little blunt at times *smile* Not to mention the non loud tone and voice I use with my two little ones when I get a little frusterated or really want them to listen to what I am saying the first time…so a little annoyed or flustered. *bashful*
    DRESS: check, I am a jeans and t-shirt, or prarie skirt with a polo skirt kind of gal.
    JEWELRY: check, wedding wring, italian charm braclet, watch with a tan band (at the moment) *smile*
    MAKE UP: don’t wear any, although reading what you mom said (as you mentioned that she is the one who taught you about it *smile*) I have a couple friends from high school who wear it the way she described and I never new they were wearing it until they were putting it on the next morning after a sleep over. When I asked them why they even bothered it was because they thought their skin was blochy or they had a break out. They are two very beautiful girls on the inside and out no make up needed. So I was a little surprised to learn that little tid bit about them. *smile*
    CHARACTOR: CHECK!!! *big smile*

    So, thank you for helping me to notice what I am doing well. I often have a hard time focusing on the good in me. I really want to work on that plank in my eye. *smile* I have been and will continue to work on my “hollering”. I keep asking the Lord for patience and a quiet spirit and voice exspecially with “my” two little ones He has entrusted in my care.

    May the Lord’s blessings be clear to you today. Remember to pray always.
    Blessings, -me- (Mommy of two little blessings)

  5. Thanks for a great post Phylicia. 😀

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