The term “lady” has a respectful and elegant connotation, dating back as far as the era of Ladies and Lords of British nobility. Today, while the word may no longer be associated with royalty or the British Court, knowing how to be a lady can open a number of opportunities for women, in both the domestic and business worlds.
Acting and behaving in a proper and respectful manner plays an important role in the recognition, respect and admiration a lady receives from others. When educating oneself on how to be a lady, it is important to remember 3 key factors: Look like a lady, speak like a lady, and act like a lady.
Look Like a Lady
Cleanliness is essential to being a lady. Regular showers or baths, combed and styled hair is essential. A lady does not sport wild new hairstyles or crazy accessories.
Simple and subtle is the key. This idea applies to the use of makeup, as well. Only wear as much make-up as is necessary, to cover blemishes or enhance specific features such as eyes or lips.
A little goes a long way. A made up face does not look natural. Natural beauty is the look a lady portrays. Clean, fresh, and sensible are all words to keep in mind when styling hair or applying makeup.
Dress appropriately. A lady wears cloths that fit properly and do not bulge or bag. While dress clothes are nice, a woman does not have to wear dresses or skirts to portray herself as a lady. Jeans, dress slacks, or pants are all appropriate, if worn in a correct fashion, and in the proper size and fit.
Sweat pants or other baggy clothing are not acceptable, and only looks sloppy. While one does not want to wear baggy clothing, tight clothing is just as inappropriate, if not worse. Ensure that the clothing fits and is wrinkle free.
In addition to an adequate fit, the proper attire of a lady is modest, yet stylish and flattering. While it should go without saying, undergarments are essential.
Speak Like a Lady
Proper Grammar and Enunciation
The usage of proper grammar and careful enunciation is of extreme importance. A lady knows how to speak can enunciate her words clearly, so that all may understand with ease. She does not use slang or derogatory language in her speech, but is careful not to correct the improper grammar of others.
Choose Words Wisely
A lady always thinks about what she says before she says it. Once something has been said, it can’t be taken back. Never reprimand someone in a harsh way; instead, select the appropriate words and speak in a calm and gentle manner.
Listen and Do Not Interrupt
A person who interrupts another is often looked at as impatient and self-absorbed. They are seen as one who does not truly listen, or care about what others are saying.
A lady listens with grace and pays attention to the words of others, and never interrupts rudely in the middle of a thought.
Use a Moderate Tone
When speaking to others, a lady does not speak loudly or roughly. Instead, she uses a clear, moderate tone, without raising her voice. She does not speak so soft, though, that some may not hear her clearly, or as to appear weak or fragile to others.
The tone expressed in the conversation of a lady is appropriate to the occasion, as well as to the people around her. A lady speaks in a moderate, yet confident, fashion.
Act Like a Lady
Minding manners and practicing proper etiquette are essential to being a lady. Always be mindful of others, say please and thank you when appropriate, and act according to your standards in every situation.
Use common sense at the dinner table, or while otherwise in the company of others. A lady always sits in a proper fashion, and never slouches or slumps. Instead, a lady maintains good posture.
Never Let Them See You Sweat
Always remain calm in every situation. A lady never lets someone get to her or upset her, to the point of overreacting or losing her cool. She handles a difficult situation with grace and ease, never raising her voice or lashing out in anger.
Intellect of a Lady
A lady is knowledgeable about the world around her, and carries on a conversation gracefully about almost any subject. Even when the conversation revolves around a subject she is not well versed on, she stills appears respectable and wise, by saying nothing at all. Instead, she listens to the words of others with interest.
How Being a Lady Opens Doors
When we think of the romanticized version of the old south, with proper southern belles, cotillions, and finishing schools, it is customary to envision domesticated, “proper” young ladies.
These belles have gentlemen flocking about them, opening doors and bowing in their presence. While being a proper lady in today’s society brings dashing gentlemen rushing to open a door, many other opportunities arise for women, as a result of knowing how to be a lady.
In addition to attracting others with her simple grace and charm, a lady can open doors of opportunity in business and political circles, with her knowledge of the world, her refined manner and presence, as well as her ability to remain calm in a difficult situation.
The qualities a true and proper lady possesses are sought after in the business world, so women can land opportunities that were unavailable to her only a few short decades ago.
If we think about the not-so long ago past, when debutantes were introduced at “coming out” parties, proper ladies were not seen nor heard of in the business world. Commerce and the corporate board room belonged to the male gender. Today, women have taken tremendous strides in the world.
The efforts made by numerous women over the years to overcome the idea that they belong at home in the kitchen, or taking care of the children, have required outspokenness and courage on their part.
However, brashness gets you only so far. Behind it all, the gentleness and demeanor of a true lady still wins friends and influences people, even in the 21st century.