Today, I thought I would poach a subject that is near and dear to all Southern bred women and really to all women, best dressed, minding your manners, creating a beautiful home, and savoring your moments.
I have been following a wonderful author for about 25 years, Alexandra Stoddard. These are just a few of her books. They helped me develop my sense of style.
- Daring to Be Yourself
- Living a Beautiful Life
- Open Your Eyes
- Feeling at Home
- Choosing Happiness
You can find her website at: www.Alexandrastoddard.com. Some of her ideas are right in line with things my mom has taught me and some thoughts that I read on a previous post from French Garden House blog. French Garden House was speaking on French and European women I thought these all applied to the Southern women of the south and just women in general.
Also check her out here: http://frenchgardenhouse.com/blog/french-lessons-6-tips-for-living-like-a-french-woman/
We need to take these to heart as we are losing some of these beautiful characteristics of a Southern woman with the fast route of fast food; stretch pants and just living sloppy in general!
Everything I know about gracious living I learned from my mother, Margaret Reames Holland as she had an incredible sense of style too. She taught me “pretty is as pretty does” and to always act like a lady, to create a beautiful, warm and welcoming home, and to invite friends and neighbors over for her Southern desserts. I miss my mom every day and only wish she had been around to help raise my children with my husband and me. Her style, attention to detail and her recipes were wonderful! When she walked in a room, everyone turned to notice. I so miss that. I know few women that have that presence of self-confidence.
BEST DRESSED. I try to never go anywhere without make-up on and some accessories, ever. Looking nice and stylish is very important to me. I guess my mom’s sense of style wore off on me. I may not have the most up to date clothing on sometimes, but being confident in what I am wearing is so important. Buy the best you can purchase.
French Garden House blog mentions that there isn't a single woman in Europe who would go outdoors in sweat pants, unless she's jogging, period. Everyone has a fashionable coat, a scarf, and great shoes. What a way to do it! For Europeans, looking good is a way of life. Even a quick trip to the market requires a certain level of chicness.
Some of my mom’s rules:
1. There is no excuse for not taking care of yourself. Even if you are stressed, you will feel so much better if you find some time to do your hair and makeup and use some body lotion. You will be able to give back to others once you do this.
2. Find YOUR style, realizing that the most popular style may not look great on your body. If this is the case then revert to the styles, colors, shapes and fabrics that work for you, stick with those. Trends come and go, what fits and looks good on you is forever.
3. Always make a habit to buy the best you can afford. Investing in cheap fabrics looks just that, CHEAP. Invest in the real thing such as real cotton, linen, cashmere and silk. There are some polyesters on the market that look amazing these days, just shop wisely. The key word is "look amazing."
4. Fit is KEY. If your clothes fit poorly take them to a tailor/seamstress and have them professionally tailored. If your pants hit the floor take care of that hem. If something will never fit your body right, donate it.
MIND YOUR MANNERS. My mother always said that perfect manners are essential to be a true Christian Southern Lady. Pretty is as Pretty does! Inside and out!
I remember putting my foot on the pew to straighten my white socks in my white patent leather shoes at church, only to be pinched softly by my mom. I never did that again!
· no swearing, cursing or using slang language, seriously!
· good posture makes every woman look classy, and slimmer too!
· smoking is never elegant, if you have this habit and can’t break it, do it in private.
· leave lots to the imagination such as low-cut, skimpy and tight clothes are not for you! No one wants to see your hinny, or your chest exposed.
Southern women use their beautiful things, and are so adept at creating little beautiful vignettes almost anywhere. Try a beverage bar. Coffee and soft drinks are always welcoming when guest arrive.
You will not very likely find paper plates when true Southern women entertain. They use their antiques, their silver, and their best glassware for guests.
CREATE BEAUTY AT HOME. You don't have to live in a large home to have a pleasing home, it's not too difficult to make your home welcoming and a nice place to come to. Bring some beauty to your world. I try to have fresh flowers when possible when I entertain.
Flowers don't need to be all that expensive, you can pick up a little bunch at the market, or cut a few flowers from your garden. There are times that I clip branches from our front garden and call it an arrangement, they look beautiful. I’ve even decorated with branches in my chandeliers.
SAVOR MOMENTS. French Garden House wrote that the whole concept of picking up a coffee and drinking it while driving somewhere is so foreign to European women. When they drink coffee or tea, they make it an event. You can do the same.
In America, we enjoy our fast food, however when you have a guest savor the moments that you have together, sharing, talking, smiling and encouraging your friends/guest. They will cherish these times you shared together and remember them for a long time. Plus, your relationship will blossom from these savored moments.