Do you remember the scene from the 2020 movie, Enola Holmes, that stresses how a young woman should smile to attract the "right kind of man"? Or how Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries is tied to the dining chair with a Hermés scarf to learn proper posture while eating? Etiquette training, in the era that these movies are based in, was all about teaching young girls the art of refinement and social grace to be fit for finding a great husband. Today, the purpose of etiquette training has (thankfully) changed.
Etiquette training, now, caters to people who choose to invest in themselves and refine their manners to elevate their personalities, regardless of their gender. From OG modern-day etiquette trainers like Myka Meier of Beaumont Etiquette, who introduces us to everything like dining manners, walking, talking, and sitting like a duchess, to up-and-coming etiquette coaches like Seema Puri and Sonal C Holland, who focus on refined social mannerisms and navigating cultural subtexts, and wine stewardship, respectively, the definition, purpose, and clientele of etiquette training is becoming increasingly vast and inclusive.
We decode the values and influences of modern-day etiquette training and what may make it worth it all.
WHAT DOES ETIQUETTE TRAINING ENTAIL
Etiquette training is now getting hyper-specialised; it caters to a large number of people across cultures. While it still focuses on how to wine and dine correctly, ways to exude confidence, ace interpersonal communication, dress appropriately, understand subtle differences in cultural greetings, and many more nuances of social life, it has expanded its definition to include social media etiquette and virtual communication skills to meet the needs of our increasingly digital lives. It also lends its expertise in corporate settings to help improve workplace communication and soft skills needed to set the base for success.
A FORM OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
People are realising the rising value of self presentation in their personal and professional lives and are resonating with etiquette training as a part of their journey of self improvement. As it becomes the next tab on our never-ending list of self development must-dos, it is important to remember the goal of etiquette training—to feel more confident about ourselves in social contexts and not to encourage classist behaviour or judgment.
TAPPING INTO ‘QUIET LUXURY’
Quiet luxury, the trend that is reigning runways and is defined by “understated elegance and refined consumption”, is the perfect backdrop for modern-day etiquette coaching. It can attract an increasingly style conscious young clientele that possess the desire and resources to invest in themselves and are looking to take on the ‘stealth wealth’ lifestyle.
NEW AGE ETIQUETTE TRAINING
In India, we have a growing list of options to include etiquette training into our lives with formal etiquette schools like the British School of Excellence India and Amity Finishing School specialising in it. But if going to an actual finishing school makes you feel as if you’ve time travelled into the past, there are many other ways through which you can refine your personal style.
If Instagram is your preferred learning medium, as it is for many of us, there are some amazing etiquette coaches who give simple tips and tricks to elevate your style. Some social media accounts that should be on your radar include Apoorvaa Aagarwal, Sahibaa Singh, Seema Puri, Rukshana Eisa, and Konkana Bakshi.
Etiquette training can be viewed as a means to increase social and cultural sensitivity, understanding, and empathy along with increasing our self esteem. As is true with most self improvement trends, indulge in it in a manner that suits you best. After all, etiquette never goes out of style. And today it can be as easy as scrolling on your screens.