The A-Z of being a Lady
Sometimes being a lady in a modern landscape seems nigh on impossible. How are you meant to be able to exude grace, charm and understanding when you have to use public transport, deal with self-service checkouts and are subject to snarky tweets from so-called friends? It’s easy to become the kind of urban prowling women who forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in Starbucks, and who scream at inanimate objects. Is there any way we can hark back to the ease and organisation of ladylike expectations without all that oppression malarky? Here’s our A-Z guide of how to achieve the demeanour of a thoroughly modern lady.
All things in moderation: The key to a lady’s elegance is through balance. Don’t wear too much make-up, don’t over-eat, don’t endlessly chatter. Never focus on one thing completely, make sure that everything in your life is spread evenly like butter on toast… in a 1950′s advert.
Body Conscious: There are a list of habits that you must adhere to for maximum ladylike sophistication. No skin picking, no nail biting, no hair fiddling or adjusting your clothes in public. Always sit with your legs together, crossed at the ankle. Basically, even if you are extremely uncomfortable or nervous you have to look 100% calm and composed. Easy, right?
Choose one’s company carefully: If you hang out with rock stars, drug addicts, philanderers and criminals, then people will associate you with them. Time for a Facebook cull.
Discipline: Self control is absolutely vital. Stop staring at the double chocolate gateau in the window of that French Artisan Bakery. It shows your weakness. Are you overhearing your boss misquoting something? Bite your tongue – you don’t want to be caught eavesdropping.
Etiquette: It’s imperative. As well as the usual dinner rules (bring food to your mouth rather than bending to eat it, ‘work your way in’ with cutlery, &c.) you must never use your mobile phone at dinner, or mix business with pleasure. Even if Ryan Gosling is involved in both instances. Refer to ‘D‘ for inspiration.
Feminine: You should be a picture of feminine beauty and charm. Wear dresses and skirts. Don’t be afraid of pastels. Perfect your ‘tinkling’ tea-party laugh.
Gentle: A lady never shouts or gets intensely irate. Did you know if you raise your voice it actually makes you panic even more? Next time your other half washes his red football shirt with your white bedlinen, gently take his hand and explain in a soft voice why he has ruined your life.
Humble: Modesty is a virtue. Although that presentation at work might have been a roaring success, you must shake your head, meekly smile, and remain demure when praise is showered over you. And if, like last week, your line-manager gets the praise instead, you have another reason to just grin and bear it.
Independence: You don’t have to be a doormat, you know. Michelle Obama is one of the most ladylike ladies out there, but she is hardly shy and retiring. Know what you want, know what you think, and stick to your convictions. Just in a really quiet, composed, unthreatening way.
Just: In the same vein, you must stand up for what you believe in. If you witness someone getting beaten up, you don’t have to stand there simpering. Justice must always prevail, because what is a lady? She is good. In the moral sense of the word, not the lame adjective sense.
Knowledgeable: Ladies always win at parties because many women are usually too busy getting drunk and performing karaoke to be able to make small talk. If you have a good grasp of current affairs and cultural interests then you’ll be far more alluring.
Lunch: Ladies who lunch. That’s the label, and you’re going to have to live with it. Find out how to make some kind of roulade and invite everyone round once in a while. Macaroons get extra points.
Manners: The basis of this is gratitude. If you’re grateful for everything, then you’re more likely to be polite. As well as asking nicely and thanking people for their kindnesses, you’ll reciprocate, and also give great pleasure on vacating your train seat for the woman with the fake ‘baby on board’ badge.
Neat & Tidy: Ladies are never scruffy. Ever. No more bed hair for you. You must always look perfectly well groomed, hygienic. and presentable. No wrinkles in clothes, no unsavoury flesh showing, clean nails and brushed locks. Probably best to avoid the Christmas party then…
Optimistic: Finding the positive in life will lift your mood considerably, and also make you nicer to other people. It’s not your place to correct them, even if they’ve said your name wrong 57 times. No more sour looks, no more whining. Look for silver linings everywhere. (It should be easy, metallic is very in, this season)
Poise: Standing tall with grace and sophistication is mostly about posture. Slouching is out the window, unfortunately, as is leaning or holding your head in your hands. You must always look like the Statue of Liberty, and never like an exhausted wreck who has just done a two hour work out.
Quality: Quality over quantity is your mantra. It doesn’t matter how expensive your clothes are, but they should be durable beautiful materials. Your food doesn’t need to be fancy, but it should be nutritious and perfectly cooked (toast doesn’t count).
Respectful & Respectable: By respecting and loving thy neighbour, and their boundaries, and their ugly Christmas decorations, and their incessant salsa music, you in turn will garner respect and admiration. It’s worth it in the end.
Smile: Even when you think that your face physically cannot go into that position, force it. As soon as you smile you start to feel better and give off an aura of calm happiness. Also, did you know you use less muscles to smile than to frown?
Tasteful: Throw away anything with designer logos on – never flaunt your wealth. Also large bags make you look untidy and disorganised. A small compact purse is the sophisticated way.
Unpretentious: You might be cultured and knowledgeable, but don’t go all out to prove it. Nobody cares that much about your enlightening trip to Vietnam. Don’t overstay your verbal welcome.
Vitality: Life is good, right? Energy is also good. You might be composed and demure, but you’ve got an enthusiasm and excitement for living that burns within.
Witty: This is tough because you’re either born with it, or you’re not. But read a lot of satire and try and work a couple of quips into each day. Just in case someone wants to collate your quotes into some kind of Wiki article.
You: People say ‘I’ll have to see it to believe it’. This time you have to believe it for people to see it. This behaviour has to be genuine and authentic otherwise you’ll look like you’ve just become a stilted formal version of yourself.
Zzz: Ladies never rush, and are never late for anything. So make sure you get your eight hours.