Not too long ago I decided to try something new on Instagram!
I sat down, with a glass of wine, and used the “questions” feature on stories. It was open ended: “Ask me anything!” To my surprise, questions came flooding in…and the mirco-community I’ve built on the platform was curious about things I hadn’t thought of. I got some questions about fashion, beauty, home decor + my local favorites– which were all topics I fully expected. But what I didn’t expect were questions about: saving for a house, dating advice, my favorite living artists + how “to be a classy gal these days”! That last one ended up being my favorite of the entire evening because it really made me think.
I can’t help but admit that the first thing that came to mind was that Coco Chanel quote. You know the one we’ve Pinned at leave 12 different times: “a lady should be two things: classy + fabulous”, but what does that even mean? Nothing really lol. At least not when it comes to explaining to someone why people may perceive me to be a classy lady! So I thought hard about it and came up with an honest suggestion.
Tip: some of ya’ll will put anything on the internet like these files don’t last forever! I try not to be so reckless. I don’t share anything I wouldn’t want her (my grandmother is pictured) to see. Not saying I won’t do it😆😇, I’m just not sharing it with the world. And that’s worked for me this far!
That was my initial thought– I may be perceived as a lady because I present myself to the world the way I present myself to my grandmother (a traditional, Southern women that I believe has been a lady her entire life)! But, I kept going back to the initial request for tips on how to be a classy lady!
A women is determined by a chromosome, but a lady is defined by her actions + someone else’s perception. The ultimate lady in my life is my grandma who has taught me everything I know. So, what are those things that make her a lady? I’m sure I could list dozens of things, but there are 10 that I think sums it up. You can use it as advice, or simply read it as a list of things my dear grandmother has taught me.
10 things that make a Southern Woman A Lady:
- She dresses the part! When it comes to fashion choices a lady chooses classic silhouettes that work for her body type, over trends. An A-line, mid-length dress is the standard. It flatters most body types because it gives the illusion of an hourglass figure (think Dior’s New Look)!
- She knows her way around a kitchen! A lady doesn’t have to be a master chef to be well versed in the kitchen. As long as she’s got a handful of recipes she can master for breakfast, lunch + dinner, and knows how to use the most basic of appliances, she’s good! Extra points for having a signature dessert you’re known for baking.
- She’ll never disrespect her family’s name in the streets. I grew up on James Island, which at the time, was just a sleepy town across the bridge from Charleston’s Peninsula. Nearly everyone in my community was some distant relative of mine. I couldn’t go to any store with my grandma without someone stopping her to chat. My elementary school was only steps away from her house (and was the same elementary school my mom attended), so she even knew everyone there. I learned very early on that anything I did in public would be a reflection of my family’s name, and subsequently it would get back to them. Who was I to bring disgrace to a reputation built over generations?! I wasn’t gonna allow that to happen. And I think that’s the mentality of nearly every lady that’s ever lived in a small town.
- She knows her audience! A lady always expresses her feelings (content or discontent) and she’d never shy away from it. However, she knows there’s a time, a place and an audience for everything. She doesn’t share everything about herself or a situation with just anyone. She doesn’t speak loosely around people she doesn’t know she can trust. She tailors stories, conversations, advice + expectations to the person in front of her to ensure that they always feel comfortable.
- She’s right on time with a catalog of Southern phrases! When I was younger my grandma would say the most off-the-wall phrases that would leave me sitting there repeating them until they made some sort of sense. I loved them! But it wasn’t until I got older that I realized that sometimes it really “doesn’t amount to a hill of beans”, or that “can’t never could”, that “if it were a snake it really would have bitten me”, and that nothing is worse than “not seeing someone you love in a month of Sundays”– and now I find myself using them at the most opportune times.
- She’s Always Uplifting Others! A lady is extremely thoughtful and makes a point to make others feel seen. People know they can come to her for advice, or even a favor. She helps anyone she can mentally, spiritually or emotionally. But makes a special effort to help other (and younger) women reach their full potential.
- She’s well-educated! A lady knows nothing is more powerful than knowledge so she ensures that she’s constantly being educated, formally or not! She reads daily and stays informed about things that affect the world + things she’s passionate about.
- She always appears put-together! A lady knows that often times perception is reality, so she does her best to always appear put-together, even when she’s not feeling 100%. She knows she’s not expected to look perfect everywhere she goes, but she always appears tidy + clean when she leaves the house.
- She’s involved in her community! A lady knows the importance of giving back, especially to the community she calls home. She uses her passions, skills + God-given gifts, to support local organizations and non-profits…and encourages others to do the same.
- The internet doesn’t know all of her! A lady knows that files on the internet last a lifetime, so she’d never share anything today that she wouldn’t want future (or past) generations to see. She leaves a little mystery and never shares all of herself to a digital audience she has no way of managing.
Images: Callow Lens