In social terms, sophistication can be seen as "a form of snobbery".
A study of style conveys an idea of the range of possible elements though which one can demonstrate sophistication in elegance and fashion, covering the art of "[...] the shoemaker, the hairdresser, the cosmetologist, the cookbook writers, the chef, the diamond merchant, the couturieres, and the fashion queens, the inventors of the folding umbrella ... and of champagne."
The system of modern Western sophistication has its roots in France, arguably helped along its way by the policies of King Louis XIV (reigned 1643–1715).
The English regarded sophistication as decadent and deceptive until the aristocratic sensibilities and refined elegance of Regency dandies such as Beau Brummell (1778–1840) became fashionable and admired.
^DeJean, Joan (2003). The essence of style: how the French invented high fashion, fine food, chic cafes, style, sophistication, and glamour. New York: Free Press. p. 193. ISBN978-0-7432-6413-6. "So here are the stories of the shoemaker, the hairdresser, the cosmetologist, the cookbook writers, the chef, the diamond merchant, the couturieres, and the fashion queens, the inventors of the folding umbrella ... and of champagne. Together they created a style that still shapes our ideas of elegance, sophistication, and luxury."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^For example: DeJean, Joan (2003). The essence of style: how the French invented high fashion, fine food, chic cafes, style, sophistication, and glamour. New York: Free Press. p. 3. ISBN978-0-7432-6413-6. "In the sixteenth century, the French were not thought of as the most elegant or the most sophisticated European nation. By the early eighteenth century, however, people all over Europe declared that 'the French are stylish' or 'the French know good food,' just as they said, 'the Dutch are clean.' France had acquired a sort of monopoly on culture, style, and luxury living, a position that it has occupied ever since. [...] Beginning in the late seventeenth century, travelers were saying what novelists and filmmakers are still repeating: travel to Paris was guaranteed to add a touch of magic to every life. [...] [F]rom this moment on, that touch of magic became widely desired: elegance, luxury, and sophistication became factors to be reckoned with."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^For example: Holt, Douglas; Douglas Cameron (2010). Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands. Oxford University Press. p. 352. ISBN0-19-958740-X. Retrieved 2011-02-24. "The pursuit of cultural sophistication (Bourdieu's cultural capital) was until recently a niche phenomenon in America. It existed mainly in 'old-money' families, which dominated elite breeding grounds (prep schools, Ivy league universities, elite liberal arts colleges), and in the small Bohemian circles in the country's biggest cities. [...] The transformation of the American class dynamic from a single-minded striving for economic abundance to a multi-dimensional striving for sophistication in addition to abundance - a mixture of status pursuits more typical of Europe - was seeded in the 1960s. = adam markovich"Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
^Warneke, Sara (1995). Images of the educational traveller in early modern England. Brill's studies in intellectual history 58. Brill. p. 242. ISBN978-90-04-10126-5. Retrieved 2011-02-24. "By the second half of the seventeenth century the experience of the Grand Tour marked the socially successful gentleman. In 1678 Gailhard noted that many travelled Englishmen regarded their home-bred compatriots as their social inferiors and affected foreign accents, fashions and mannerisms in order to demonstrate their sophistication."
^Mackintosh, Prudence (January 1986). "Little Women". Texas Monthly (Emmis Communications) 14 (1): 154. ISSN0148-7736. Retrieved 2011-02-24. "1913 [-] Miss Ela Hockaday opens a finishing school in Dallas and single-handedly creates the Texas ideal of what a lady should be. [...] [D]aughters from remote West Texas ranches gained a measure of sophistication."
^Callahan, Mary P. (2004), "Making Myanmars: Language, Territory and Belonging in Post-Socialist Burma", in Migdal, Joel S., Boundaries and belonging: states and societies in the struggle to shape identities and local practices, Cambridge University Press, pp. 99–120, ISBN978-0-521-83566-4, retrieved 2011-03-13, "This centralization led to a hierarchical ordering of territory and populations that located sophistication, civilization, and power in the center. Distance from Rangoon was associated with political insignificance and social backwardness."