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How to Live an Elegant Life

Live an elegant life by insisting on quality in your work, home life, and relationships.


  • Step 1: Decline anything that doesn't suit you rather than accepting something less than you desire or showing weakness by going along with people. Be consistent and in control of your circumstances, but always polite.
  • TIP: Coco Chanel is said to have commented, "Elegance is refusal."
  • Step 2: Accept compliments graciously and never speak ill of others, boast, complain, or gossip. Be quietly confident with your high standards of conduct and live an elegant life that others can emulate.
  • FACT: Billionaire Leona Helmsley, one of the wealthiest Americans when she died in 2007, wrote a will that left $12 million to her dog. None of her 12 great-grandchildren were mentioned in her will.
  • Step 3: Host or attend small but tasteful dinner parties. Always arrive on time, bringing a thoughtful gift to your host or hostess. Serve a signature wine at home, and learn how to open a champagne bottle and how to make a martini.
  • Step 4: Conduct yourself with dignity and reserve, never yelling or screaming. Open doors for ladies or let men open doors for you. Insist on demonstrating and receiving respect and model etiquette in social situations.
  • TIP: Remember that it's more important to be kind than to be right.
  • Step 5: Become well-read and study the arts. Decorate your life with the finer things. Treat yourself to flowers, and use a fountain pen instead of disposable pens as a recognition of culture and quality.
  • Step 6: Maintain a sound budget, buying only what you love and ignoring fads. Because your tastes and values are unique, reject shopping at expensive stores. Make your own clothes.
  • Step 7: Demonstrate manners when you choose to live an elegant life, saying please and thank you, listening attentively, and giving sincere compliments -- always be genial, patient, and empathetic, rather than impatient or dismissive.

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