classy man in white shirt holds shoes for woman in gown crossing a stream

How to be Classy

In our 50-step guide to becoming James Bond, 2,000 women have rated what makes a man “classy”.

Long Story

The definition of what it really means to have class is constantly under attack: do you or do you not pay on a date? Do you or do you not open doors? Give your seat up on the tube? We’re constantly walking the line of being a gentleman vs being sexist.

A new survey, commissioned by fashion label Peter Hahn, has finally gotten to the bottom of all this.

When 2,000 people were asked what the traits are that make someone classy, they came up with a top 50 ranging from saying please and thank you, being well read and having good table manners to avoiding drinking instant coffee and knowing a range of poetry.


86% of people asked claimed that they thought people generally lacked class these days, while 36% admitted that they weren’t classy. In fact just 10% were confident in their own suave James Bond-esque knowledge of etiquette.

It was found that 45 is seen to be the optimum age for being classy and that Taylor Swift (say what?), Emma Watson and Idris Elba are role models for class.

There were still fundamental differences in traits expected from men and those expected from women, which show an old-fashioned view of life (read: you’re being a gentleman, you’re not sexist, apparently).

Men are expected to hold the door open, to have a firm handshake and to stand when women join the dining table, because this is 1850 after all. Women should wear “subtle makeup” and not show cleavage and that they should be confident and not downplay their intelligence.

“Projecting the essence of class successfully requires a number of factors to work harmoniously, from your dress sense to your manners to your skill set. It helps if you’ve 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,” Peter Hahn said.

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The table of “classy” traits is an interesting mix of the blatantly obvious and the bizarrely antiquated, but it’s a great exercise to see how many of the 50 boxes you tick.

And in the meantime – stay classy, folks.

Own The Conversation

Ask The Big Question

Are these things we’ve lost as a society, or outdated customs?

Disrupt Your Feed

It’s only when people try and say what gives someone class that you realise how crazy the whole notion is!

Drop This Fact

A recent study in the UK found that 45% of men liked women to be “elegantly dressed” while 31% said (admitted) they preferred women to dress revealingly.

Credit: askmen

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