The Art of Being a Lady: How (And Why) to Dress Like a Lady

Well, the public has spoken, and, of course, I listened. As much as I tried to abstain from telling you how to dress, you just could not pass up the chance to talk about clothes. So here we are. I do what you tell me. Don’t ever say I don’t love you.

This is the seventh installment of The Art of Being a Lady series, and in case you decided to skip the ever-so-eloquently-formulated sentences above, we’re talking about how to dress like a lady. Okay, so you’re probably wondering why we’re about to talk about clothes, when just the other day I said that an immaculately tailored dress, perfect coif and a full face of makeup are all superficial characteristics that do not define a lady.

Stay with me here; I think I’m on to something.

As much as I like menswear-inspired clothing, nothing gives me the same all-is-well-in-the-universe feeling like wearing pieces that highlight my femininity. What’s more, considering the fact that our clothes have the power to dictate our behavior and mood, the most rational conclusion for a woman striving to be a lady is to dress like one. And no matter which way you turn it, our clothing choices are rarely neutral; they are strong nonverbal communicators of our identities. Think about your own ensembles; what do your choices say about you?

Dressing like a lady is about communicating confidence {not to be confused with conceit}. If you’re picturing buttoned-up-to-here cardigans and 1950s-inspired full skirts, it’s time to put that God-given imagination to use. Feminine clothing can be, but is not limited to, ruffles, sparkle, bows, ribbons and polka dots – just make sure you’re not venturing off into cute-as-a-button territory. In fact, just stay away from cute, altogether.

Dressing like a lady does not necessarily equate to forgoing leather, pinstripes, studs, etc. The trick is to juxtapose decidedly feminine pieces with a hint of menswear to produce an effortless look of elegance and class {see four examples below}. While there is no foolproof formula, it is much easier than you might think. And now, because everyone loves a list, here are a few easy guidelines to ensure the message you’re giving off is, in fact, the message you think you’re giving off. Consider this good deed as another expression of my love for you.

  1. No dressmaker can make a woman feminine if she is not feminine herself {more about femininity in last week’s post.
  2. You can never be overdressed or overeducated.
  3. Only wear heels if you know how to walk in them. {And if you don’t – learn!}
  4. Luxury lies not in richness and ornateness but in the absence of vulgarity {otherwise known as mini skirts paired with boots.}
  5. Carry yourself with confidence. It’s sexier than any low-cut dress.
  6. Your dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady.
  7. Be aware of your body type. It’s time to look truth in the eyes: bandage dresses are only lovely if you have the curvature to pull them off.
  8. Always look your best – if only out of politeness. Ladies, leggings {not to be confused with pants} are not your friends. The world and its people thank you in advance.
  9. Never allow your clothes to wear you.
  10. Sensuality {as opposed to sexuality} can speak volumes and exude much more depth than sexuality ever can.

Top, ModCloth // Skirt, ASOS // Shoes, Guess // Jacket, She Inside // Sunglasses, Sole Society // Purse, Joia // Lipstick, Maybelline // Bracelets, ASOS, ASOS, T+J Designs

Peplum and pencils skirts is an all-time favorite ensemble of mine {this may or may not be, but probably is, due to the fact that my body seems to have failed in getting the message that I am, in fact, a woman}. The stripes of the shirt, along with the gladiator-like sandals, add just the right dose of masculinity to the outfit.

Dress, ModCloth // Bag, Michael Kors // Shoes, Anne Michelle // Necklace, Macy’s // Lipstick, Maybelline // Bracelet, ASOS

Lace can be a difficult fabric to pull off. Add to that a bow the size of my head, and you’re venturing into the dreaded cute territory. To keep this look modern, add classic accessories and opt for a simple hairstyle, like a chignon.

Top, The // Skirt, The Limited // Necklace, T+J Designs // Shoes, Guess // Jacket, The // Lipstick, Maybelline // Purse, Boticca // Watch, Fossil // Sunnies, ASOS

Pink is perhaps the most feminine of colors. If polka dots are not your cup of tea, pair it with a graphic print trousers, add a pop of blue, and voila! Do not try to match your blues. You want to look chic, effortless and interesting, not contrived and unnatural. In fact, analogous colors, or colors that are similar to one another, create a harmonious and pleasantly unexpected look when paired together.

Top, Dorothy Perkins // Pants, ASOS // Jacket, Miss Selfridge // Clutch, All For Color // Necklaces, ASOSDailyLook, ASOS // Heels, Pour La Victoire // Sunnies, ASOS

Dress up your go-to outfit by opting for trousers in a fun color instead of your typical jeans. Not only are they surprisingly far more comfortable than jeans, they’re also much more fun. Add a few feminine touches, like delicate necklaces, a sweetheart neckline, chiffon details. If a leather jacket is too hardcore for you, opt for a blazer instead.  Shop other ladylike pieces below, or click here to shop my favorites.
Which of these outfits do you see yourself wearing? Do you think dressing like a lady is relevant today? What do your clothes say about you? I’d love to hear your opinions on the topic!

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