Sometimes, the idea of cultivating poise and sophistication can feel a bit daunting. Sophistication really is something that requires long-term development of the mind, body, and spirit. There is no need to revamp your life and make drastic changes all in a day. Here are a few simple ways to begin feeling and behaving in a more sophisticated way today.
1. Relax and stand up straight.
The two may sound counter intuitive, but that isn't the case. Minding your posture by standing up straight is a great way to express confidence and it also makes you look better. There is no need to be rigid and uncomfortable though. Simply lift your ears away from your shoulders, push the shoulders back, and breathe. When you walk, maintain that posture and glide delicately rather than stomping. These two things will make a huge difference in the way you are perceived.
2. Be mindful of your language.
This one is simple but can be pretty difficult sometimes. If you can help it, try to eliminate mindless swearing from your daily conversations. Choose your words wisely and use a little bit of mental effort to find a gentler way to express yourself in times of frustration.
3. Think of yourself as a foreign diplomat.
I truly believe that civility is the most vital quality we should possess as humans and often the one that is most lacking. When presenting yourself, imagine you are a foreign diplomat whose job is to serve as a positive representation of your home nation----with your home nation in this case being you as an individual. Most importantly here is to have grace under pressure, communicate effectively and politely, listen attentively, and try to give the benefit of the doubt.
4. Invest in beautiful loungewear and use it often.
I often feel most sophisticated when I'm at home reading with a cup of tea, wearing a cute pair of pajamas. To me, dressing well (and comfortably) at home makes me feel at ease and a bit fancy. Brands like Eberjey, J.Crew, and Anthropologie always have great pieces. Find a few easy options here and here.
5. Learn to gracefully argue your point.
If you need an example of this, watch just about any episode of The West Wing for inspiration. The characters always manage to deliver their arguments in an intellectually effective manner without being disrespectful or dismissive of opposing beliefs. First, understand and be sensitive to the fact that most people argue with their emotions instead of logic. Arguments can very quickly be interpreted as a personal attack, so be mindful of your words, tone, and body language when trying to make a point. Stand by your beliefs, debate using facts, and know when it is time to end the conversation.