There is a certain charm in natural, earthy things, but sometimes a bit of refinement can keep something from being coarse and common. When something is refined, rough edges are removed from it and it is polished and cared for until it has become something more than the natural thing. When you see something that has been cared for and polished, something that someone has invested a lot of time and energy in, you naturally tend to treat it more carefully. You also tend to put it with other refined things and wear it to refined occasions. If this is a response you would like to elicit, you may want to try refining yourself. True refinement comes from within, dignity demands a certain level of refinement. When you take care of your body, wear clean, nice clothes that suit you and style your hair in a flattering way. you feel more respect for yourself. But appearance is just the beginning. One of the quickest ways to show more refinement, is by removing coarse elements from your speech as much as possible. You’ll seem more common if you curse like a sailor, complain endlessly or tell sordid stories often. There is no need to make your conversation so bland that you bore others, but keep it limited. In general, a refined person keeps an eye on how his or her behaviour affects others and likes to make others feel good.
Another mark of refinement is to be curious and cultured. Again, this is an expression of the ability to step outside your little world and to be interested in the world at large. You become well read and well-travelled, you learn something about other times and cultures and you learn to place things into their context. It used to be that only the higher classes had the opportunity to do so, but this is very different now with good, cheap transport, public libraries and the internet. There are some sore spots left today in the perception of refinement, but in my experience an honest, solid sense of dignity elicits positive feelings among all people. Pretentiousness on the other hand, awakens feelings of anger. Refinement is about already being up there, and lifting others up, pretentiousness about making others feel inferior and pushing them down. When natural charm is lost and something becomes fake, cookie cutter, uncharming, people feel cheated. When a course, common thing is wrapped as a fine, special thing, people feel fooled. No one likes to feel like an idiot who has been taken by the nose. If you come across as a very refined, even delicate lady and people treat you accordingly, but then publicly turn around and indulge in coarse, base behaviour with the next crowd, it can backfire. It is also unattractive to be nervous about imperfections, not to mention tiring to yourself if you must remove every stray hair, clogged pore and speck of dust.
Each person has a different minimum and maximum level of refinement that feels comfortable. To someone who is used to fast food restaurants, an easygoing steakhouse would be a nice treat, but he might feel very uneasy and a chic french restaurant. He can trust that his best manners are good enough at the steakhouse, but in the chic place he feels so uncomfortable that he may give up altogether and defensively put the place down. My advice is that you find a level of refinement where you feel at ease, yet you also feel special. Play with it and fine-tune to your audience, yet stay true to yourself.