staying classy

Minding your manners, avoiding emotional Facebook rants and knowing what cutlery to use are the modern day ways of staying classy, according to new research.

Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is the cornerstone of class and staying classy according to a survey of 2,000 Brits, followed by reading widely and having good table manners.

Avoiding text speak, being bilingual and maintaining great posture also made the top 50 touches of staying classy

Staying classy – For women, subtle make-up, never drinking from a bottle and displaying cleavage sparingly were signs of holding yourself well.

While for men having a firm handshake, knowing when to admit you’re wrong and owning a tailored suit made the cut.

A spokesperson from European fashion brand Peter Hahn, who commissioned the study, said: “Projecting the essence of class successfully requires a number of factors to work harmoniously, from your dress sense to your manners to your skillset.

“It helps if you have read your way through a bookcase of classics or can speak a couple of languages, but if your skirt is too short, your bow tie too sloppy or your posture too lax, your classy persona can falter.”

Also in the top 50 were being able to handle your drink and knowing poetry that doesn’t just begin and end with ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ from William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’.

Placing a napkin on your lap when eating and not wearing football strips as casual wear also featured.

For women, smelling nice, confidence and sensible heels are sure-fire signs of classy couture.

While for men, crisp white shirts, holding the door open for others and taking pride in their appearance are all ingredients that go into making gents suave.

Age is also a factor in levels of class. Brits believe the optimum age for classiness is 45 and that men and women generally get better with age, though men more so.

Dignified decorum on social media is a must for a quarter of Brits, while a fifth thinks wine knowledge is a sign of sophistication.

Despite these simple rules of class and etiquette, 86 per cent of Brits believe that people lack class nowadays.

In fact, an honest 36 per cent happily admit to having no class, with just one in 10 Brits confident in their classy credentials.

Nearly three quarters of those surveyed think that a touch of class is an important trait, but also believe that the manners, behaviour and fashion sense necessary are dying out in modern times.

When it comes to classy celebs, the Royal Family are considered beacons of style and substance, with Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry securing top spots in the countdown.

Taylor Swift, Emma Watson and Idris Elba are also considered some of the classiest public figures around.

As for the decade with the most charm and swagger, the 1950s come out on top followed by the decadent 1920s.

By comparison, just one per cent of those surveyed chose our current decade as the classiest of the last hundred years.

The Peter Hahn spokesperson added: “We’re all accustomed to the adage ‘sex sells’, but actually leaving something to the imagination can be much more alluring than the shortest skirts or an overt cleavage.

“At Peter Hahn we know that a well cut garment will achieve the perfect silhouette, which is far more likely to get you noticed for all the right reasons.”


1. Says please and thank you
2. Is well-read
3. Has good table manners
4. Doesn’t swear
5. Knows what cutlery to use
6. Is discreet
7. Doesn’t start eating a meal until everyone else at the table has their food
8. Holds doors open
9. Never drinks directly from the bottle
10. Doesn’t use text speak
11. Avoids emotional Facebook or Twitter rants
12. Gives up a seat on public transport for someone else
13. Able to speak more than one language
14. Has great posture
15. Doesn’t gossip
16. Brings gifts for hosts when attending events
17. Shops in Waitrose
18. Doesn’t get drunk
19. Knows correct way to pour a bottle of wine
20. Places a napkin on lap when eating
21. Doesn’t discuss money or how much things cost
22. Knows more than two types of wine
23. Knows correct way to hold a wine glass
24. Doesn’t wear football strips as casual wear
25. Is a good listener
26. Doesn’t watch reality TV
27. Knows Mozart from Beethoven
28. Owns a timeless pair of shoes
29. Is up to date with current affairs
30. Has good culinary knowledge
31. Has National Trust membership
32. Only gives compliments when they actually mean it
33. Attends the Chelsea Flower Show
34. Prefers champagne to prosecco
35. Pays the bill
36. Isn’t easily flustered
37. Doesn’t get into arguments
38. Never borrows money from friends
39. Knows more poetry than ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ from William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’
40. Never forgets a meeting
41. Doesn’t fill the wine glass to the top
42. Uses the word ‘supper’
43. Rarely eats takeaways
44. Listens to Today on Radio 4
45. Avoids drinking instant coffee
46. Is a generous tipper
47. Knows how to flirt properly
48. Never caught running for the bus or train
49. Arrives fashionably late to a party (but not too late)
50. Owns a pedigree dog


1. Wears subtle make-up
2. Ages gracefully
3. Confidence
4. Never drinks directly from the bottle
5. Accepts compliments graciously
6. Doesn’t wear heels higher than she can walk in
7. Always smells nice
8. Doesn’t downplay her intelligence
9. Reveals cleavage sparingly
10. Wears dresses tight enough to show she’s a woman, but loose enough to prove she’s a lady


1. Respectful of women
2. Holds the door open for others
3. Takes pride in his appearance
4. Stands up when women join the dining table
5. Takes his hat off when indoors and in the company of women
6. Has a firm handshake
7. Knows when to admit he’s wrong
8. Owns a tailored suit
9. Always smells nice
10. Wears crisp white shirts