When I hear the word ‘lady’, images of Victorian high society parties burst upon my mind. Immaculate dressing, extreme etiquette, polite conversation and graceful carriage are all the popular characteristics of a lady straight out of your average Jane Austen novel. But what does it mean to be a lady in this day and age? Is the charm of a woman of sensibility too far gone from this world, or is it still appreciable, and even desirable?
1. Dressing and Appearance
Wear well-tailored clothes that suit your body type and flatter your figure. Take care to coordinate colours and wear clean ironed outfits. You can show off your eye for detail with a matching pair of shoes and a classy bag. Don’t demean your grace by unnecessary exposure of the cleavage or other intimate body parts. A lady’s beauty is in her modesty. Add glamour to your look with a light jewellery and some minimal classy makeup.
2. Personal Hygiene
Cleanliness is a vital aspect that cannot be ignored by a lady. Shower daily, trim your nails, wash your hair regularly and take care of body odour. When you step out of the house, carry a clean handkerchief or fresh tissues to wipe sweat.
3. Style – Play to Your Strengths
Know what makes you sexy. Don’t emulate fashions as they are, instead strike a clever balance between modesty and boldness to create your own style of a lady. It could be something as simple as a unique hairstyle to a dash of expensive french perfume. Make your own personal statement, and you will make a lasting impression.
4. Be Well-Mannered and Cheerful
Be polite and sweet-natured to people around you. Offer help when people seem to be in a fix, but don’t go overboard or you’ll appear intrusive. If something makes you angry, don’t use foul or obscene language. Show others that you are in control of your emotions and are mature enough to express your sentiments with restraint.
It’s always charming to see a lady with perfect etiquette. While dining, know the basic rules of regarding fork and knife use. If you want a dish that’s out of your reach, ask for it to be passed over to you instead of leaning across the table and fetching it over other people’s plates. Don’t heap up your plate with food, take small servings at a time. Similarly, when pouring out a beverage, don’t fill your glass to the brim unless you wish to seem greedy. Fill three-quarters of the glass and take another serving afterwards if you need it. Burping and passing wind before others is also bad etiquette. When you have company at home, be a good hostess and see to everyone’s needs.
Always walk erect, without slumping your shoulders. Pull the skirt down when you sit, and keep your spine straight. Even if you are wearing jeans, keep your legs together when you sit, rather than sprawled all over the place. If you wish to cross your legs, do so only at the ankle, keeping your legs close to yourself, a little towards one side.
7. Enjoy Men’s Chivalry
Once people know you for a lady, they will want to treat you like one. Enjoy the good behavior you have inspired in others. Men, especially, love to take care of a lady. Let them carry a heavy shopping bag for you, open the door for you and offer to walk you home. But if you would rather do something yourself, be firm and polite in expressing your wishes. Never come across as incapable of handling something without assistance or desiring attention. A damsel in distress is not cool. But if you do find yourself in a distressful situation, you will not belittle yourself if you ask for help. The key is to maintain your dignity in happy and stressful circumstances alike.
8. Kindness to Others
Lend a patient ear to others when they speak and respond intelligently but sensitively. Listen more than you talk. Be a helpful person, but give people their space when you feel they don’t want it. Be sympathetic towards the poor and needy. Contribute your assistance, not just monetary but personal, to causes you believe in.
9. Educate Yourself
This is especially important in today’s world. Keep yourself well-informed of what is happening in world politics, economic situations, and the cultural scene. It does not help to be an ignorant bimbette amidst others. The days of the dumb beauty are gone. Now you must come across as an intelligent thinking individual with her own set of opinions. Having a stimulating conversation with people will let them know of your varied knowledge and interests. Always speak your mind, but don’t quarrel over differences in opinions. Tell the world you are a person in your own right.
10. A Woman of Substance
Looks are very important, no doubt, but in the end, what people will remember about you is your personality and character. Hold upright morals, take no nonsense from anyone, and be a source of strength to those around you. Don’t indulge in petty activities such as bitching and gossiping. Refrain from indulging in cheap jokes about others, dropping sexually overt hints at members of the other sex or cheapening your behavior in any way.
Being a lady today does not mean you have to wear tight corsets and wait for a man to hand you a silk handkerchief to blow your nose in. It is the spirit of a true lady that ought to be visible in your personal interaction with the world you live in.
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