HUNT: Real class can’t be bought

Georgie Hunt

Going to a school like Villanova makes me think a lot about what it means to be classy. Villanovans are known, perhaps stereotypically so, for their preppy style. During my first few days of orientation freshman year, I recall staring in absolute stupefaction at boys walking around with lime green cable-knit sweaters tied around their necks when the temperature dropped in the evenings. My aunt, who has made her home in New Orleans for the past 20 years and has therefore disconnected herself from New England style, visited Villanova for Parents’ Weekend. After her initial walk on campus from the R5 train station to Corr Hall, my aunt uttered her primary and most pressing observations in a bewildered tone behind the closed door of my dorm room. She did not immediately comment on the church or the library or the statue of Mary in the Grotto, although she would later. But first, she had to ask, “Does everyone wear pearls?”

The preppy look often gets the classy credit, but you do not have to wear Polo and pearls to be classy, and even if you do own a pair of Nantucket red pants, which you prevent from falling down around your boat shoes by sporting a belt of pastel blue or green polka dot grosgrain ribbon, such duds do not designate class.

What you wear is important, however superficial that sounds, because clothing offers a first impression to the world. Before a person talks to you, glimpses your smile or knows your character, he or she sees what you are wearing. Though it is a materialistic person who takes to heart an initial impression based on clothing alone, society’s subconscious tendency to come to a conclusion on a person’s character based on his or her outward appearance forces people to have some consideration for what they wear. After all, once you see someone wearing Juicy sweatpants – you know, the velvet ones with Juicy (of all words) written on the butt – it is practically infeasible to disregard that first impression, which made you feel like you had to take a shower immediately after you read that word – there.

Oscar Wilde concocted the word “dude” from the combination of the words “duds” and “attitude.” Therefore, to be a classy dude entails attention to how you externally present yourself to the world. But duds and designer labels do not define a person, and furthermore, any definition that clothing suggests is often deceiving. It is what is “underneath your clothes,” as Shakira puts it, that matters most.

Classiness is an attitude. It is a general consideration for others. It is what motivates you to smile at everyone, regardless of how they look or what they are wearing. Classiness is exhibiting kindness and treating others with respect. It is acting with common sense, dignity, decency – being civilized.

Other than the fact that it exercises my gag reflexes, I do not care that a prospective student came to tour campus in a Gucci suit and a Versace silk tie. I am not impressed, and I do not immediately think to myself, “Ooh, what a classy dude.” I do not know him, and I am not going to drool over him because, even though he might well be a humble – classy – young man, the only thing that is evident to me by looking at him is that he has – or his parents have – the funds. Anyone with a hint of class knows that no amount of money can buy it. You cannot purchase a condition of heart and soul, and all the money in the world does not guarantee you the most desirable treasure: modesty.

Classiness is an attitude you cultivate for yourself. What you wear does not make you any better than someone else, for the little doggies stitched all over your pants cannot defend your honor. That you must do with your own attitude.

——————–

Georgie Hunt is a sophomore English major from Pomfret, Conn. She can be reached at [email protected]