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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Hepburn

What Does It Mean to Be a “Lady” – to Be Feminine? (Some Questions for My Readers)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Hepburn
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Hepburn

 Audrey Hepburn in 1954 – from Wikipedia

I am planning on doing a series of posts about ungodly femininity and godly femininity in the coming weeks. But I also want to talk about general femininity. The definition of what it means to be feminine or to be a woman has changed quite a lot over the past 100 years in our culture. And yet, there are some things about femininity that are timeless.

I think that looking back to some of the old movies of Hollywood can be interesting – particularly watching Audrey Hepburn or Julie Andrews. When we see either of them, we immediately think, “look how feminine she is,” or, “she’s such a classy lady.” Audrey Hepburn’s movie, “My Fair Lady” is actually a very interesting study on what it means to be a lady if you haven’t seen it!

What is it about these women (and others) that signals that they are so classy, ladylike and feminine? That is something I want us to think about together.

http://www.wnyc.org/story/why-movie-musicals-matter/
http://www.wnyc.org/story/why-movie-musicals-matter/

A scene from the film “The Sound of Music,” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, released by 20th Century Fox in 1965.

I have found that some of the best, most articulate and detailed descriptions of femininity often come from the gentlemen. At least, that was certainly true on my other blog here and also here when we have discussed this topic. So, I would like to invite the men to respond to these questions as well as the ladies. (My apologies, but I will not be able to post comments that are “manospherian” in order to honor my husband’s request of me. Thank you so much for understanding.) I may use your responses anonymously in a post and possibly in a book in the future, so, if you respond, you are granting me permission to quote you.

You are welcome to answer any or all of these questions. There is room for variance in the answers. Femininity is not a one-size-fits all. There are many styles and ways of being feminine that are beautiful and God-honoring. Hopefully, we have all witnessed examples of beautiful, classy femininity that we can draw from as we think about the answers to these questions. I’m excited to have this discussion together!

1. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?

2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?

3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like?

4. How does a lady speak?

5. How does a feminine woman act?

6.  How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity?

7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?

8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady?

96 thoughts on “What Does It Mean to Be a “Lady” – to Be Feminine? (Some Questions for My Readers)

  1. First, I wanted to say you picked two of the most feminine women of all time! Second, I wanted to give a list of qualities I try to exude as a feminine woman of God:
    1) I want to be a strong woman with a soft heart (I believe a soft heart is an important part of being feminine)
    2) I may have strong opinions but I speak them softly, with reverence (I believe reverence towards others is an important part of being feminine)
    3) I try to always have a positive attitude (I believe attitude is an important part of being feminine)
    4) Along with the positive attitude I try to smile as much as possible (I believe a smile is what is one of the most attractive/feminine things to a man)
    5) I always try to look my best, whether at home or out in public (especially when others are around me)
    6) I hold my head up high, with confidence in who I am as a woman
    While there may be other qualities (that I cannot think of at the moment) being feminine is a quality that God gave to me as a woman that men can never experience other than being in the presence of a feminine woman. Being a feminine woman allows a man to be strong, not just physically but also in spirit. It allows him the chance to be the protector that he was meant to be. Being feminine allows him the opportunity to flourish as the man of God he is intended to be. I feel I could go on and on with this subject; thank you, April, for talking about this subject.

  2. 1. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?

    She keeps herself well groomed. She is neat and clean. Usually, she wears some make up, but not too much. She keeps her hair styled nicely. She keeps her weight down. I’m not saying she can’t be overweight necessarily. There are many beautiful women who are overweight, but not obese.

    2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?

    She does not wear any clothing that is revealing. She wears pretty tops with slacks or skirts. Or she wears dresses.

    3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like?

    She moves gracefully. Her actions are deliberate. Her posture is straight.

    4. How does a lady speak?

    She does not use foul language. She does not gossip. She does not criticize. She does her best to speak positively and build others up.

    5. How does a feminine woman act?

    She is pleasant to be around. She is the type of person that makes other people feel better when they are in her presence. She listens attentively when other people speak. She smiles a lot. And she does not roll her eyes or sigh.

    6. How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity?

    She is confident. She does not shy away from people. She speaks up. She jumps in when others need help. She is healthy and has energy.

    7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?

    She has a healthy self-esteem, based on her relationship with Jesus.

    8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady?

    Her spouse can be having a bad day, but all the stress melts away when he is with her. Other men respect her and they are polite around her.

    1. Hey! Thank you for the answer. I was looking through them, and I noticed this one specifically! This really stuck out to me, and me being in high school I realized that I don’t follow all of these especially 5, 6, and 7. You really brought these to my attention and I will be paying much more attention to these things(:

      1. somegirl,

        That’s really, really wonderful that you are aware of these things now. Personally, I still need to work on all of them at times!

        That is one of the reasons why I can up with the name blesseddaughterofaking. I wanted to remind myself who I am in Christ.

        Sending you a big hug!! 🙂

  3. When I think about a “lady” I always project an older woman. When I think of it now this can mean that you have to go a journey to become one. Maybe? 😉

    1. She is content, confident and command respect just from their appearance. There is this expression on the face… 🙂

    2. Their clothes are clean and thoughtfully put together. No coincidence in her wardrobe, doesn’t matter what style she chooses.

    3. This one is easy: her back are straight, head held high and she starts her move with front of the foot (I don’t know how it is called, like in dancing or… karate :D).

    4. Gently and with confidence that God is on her side, no harsh words or worse… cursing.

    5. Peacefully I guess? First – think, than act 😛

    6. No idea 0__0 maybe no laughing at or condemning other women for starters… (yeah, I’ve seen this and been there)

    7. She is confident and loves herself.

    8. Good 🙂

  4. blesseddaughterofaking, answered the questions the way I would have so I will add a little of being a lady growing up in the south. Don’t dress like a hussy (words of my mother and many other southern mothers.)Sit properly, cross your legs at the ankles if your dress is on the short side, if it is long you can cross it at the knees. Don’t use a loud voice. Never ever cuss. Don’t take on man jobs, like changing a tire. Let a man do that. Know how to cook and sew well. Know how to balance a cup and saucer on your knee when you go to a shower. (no, I am not kidding) Make sure your children are neat and clean. No kool-aid mouths or uncombed hair. Never drink alcohol. Never smoke. I can’t exactly describe “the look” but southern girls learn how to look up at a man in just the right way that reminds him she is a lady. Think Scarlett O’Hara. 🙂 Most of all treat everyone kindly. Be strong but kind. Stand by your man and smile even when he is doing wrong. (don’t exactly agree with that one)

  5. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?
    well put together, neat and clean.

    2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?
    Clothing styles that are flattering but not revealing. Dowdiness is NOT next to godliness anymore than ostentatious dress, costly jewellery etc, are. Her clothes are not designed to draw attention to personal or more shapely areas of her body, but they do present an overall picture of femininity and attractiveness that is modest, leading the focus to the overall person, not the body. Dresses/skirts with length that allow one to sit down without suddenly showing too much, blouses that do not gape open when bending over or are too low cut so that cleavage is showing. A lady dresses with consideration for kingdom concerns and not just her own concerns.

    3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like? A feminine woman need not engage in silliness of trying to walk in mincing steps nor pretend she is on a runway in paris. It helps to be fit and to walk with erect carriage, with measured, natural steps, not in a rush (unless your toddler just ran into the middle of the road or your horse got out, by all means RUN). A fit woman will have muscle control and balance which produces a natural form of grace. When sitting, she crosses legs at ankle; more protective of her modesty and healthier for her back.

    4. How does a lady speak?
    This is an interesting one to muse on! Most people, esp. us ladies, feel we have to voice everything we think and feel, and air our opinions on everything. A lady however, has inward peace and self control and feels no need to fill every gap with herself, her thoughts and her speech. It’s not that she only speaks when spoken to, like an obedient servant girl. It’s just that she possesses meekness and doesn’t need to speak unless her spirit is stirred. Scripture says that where words abound, sin is not far off. A lady is not garrulous or opinionated, nor dominating in conversation, as she is at rest in her Lord and so doesn’t need to compete or prove something. When she does speak, she speaks what is wise and helpful to her hearers and flows out of compassionate godliness. She does not have a censorious spirit, and is not quick to voice any judgements or criticisms. She avoids profanity, unkind speech. She is not loud and obnoxious, doesn’t bray like a donkey when she laughs but is genuine and sincere.

    5. How does a feminine woman act?
    With kindness and consideration. Her heart should be one that has chosen to turn in the direction of mercy and kindness. It’s so easy to get caught up in reacting to the sin of others instead of remembering that we are supposed to be part of Christ’s mission to save other lost people. She sees for instance, that her sister in law who is rude and obnoxious, is a sinful woman who is reacting to the defilement and loss her sin has brought to her and so begins to pray earnestly and compassionately for her and refuses to take the bait of her offenses. She chooses her friends carefully, choosing those that draw her to greater commitment to Christ and godliness and letting go those who show a commitment to continue in sin. She treats her husband with respect and honor in front of others. She is not unseemly or rude.

    6. How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity? By keeping her focus on Christ and His mission at all times; this takes inward discipline. By being daily in the word and having an appointment with God that is the first priority. By dressing in feminine clothing. By having soft and quiet speech. By practicing hospitality and making her home a place of warmth and welcome. By avoiding any form of violence, not just the more outward extremes like yelling, hitting and swearing but the lesser ones like harsh speech, aggressive attitudes and dominating behaviour. She protects her femininity by remaining inside God’s boundaries and avoids letting the world pull her outside of them – easier said than done but must be diligently guarded.

    7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?
    Like a lady, special, even royal, beautiful and graceful; there is a kind of purity that comes from being where God is at and where He would have you be.

    8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady? I think most men tend to somehow remember what they were created to be; its as if it gives them something to rise up to Not always as some men are given over to evil, but often enough that is worth noting. I was once in a Tim Horton’s with my husband and a few other people and a man came to join us; he kept covertly looking at me although not in a rude way. Finally he commented in my direction how unusual it was to see a woman in a dress! He said it in such a guarded way, as one who had been forced into submission to a new regime but who didn’t like it much and was now making this comment very guardedly in case he got a strip ripped off him. Another man made a similar comment when I was wearing a very elegant dress; he said that it was unusual to see a well dressed woman today.

  6. Some thoughts on classy, feminine women that are good reminders to me. Found in the book by Bob Barnes called “What Makes a Man Feel Loved”…

    “…unmistakeable sense of warnth, caring, and responsiveness. Women who combine self-confidence and an undomitable spirit with a gracious humility and a tender teachability.”

    I liked this next quote too…

    “A woman without serenity seems hardly a woman at all; she is nervous, high-strung, all ‘bent out of shape’ and utterly impatient.”

    I think when we as women respond to our anxieties with deciding to take control of those around us, that’s the opposite of classy femininity. Femininity inspires, instead.

    I also love that when we are walking closely to God, serenity, strength, and confidence are given.

    1. Julie,
      Love this – “a woman without serenity seems hardly a woman at all…” That is how we are in our own flesh. Praise God we can have the beautiful, valuable qualities of a gentle, peaceful spirit when we trust Christ!

  7. I think a truly feminine woman feels humble, puts others and their needs before her own, is thankful for her blessings, even in the midst of suffering, and this spirit of humility and contented thankfulness permeates her life, her appearance and mannter, and her relationships.

  8. Hi April, first, it occurred to me that many of our ideas of femininity are influenced by our culture, or history, and our Western traditions. That’s okay! It just means that we must realize that femininity in America may look a little different than it does in China or South America. Second, I believe Godly femininity has nothing to do with how much money a woman has – how much money she can spend on things that may enhance her femininity – whether those things are for herself or her home. If God has blessed a woman with the funds to spend on makeup or nice furnishings, that’s totally fine! But I truly believe that Godly femininity is a heart condition. (Now, does that mean Godly women aren’t clean and tidy? No. Godly women should honor their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.)

    In every culture, and at every economic level, Godly femininity will look a little different. So what is universal? Women everywhere can know they are loved and redeemed by their Savior, Jesus. They can know they are not alone because they walk with God. Women everywhere, from New Zealand to Norway, can display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Women everywhere can know that their bodies (though fallen) powerfully represent some of God’s amazing characteristics – his generative, creative power, his nurturing, and his ability to bring forth new life.

    1. A Sister in Christ,

      There is certainly a difference between just “femininity” and “godly femininity.” And “femininity” absolutely is affected by culture, traditions, history, etc… That is why “femininity” can be rather subjective.

      We are going to be talking about femininity and then we will discuss godly femininity. Of course, there may be some overlap between the two. I believe there generally is.

      But that is a very important distinction and I appreciate you mentioning it!

      1. Yes, subjective! That’s the word I was looking for :). You mentioned you were going to be conducting the discussion in parts; I should’ve been paying more attention 🙂 I have to quickly mention that I loved seeing Aubrey Hepburn included here because she never had plastic surgery – long after she was young and beautiful she found her value in being a woman, a person, who worked to make the world a better place. She aged gracefully – in the true sense, she was full of grace – and (especially in our world, where the ideals of feminine beauty are just ridiculous) that’s something we can all use help with! 🙂

  9. SisterinChrist, that’s a good observation re the way some of our ideas are culturally derived. My husband and I were talking about womanhood, femininity and godliness one day and realized that there was a difference between what 50’s Americana and the bible displayed as womanhood. The bible says that the Prov. 31 woman “sees that her arms are strong for her task” and that she “considers a field and from her earnings she buys it”. The cultural American and early Victorian version sometimes portrays being feminine as being of limited intelligence, faints easily and helpless. Have to go cause I have company and we are putting hay into the barn right now, but this makes for an interesting thing to explore in the search for the real deal.

    1. Great point: would the Proverbs 31 woman be too brittle to change a tyre on her car? Should she wait for the knight in shining armour to come to her rescue?

      It seems that there are two sides of viewing femininity: one being that it is acceptable for a lady to do manual labour, and the other being that a proper lady is like a china vase that must not be made to do any ‘mens work’ as they are too delicate.
      Just curious about the vast difference between the two views.

  10. 1. She is “put together well” with her hair done, makeup softly applied, sits up straight, dressed in a nice modest dress….”50’s wife poster-child” if you will.

    2. Depends on the task at hand. Housework could be a lot of different things (i.e. shorts, skirt, tank top, etc.). However in public, refer to #1 for a beginning point. A woman should always look her best. The “modern feminist” couldn’t care what she looks like (sweats, “messy bun”, yuck…) but a true virtuous woman wouldn’t want to be seen this way.

    3. She moves gracefully with great confidence. Never slouching, chin up, shoulders back, and always a smile on her lips…even if she’s not in the best mood. Contrary to popular beliefs, you “personal problems” don’t belong on Facebook or the grocery isle. They are between you, your husband, and possibly your Pastor.

    4. A true lady speaks softly, with kindness, love, and care. She thinks before she speaks, and NEVER undermines her husband (around kids, family, friends, etc.).

    5. She acts like a woman and doesn’t see the need to be like a man. Equality is a lie formed by bitter women who want to be manly and “do what they do.” The problem is, women don’t see (mostly) that they ARE equal to men in importance, but not function. There is a BIG difference.’

    6. By showing a quiet, gentle spirit and “looking the part.” Again, soft spoken, good posture, well put together, smiles, etc…

    7. She should feel accomplished by knowing that she’s following God’s design for her and knowing that she is doing all that she can to please her husband and keep a happy home. Real women are so hard to find these days thanks to the “PC” crowd and the “modern feminist.”

    8. As a man married to a true lady, I feel SO happy and respected. My wife is one of the few out there who truly get God’s plan for her. She is the greatest gift He has ever given me…besides my 3 wonderful kids. To my wife: Elise, I love you SOOOOOOO MUCH and I thank you for all that you do for us every single day.

  11. Yes, the tire comment made me bristle as well. I don’t think whether or not you can change a tire makes you feminine or not feminine. My husband expects me to take care of many things, much like the Proverbs 31 lady.

    1. Now you have to understand this is how I was raised here in the south. I am not saying it was right or wrong. A lady could fish, hunt and work like a dog in the garden but not change the tire or the oil. Would I teach my daughter to do these things? Certainty! I wrote my southern lady lessons because I thought it wouldd be interesting to some.

      1. Daisymae,

        I think it is interesting!

        I grew up in the Northern part of the USA. My Daddy had me in the driveway changing a tire when I was 8. 🙂

        But, things are different in the South. It was quite a lot of culture shock to me when I was 14 and we moved to SC.

        I think it is interesting and helpful to examine different cultural concepts of femininity in the US and all over the world.

        Thanks so much to everyone!

      2. daisymae, I hope you didn’t take my comment as an attack. It was certainly interesting and thank you for sharing!
        It really seems like many views of what constitutes femininity is regional. There is a huge divide in western and asian cultures, and even in a country like America there are differences.

        1. Oh no, Jay, I did not take it as an attack at all. 🙂 I answered because I didn’t want anyone to think I was saying that I believed it was all right but more to give a snapshot of femininity that was taught to me.

  12. With such things as changing tires, I believe it’s more about how it’s done. A feminine woman might change that tire without cussing or complaining and graciously accept the help of a male (or female passerby) rather than put up a fight to show how tough she is. And there’s something to be said about that 50’s image in that feminine beauty was seen as valuable, an asset to the culture in its nurturing capacity to both children and men. Truly a woman’s beauty is on par with any great work of art and inspiring, refreshing, organic, brimming with vitality as a life-bearer. The underlying strength, however, can’t be bought. A woman can be dressed up so pretty but her ways and her words will expose her true bearing. Doesn’t scripture warn about gold rings in a pig’s snout? The refinement component of femininity is more than just modeling or etiquette classes. It is an awareness, celebration and discipline of self diligently achieved and evolving with life’s seasons. I love this topic!

  13. 1) a feminine woman is hygienic, clean, tidy. makeup shouldn’t be overdone, some mascara and lipstick works wonders. they have a timeless elegance to them. they should be a good influence to any children in their lives and not lead men into sin.
    2)I think a feminine woman should dress modestly, but in nice, flattering clothes. keeping your purity does not mean sacrificing your grace! always dress like a lady. be modest but elegant is my point.
    3) have a stride of calm, confidence. have good posture and keep it cool and collected at all times.
    4) edifying words. if you feel yourself starting to say something more destructive than constructive, bite your tongue. always practice love, not just through your actions but through your words. let the Lord’s light shine through you, that anyone who hears you knows you are a believer.
    5) a good example would be the Proverbs 31 woman. be submissive to your husband, and a role model to others.
    6)by devoting time with the Lord, and being meek and gentle
    7) a feminine woman loves herself, for she knows she was fearfully and wonderfully made. she doesn’t hate herself or her body, she cherishes that precious gift God has given her
    8) a man is encouraged to follow the Lord. she does not tempt him nor seduce him.

  14. I have been studying this very topic a lot lately. Actually, it is what brought me to your blogs in the first place. 🙂

    1. I believe this has less to do with her clothing, and more to do with her expressions. She has a genuine smile and a warmth that draws people to her. You look at her and automatically feel a kindness and gentleness, just by observing her expressions and body language.

    2. She dresses in modest attire. Her aim is not to draw the attention of a man. Her aim is please her savior. I see her in flowing skirts and soft necklines. She understands the parts of her body that are designed to attract a man, but she does not use that knowledge to her advantage to attract one, rather she uses that knowledge to dress the best for her body type and take extra precaution with those attributes. Each lady will have different attributes that are naturally accentuated.

    3. She moves quickly to her complete her tasks, not wasting time. She might be a bit clumsy at times, but her attitude is graceful. I’d rather take a tumble helping a friend, than ignore her yet never stumble. She doesn’t move provocatively. She stands tall, but with open arms. She doesn’t mind crouching to reach out to a young child. She is turned toward her man (when standing beside).

    4. Her words are kind. They are soft and can be spoken in front of anyone. She does not change her vocabulary based on the company she is with (obviously children will require different words at time, and she can say things to her spouse that she wouldn’t say to another man).

    5. She radiates true joy. She offers grace freely. She does not allow others to disrespect her with crude talk directed toward her. She brings a smile to those who encounter her. She exudes the love of Jesus.

    6. She does not try to compete with the men. It is evident that she loves being a woman. She doesn’t begrudge even the less than pleasant parts of being a woman. She eagerly accepts her role.

    7. She loves being a woman. She knows that God created her for a very specific role. She longs to help and encourage. She knows where her value and worth lie. She knows that she is a dearly loved, passionately pursued, undoubtedly chosen, divinely forgiven, gracefully redeemed daughter of the King!

    8. (Assuming this man is her husband or significant other) He feels strong and encouraged. He feels like a hero. He feels respected :). He feels admired. He feels protective. He feels nurtured and love.
    (Assuming he is a man with no connection to her) He feels protective. He feels respected (different type). He feels masculine and hopefully filtered. 🙂

    I feel like I should ask myself these questions as soon as I wake up every single day! Just thinking about all of these qualities makes me love them more!

  15. I had hoped to get to answer yesterday but I wasn’t able to… but I do want to chime in. I am really excited about this topic and can’t wait to read and learn more.

    1. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?
    She looks elegant. Her clothing fits well. I think of flowy fabrics when I think of a feminine woman… maybe with lace or other feminine details.

    2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?
    With taste. I also think of pretty shoes and some pretty jewelry. She looks altogether lovely but is not overdone. Her makeup is done tastefully to complement her face and features. It doesn’t stand out in a strong manner.

    3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like?
    I think a feminine woman has good posture. She moves gracefully. I also think that a ‘lady’ is very careful of how she bends down. She doesn’t bend from the waist but instead bends her knees to stoop down.

    4. How does a lady speak?
    Properly. She also doesn’t feel the need to speak all the time. She doesn’t feel she must feel every silence with words.

    5. How does a feminine woman act?
    With good manners but more than that, with good character. This is where I think God really comes in… I think of the bible verse “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (paraphrased)… God can clearly be seen in her character.

    6. How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity?
    She enjoys being a girl and all things girly. Though a lady can certainly wear cowgirl boots and enjoy a rodeo, garden, farm or whatever she wishes but will do those things and still dress in a feminine manner!

    7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?
    She is confident and self-assured. She isn’t searching for assurance from her man because she is secure in herself.

    8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady?
    Privileged to be in her presence. I believe that a woman like this is likely to bring out the protective nature of a man. He would want to open doors for her and cater to her simply to make her smile.

    I have to say that all of these are characteristics I aspire to attain! I am not totally there yet but pray God helps me to become more of a lady in each of these ways.

      1. I don’t know much about her in real life either, but all of the characters that I have seen her play have been “whiny and demanding.”

        Jackie Onassis Kennedy would be the first to come to mind!

      2. I LOVE Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews… but I also think of Jackie O- I don’t think she was a good spiritual example but I love her style and I love the grace she seemed to just ooze with… when I am faced with a situation where I am tempted to really loose my cool and show my temper or agitation, I remind myself to ‘put on my Jackie O hat’ and it helps. Just another person I find inspiring. 🙂

        1. A Fellow Wife,
          True, these ladies may not be godly examples. That is a very important point! They look and act feminine and graceful.

          We will need to find some godly examples for when we talk about godly femininity! We can’t see what Mary (the mother of Jesus) looked like or hear her tone of voice or see her mannerisms. But, I believe she was a very godly example of femininity. Hmmm.. who is someone that we could know about in recent history who might be an example of godly femininity?

          1. Corrie ten Boom is my ideal of a Godly feminine lady. She is who I hold up as my role model.

            I believe it to be as simple as loving God with all your heart and mind, everything else will be added to that.

  16. It’s difficult to buy affordable clothes that look nice when you are trying to lose weight. Any suggestions from the women who have had success looking nice while overweight. I always feel frumpy and self-conscious. I want to be all these things mentioned on here, but please tell me where
    and how to start!
    Love this thread!!!

    1. PLM,

      I have lost a significant amount of weight. Think 85 pounds!

      Long skirts have been my friend! You can buy them a little fitted and usually have about a 20-25 pound range that you can go down. Also, shirts such as turtle necks can look cute belted after that are a little loose. Jackets are also a great staple as they have about a 20-25 pound wearable range.

      Good luck on your weight loss!!! It is so hard, but so rewarding! I did it the old-fashioned way with eating healthy and exercising. Remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate the small successes, or it can be over-whelming. Praying for you and let me know if you need any encouragement!!!

      – LA

    2. This isn’t so much advice for clothing when losing weight but just in general…. I try to buy very versatile pieces… such as a skirt in black and a skirt in khaki. Those can be mixed and matched.

      I have had my struggles with weight… my weight fluctuates so I try to buy clothing that will fit me if I am 5 pounds less or 5 pounds more, or 10 either way.

      Wishing you the best!

      And I too LOVE this thread and topic!

    3. I totally agree with the suggestion of long skirts. I like cotton ones that are comfty. I pair them with a cotton knit shirt. When I have extra weight on me, I find pants dont fit well and look frumpy. I never spend a lot on clothes and I feel I look neat and feminine.

  17. Oh boy. So what have we learned from this? That I am not a lady. Oh my, I have a loooooong way to go. Thanking God right now that my husband loves me for who I am.

    I do have good hygiene and I usually take the time to style my hair. According to these comments, that’s about all I’ve got going for me. I guess I need to reexamine who I am.

    I would LOVE to dress more fashionably, but I have no fashion sense. I am one of the few women who HATES shopping! With a passion! I’d rather go to the dentist. Seriously. If I had a friend who would help me dress fashionably, I’d love that. I’m happy if I match! 🙂

    Several commenters feel a true lady is thin, and that is something I need to work very hard to even get close to. I hover around a size 10, and I have had to make peace with that. I will never been that elusive size four, lady or not.

    Alas, self confidence. I am struggling to learn to be self confident. To me, self confidence has always meant snobbery, or thinking you are the best in the room. I am not comfortable with that. I am still trying to figure out what it means to be confident in yourself through Christ.

    And soft spoken, I am not! I do speak properly, but should we automatically judge those who were not raised to speak properly? I know a couple ladies who are lovely, but do not always use proper English. It is simply from their upbringing. I know a “proper” lady speaks properly, but I’m not going to discount someone just because they ended their sentence with a preposition.

    I’m not loud, but I’m not meek and gentle, either. In my region of the country, being too meek can be dangerous! 🙂 I’m also a director, and if I were meek and soft spoken I would get steamrolled by very strong personalities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying women should run around being loud and bossy, by no means, but I also disagree that a lady simply smiles and nods.

    Perhaps my comment seems unladylike, but sometimes I do my best thinking by talking things out. I will be rereading this and working to become more ladylike. I will also be praying for God to show me who He wants me to be, and for me to be willing to listen.

    1. Becca,

      I’m glad you are seeing some of the good points you have! And, I think it is interesting to contemplate this topic.

      I don’t think a lady has to be a certain size. However, a size 10 is a beautiful size! You do know that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, right?

      The thing I think that is more important than the exact size is how she feels about herself and how she projects herself – posture, carriage, etc…

      Self confidence – as I believe most women here are defining it – is feeling comfortable in their own skin and being confident in Christ and in their identity in Him and as women. That is NOT snobbery. What you are describing is arrogance. That is extremely unbecoming. I agree.

      There is room for variance – and this general topic of “femininity” is rather subjective. I end some of my sentences purposely with a preposition just so that I don’t come across as snobby! Yep. I learned in pharmacy school that using really large words with our patients can be off-putting and confusing. So, instead of using the scientifically correct words for things, I sometimes use the common words. Then there is no misunderstanding! And, when I write, I sometimes purposely write in a way that is not completely “proper English” even though I am aware of how to write properly – just to be more approachable. I think there is room for that, too. 🙂

      The definition of meek is “bridled strength” or “strength under control.” It is the picture of a stallion who has been broken and who has a bridle and whose rider can steer him and use his power to accomplish the purposes of the rider. In our case, our will is broken and we are under the control of the Holy Spirit because we belong to Him and we allow Him to have full access to all of our strength. That doesn’t mean a lady only smiles and nods and cannot disagree.

      In fact, a lady can gently, respectfully, softly yet firmly disagree and speak much more effectively and persuasively than a woman who is screaming and cussing. Have you ever witnessed that? I have! It is amazing. 🙂

      Being “ladylike” is not a commandment in Scripture. Don’t worry! Being godly is. We will be talking more about that. I think it is really neat to talk about this subject together and brainstorm together about what femininity might be and might not be and how it may look different for different women and in different areas.

      Much love!

      1. Hi April,

        Thanks for clearing up the definition of meek. I always thought meek meant shy, quiet, reserved and having a tiny voice. That is what I picture when someone says “meek.” I like your definition and I’m going to study on the meaning of meek further. It certainly changes my understanding of Matthew 5:5.

        Still have to work on the posture. Because I have been tall since the 8th grade, and constantly made fun of by my sister and other tiny girls, I developed the terrible habit of slouching. I tried so hard for so long to make myself “tiny”. Of course as an adult I have learned to stand straighter, but I will often pass a mirror and see myself too slouched. I hate it and need to become more conscious of standing tall. Perhaps that’s a goal I will work towards. Baby steps!

        Thank you for the encouragement!

        1. Becca,

          Meekness is powerful!!! In a godly way. Jesus Himself was very meek. But He was no wimp. And He was not “nice” or a doormat. He spoke truth forcefully when necessary. He spoke in love. He did not water things down. He knew when to apply strength and how much to apply in each given situation.

          It’s funny to me that very petite women want to be taller so often and taller women want to be shorter. Tall is very beautiful! You can stand tall and be confident in your femininity. That is totally fine to enjoy the blessing of being a woman and to carry yourself with dignity, grace and poise. You can do that AND be truly humble, understanding who God is and who you are and how tiny you are compared to Him. 🙂

        2. Becca

          I just want to offer you a bit of encouragement. I certainly believe we can work to become more ladylike… years ago, I spoke harshly, aggressively and cursed as much as any man- this was before I got saved… the first thing to go was the cursing of course and God has slowly worked in my heart with the other issues over the years….

          I think you can certainly be strong and be a lady… but you don’t feel the need to flaunt it if you are a lady… you know you are strong within yourself. I believe women of God are very strong!

          As far as slouching- it is something I struggle with constantly. I have honestly even developed health problems because of it. So I am working on this right along with you.

          I think being feminine and ladylike is a refining process. 🙂 Not a you are or you aren’t thing.

  18. Yay, got some free time. 🙂

    1. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?
    She keeps herself fit and attractive, anywhere between a UK side 4 and 16, much bigger or smaller can affect the natural curves of her hips and bust, making her still *pretty* but not quite so *feminine*. Hair can be styled almost any way, but boyish haircuts, shaved patches or “patterned” dying (“hair tattoos”) are best avoided for most. Tats and piercings in Western society have started to mean very little, but I’d still avoid anything but earrings. Cultural extras (like nose-rings in desi girls) are of course acceptable as every culture defines femininity slightly differently.

    2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?
    Skirts and dresses are the most feminine items that can be worn, however well-cut jeans or shorts can also look nice (especially on young, single women). I’m quite modest, but I believe that either legs, bum or breasts should be on show and that something tight-fitting enough counts as “show”. So a tight blouse combined with a long-loose skirt is good, as are tight jeans and a loose shirt, or loose shorts and a frilled blouse. But shorts and a tight-shirt are attention-seeking and tight shorts with a visible bust feels inexcusable unless it’s very warm or its just myself and Jon.

    Frills, lace and ribbons add a lovely accent, but no more than a bit of two on one item of clothing. Too much can look trashy. Jewellery likewise. A few simple pieces or one statement piece can enhance femininity.

    Colours are awkward. For bold colours:
    Black is either severe or attention-grabbing, as well as slimming. For work it looks stern, for a night out elegant and for a woman with already slim legs, arms of waist it can further enhance her figure.
    White is light and clean. For work it looks easy-going, for a night out equally elegant and it can draw attention to finer features.
    Red is sensual and attention-grabbing. For work it looks playful, for a night out somewhere between elegant and sexy. It draws immediate attention to your best assets and frames pale-skinned bodies especially well.
    Blue is inviting and easy-going. For work it suggests peacefulness, for a night out happiness and it smooths everything over.
    Green is warm and inviting. For work is suggests kindness and happiness, for a night out openmindedness and it draws attention whilst still looking soft.
    Yellow is energetic and attention-grabbing. For work it suggests individuality, for a night out fun and excitement and it makes everything look like you’re “on display”.
    Pinks and purples are naturally feminine, but pink looks more young and purple looks more mature.

    Plain pastels can look infantile whereas powder pastels often look more delicate and feminine. Dark colours all over looks older, but a bit of dark colour can suggest maturity. Beiges and browns can look dowdy or, when paired with brighter, softer colours and youthful jewellery, look just modest.

    3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like?
    I’m dreadful with this one. I may have an actual problem or I may just be clumsy, but my coordination and balance are rubbish. :p Movements should be gentle, smooth, like a well-oiled machine. Steps and hand gestures small and determined, rather than broad or shy. Like your feet belong on the ground, like every step is stable (even in heels!), like every hand gesture is intentional and subtle. Graceful, slight and smooth movements are perfectly feminine.

    Her back should be straight. Wearing lower heels can turn that pelvic tilt from “alluring female in heat” to “sensual but reserved woman”. Her arms by her side when not using them, never in her pockets or folded. Hands on hips signals impatience and anger, so combined with a gentle expression can be a good disciplinary pose, though we should rarely need to use it. Hands behind the back are an acceptable standing alternative for a younger woman. If you feel awkward, keep your hands busy with a bag, make-up, a book, a paper or a gadget. But hands in pockets or folded roughens your outline and looks less feminine.

    4. How does a lady speak?
    No swearing. No shouting. No shrieking. No religious blasphemy of any kind. No bluntness except where absolute clarity is essential (“Sorry, but I’m really not looking for a date today.”). Rudeness best avoided if possible, but people are easily offended, so don’t sweat it too much. Speak only when you’re sure of what you want to say. Consider counter-points before entering an argument. Keep quiet when you’re unsure of what you’re talking about.

    5. How does a feminine woman act?
    Carefully, deliberately, having thought all through as best she can with the time she has. Asks for advice when she isn’t sure, hands over responsibility when she’s overwhelmed or confused. Takes control when others are overwhelmed or confused.

    6. How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity?
    She never bad-mouths feminine women or women who don’t represent her idea of femininity. She never insults masculine men. She keeps comments on anti-feminine women and anti-masculine men polite and understanding, even if she abhors them. She encourages feminine virtues in girls and young ladies around her. She keeps her house beautiful as well as her car and her clothes. She is not afraid to admit to her more feminine hobbies and defends herself when an anti-feminine feminist insults her.

    7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?
    She is comfortable and at ease with her nature. She may have slip-ups, personal flaws or lapses where her femininity is compromised. She may not be able to prioritize it at all times. But all in all she values what she has, what it does for others and what it can get for her.

    8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady?
    I hope that most men feel inclined to protect and care for her. That they view her grace, nurturing, kindness and respect as reciprocation for their politeness, gentility and respect. That when a feminine woman walks by they appreciate her as a woman, that when she does good by them they do good by her, that when she displays such femininity they feel motivated to be the best, most masculine men they can be.

    It saddens me a little how jaded so many men have become, even outside the manosphere, but I understand why and understand that most women aren’t deserving of masculine men any more. All I can hope for is that even such a jaded man can see a feminine woman as a flower in a weed-patch and still appreciate her.

  19. Can a women become this if she hasn’t been? Lol. Does that question even make sense? Are there success stories to share? I’m loud sometimes ( in a good way, occasionally bad ha!). I’m learning to zip my lips. I’m a little shy. I’m learning silence is ok, even awkward silence. I question if I could ever be a classy, famine lady after all these years. I’m just average. But, it hurts when I have a girly girl daughter and people ask where she gets that from. :(.
    I just hide because I haven’t cared for my body. I wear little make up, do my hair, try to dress casual and up when I can.
    I wear jewelry occasionally.

    1. PLM,
      Not everyone feels naturally “feminine.” I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t feel feminine at all until I began to study godly femininity and God’s design for marriage and began to change some things. I grew up as the tom boy and my twin sister was the girly one. I was my Daddy’s “son” until my little brother, who is 7 years younger than I am, was able to replace me when he was about 3. I never had a feminine figure. I never felt graceful growing up. I didn’t even hardly classify myself as a “girl” in my mind because I related more to my dad and to guys. I had many more guy friends in high school than girl friends. I was awful at ballet and gymnastics in 3rd grade. I have sloppy handwriting – not beautiful, flowing, feminine handwriting. I wore jeans and a t-shirt almost every day. I wore dresses for church, but that was usually about it. I never thought anything about clothes or what they looked like or what other people were wearing. I didn’t like shopping.

      It wasn’t until I began to study godly femininity in 2009 – and that happened to be the same time my little girl was about 2 years old and began wanting to watch princess movies – that I even thought about what femininity meant and whether I could be feminine. I noticed the gowns that the princesses wore in in Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and realized, “It wouldn’t be the same if they were wearing jeans and a t-shirt every day like I do! Hmmm.. maybe clothing choices actually make a lot more of a statement about what I am projecting about myself than I ever thought.” And I began to examine what I wanted to project about femininity to my daughter, and my son – and to my husband!

      In March of 2009, I was reading a book about femininity – not godly femininity – just femininity. And the woman challenged her readers to wear skirts/dresses every day for a week to see how they felt. She said something like if a woman dresses and acts in a very feminine way, it makes her husband feel more masculine. I laughed about it and read that to Greg and said it seemed so dumb. He said, “Well, do you feel differently when you wear skirts/dresses?” I said, “No!” But, I decided to try it. It was my first week at a new job, so no one would realize that I suddenly switched to all skirts. I was really surprised how different I felt that week. And ever since then, I have been wearing skirts/dresses. I love it! I also grew my hair long again because I knew Greg loved it that way. It does make me feel more feminine, too.

      As I learned about how masculinity represents God and His character – His strength, His size, His stability, His power, His love, His tenderness, His grace… and how femininity represents the Church and her character – her adoration, her reverence, her submission, her cooperation, her admiration, her joyful willingness to follow, her openness to Christ, her receptivity, her weakness, her “smallness” – I was in awe of God’s design.

      I don’t know that people would look at me and say that I am the most feminine woman ever. It’s ok if they don’t. My goal is not to please people. I don’t wear jewelry. I am allergic to all earrings now – well, maybe platinum would work? I haven’t tried that and it doesn’t seem worth it to me to go to that expense to try it. Necklaces and bracelets are too scratchy and fussy for me. I am allergic to the sun now, so I have to wear long sleeves all year round and gloves every day and now I have to wear hats every day because my neck and jaw will break out in itchy whelps if I don’t. I have to say that the gloves and the right hat do make me feel more feminine, along with the skirts.

      I FEEL feminine and embrace and cherish the gift of my femininity now in ways I never could earlier in my life. We can all learn to do that! 🙂 The next post will be about godly femininity. That is the most important part of femininity. The other stuff is more subjective. But yes, we can learn to allow God to shape our character and our speech, and we can learn to savor this incredibly valuable gift of womanhood. 🙂

      Much love!

    2. Have you ever heard of a show called Ladette to Lady? A ‘reality’ show that follows a collection of misbehaving young women who go to a finishing school and learn how to become ladies. It showed that if you truly wish to become more ladylike, it can be done.

  20. I’m wondering if we are thinking about the wrong questions here.

    I think there is a spectrum from feminine to masculine and everyone falls somewhere along that line. I also feel that being “feminine” or “masculine” is more of a sense of internal self than outward appearance. For example: I have big feet. Nothing I can do about it. I don’t wear make-up. I compete in obstacle races like the Warrior Dash and have run a marathon. I go to the gym and do “body pump” and still feel like a woman. I don’t fuss with my hair much and really could care less about purses and clothes. I have seen women look stunning in jeans. I do dress up at times and feel great, but this is usually when I am in good health and feel in shape. It is more of a mental thing for me.

    Sometimes I feel like women have fallen victim to marketing. Spending $200 on a purse? Spending an hour putting on makeup and straightening my hair? Manicures? I keep my nails short because long nails bother me. The money and time women spend on these things really adds up.

    I think about the pioneer women who wore skirts and hitched them up to plow fields. I think of other women who gave birth in their home without medical help and then got up the next day to cook and clean or work in the fields. I think of mother teresa. She stood up to priests to minister to the poor and sick. These women are what I think is the essence of being a woman. I think of how I feel as a mother and wife. The love for my children and my desire to nurture them makes me feel feminine. I think being feminine has an inner strength at its core.

    I think women need to respect themselves and wear clean well fitting clothes that are not revealing. But that goes for men too. Also it is never flattering to be gossipy or angry in public for either sex.

    Men can lift more and have the physical strength. I respect that and find that extremely attractive. But I think women are given the gift of inner strength. I have realized that submitting to my husband takes inner strength. I don’t submit from a place of weakness, but from self control and putting others before myself.

    I just saw a photo of Joan Lunden on the cover of people magazine with a bald head due to cancer treatments. She is trying to make it easer for other women. Hair, clothes or makeup do not make a woman.

    1. Amy,

      We will be talking about godly femininity Thursday. So – you are doing a great job leading into that!

      But, I completely agree that the externals are not what ultimate makes a woman feminine. They are interesting things to think about. When I was growing up – I never thought about any of it. And I wish I had thought more about some aspects of the externals of femininity. I think I could have felt more feminine if I had.

      But being feminine does not mean we must be materialistic, selfish, greedy or vain. THANKFULLY!

      I don’t spend more than about $15 on a purse, seems like a big waste of $ to me to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse. And I don’t ever do manicures – I keep my nails short – much easier to type! I don’t spend tons of time on makeup or hair. These things can definitely become way too important. I’m glad you mentioned that!

      I love your examples of the essence of being a woman. 🙂 And I love talking about the inner strength God can give us as women. Exactly! a godly women who lives out a live of obedience to Christ and honors and submits to her husband does so from a great source of inner strength in Christ.

      I saw that picture of Joan Lunden, too. I thought it was beautiful!

      I am so glad you shared! You added much to the discussion!

      1. I don’t really know. I guess it is easy to criticize but hard to find the solution. Maybe questions that focus on how it feels to be feminine during an argument or on a night out with my husband? How about what I want my daughter to feel about being feminine? For me it is more a state of mind than what I wear. I can feel feminine in camping clothes if I am on a camping trip with my husband. I have also felt the opposite at a family gathering when I was dressed up but did not act like a lady. I agree that I don’t feel good when I wear old baggy clothes, but I do go to the gym a lot and sometimes will run to the store on my way home. I do feel feminine when I do yoga. When my body is in shape and I am eating healthy foods I feel sexy and attractive. Maybe this is different for everyone. I think whatever works for you is OK.

        1. Amy,

          What an interesting question – what it means to feel feminine during an argument. I think I may need to do a post on that one!

          If you would like to elaborate on how you feel feminine during an argument, or on a night out with your husband, I would love to hear about it! And I would also love to hear what you want your daughter to feel about being feminine. I actually wrote a post about that a long time ago. 🙂

          And I agree that it is much more about internal attitude than about the externals. Although, I think that we can choose to use externals to help us focus on and appreciate our femininity at times. But they are certainly a secondary thing. 🙂

          Much love to you!

          1. A Fellow Wife,

            Wouldn’t it though?

            Ladies,

            How do you feel feminine during an argument/conflict?

            I am thinking of a passage from a book by marriage therapist, Bob Grant, that addresses this – A Fellow Wife – you may remember it!

            How do you feel feminine when you are with your husband?

            What does it mean to feel feminine?

    2. I can relate! I think its the most absurd silliness to spend 100 bucks or more on a purse! Talk about being a fashion victim, to be willing to be fleeced for a C Note for a purse just because its got some rhinestones or a designer name on it. I keep my nails short because I am not going to be spending lots of time filing them and having to clean under them with a sharp instrument which hurts, I type and I work with horses, and besides, if you happened to scratch your nose you’d give yourself a lobotomy! Some of us are outdoor girls.

  21. While I enjoyed reading all the comments here, I especially loved those that put emphasis on the qualities that have not so much to do with a certain “look” or “style” but on the intent behind it. As a tall, athletically built (not overweight, but naturally fairly muscular) woman, I can relate to not always feeling that I look the part of the feminine lady. For some reason I associate “petite” with physically feminine, and that is most certainly not me. Growing up it was always hard to feel graceful when I was towering over almost all my female friends and many guys as well. I actually went to a college that required me to have (VERY) short hair, wear a uniform (that was the exact same as the guys’ uniform), march the same way and do all the same activities as the guys, and was mistaken for a male several times while in uniform out in public. Talk about feeling un-feminine (and humiliated)!! So imagine my surprise when over the past few years I have heard from a few male classmates of mine that they always appreciated how feminine I was throughout that time. I am honestly not sure what they saw that caused them to think that! All the while, I felt and thought I must have seemed the exact opposite. This reinforces what we all know, that while what is considered visually feminine is real and has importance, it is not nearly as important as our actions and heart.

    So with that said, I (like amy, whose response I loved) have a difficult time answering these particular questions. Now that I have the choice to wear my hair and clothes in the style that I choose, I definitely tend towards making sure it is clear that I am a female!  While I love working out, lifting weights and being strong and in shape, I also enjoy feeling pretty (with some makeup and minimal jewelry), wearing my hair long and having “a good hair day”, finding pretty, nice clothes that fit me well in colors that are flattering, etc. But I personally struggle with the temptation to focus more on the outward, physical appearance of femininity (i.e., that petite-ness that I will never have, and trying to combat that with hair/clothes/makeup). I think that Debbie H and blesseddaughterofaking nailed all the answers I would have liked to have written in response to these questions, and I love the reminders that are sprinkled throughout everyone’s answers that grace, kindness, peacefulness and compassion for others can (and should) be exhibited through our posture, clothing, voice and actions as well as being our heart’s attitude!

    1. Carol,
      I love this!!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I can relate to not feeling feminine in appearance. I had a child ask me if i was a man when I was VERY pregnant one time in a public restroom. My hair was pretty short. That was humiliating!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

      All,

      I love this discussion so much! A big thank you to EACH of you!

  22. ButI was reading a part of an old ettiquite book from the early 1900s, the way she said a women should dress was profound to me. You should dress so that no one remembers what you were wearing. This means neither overdone, nor under. To have neat clothing that looks nice, and fits well, but didn’t call extra attention to you. This just sounded so humble to me, which is a huge party of being feminine. It seems to me that most women either dress to be noticed, or like they don’t care, i have found myself on both sides. This really changed the way i thought about dressing (though dressing feminine at all is bound to call a bit of attention in this day and age.)
    i think being feminine is at least as much about attitude as it is about the outer appearance. I find women can look feminine at any size (within reason) but posture and how they carry themselves is important, as well as being neat and well kept.
    I struggle with this. I have a desire to be more feminine, and have started to wear more dresses, but still feel like a mess most of the time. I have awful posture, and have been trying to fix it, but have no idea how. If anyone has improved this i would love advice. I also have troubles being neat and tidy. Being at home all day cooking, cleaning, and schooling 4 young children doesn’t leave a lot of room for self care. But i know i need to figure it out. I’m really looking forward to the ready of your series.

    1. Sarah,

      That is really fascinating about the book from the early 1900s. It reminds me of my favorite definition of modesty which is “humility in clothing.”

      I love that idea that we are not dressing in a sloppy careless way. Which I used to definitely do. And we are not dressing to draw attention to ourselves, wearing extravagant and extremely over the top clothing. I love the idea of dressing in a beautiful, classy, feminine way. Of course, that looks different on different women and body styles.

      It is true that wearing skirts, especially longer skirts or modest dresses or flowing pants will make us stand out a bit these days. And these things can be hard to find!

      I was at Wal-Mart a few months ago and noticed three teenage sisters. All are wearing beautiful long skirts. They definitely stood out. They had gorgeous long hair. They were not drawing attention to themselves, just shopping together. But they really struck me as very feminine, beautiful and modest.

      I am excited that our little girl has decided she wants to wear more skirts. For awhile, she was not excited about that at all. But, it is neat to watch her develop her own sense of style and femininity. My mom didn’t focus on external appearance at all. That is fine. I don’t criticize her. She wore the same pants and T-shirts for 20 years. She didn’t talk about femininity. And I had no sense of what it meant to be feminine or to feel feminine. I am praying God will help me portray godly femininity to our daughter (and son) and that she might embrace this beautiful gift much earlier than I did!

      Posture is difficult. Everything we do makes our posture worse at work, leaning over a computer or counter, picking up babies, cleaning, doing chores… It takes exercise that strengthens the core muscles and a conscious practicing of good posture, and sometimes some help from a chiropractor!! The posture thing is a battle for all of us, I believe. I don’t think it comes naturally. We must focus on it.

      Schooling four young children would make it very difficult to prioritize time for yourself or much attention to dress. For me, I often wear solid colored t shirts on top, the crew necklines are modest, then a colorful skirt on bottom. It is as easy as wearing jeans used to be. In the winter, I wear boots. In the summer, flip flops. If you have young children, washable fabrics are a must, in my book!

      Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  23. What about colors? I have dark skin, and I love bright colors like yellow, orange and red. Would it be considered immodest or attention seeking if I wear a well-fitting pretty red dress?

    1. Renee,

      I have a post about modesty here. But ultimate, modesty is something that is between you and God. It is an issue of the heart – seeking not to draw attention to your body, but to Christ. I don’t endorse specific “rules” about modesty – but rather – seek that we might not put a stumbling block before our brothers. If a dress is very tight or clingy or reveals a lot of skin – that would be something to reserve for your husband to enjoy in private. You can certainly ask your husband what his opinion is – or, if you are single – your dad or trusted older brother. Or if you have a godly mentoring wife, you could ask her.

      But, it is also something you can pray about. Ask God to help you see your true motives. Why do you want to wear the dress? Do you want to draw the attention of men (who are not your husband) to your body? What is your purpose? Will this dress bring glory to God? Will it be a temptation to men?

      Much love to you!

  24. To be honest I am not very feminine at all. I don’t dress manly or anything, I am just not a very feminine young woman. I have always been uncomfortable being feminine and dressing feminine for some reason.

  25. I’m REALLY preoccupied right now but I’m gonna jump all over this one when I get the chance, and get on those questions. 🙂

    I have super love for this and want to see women find their genuine, God-given beauty so much, and take a personal pride in their potential to do SO much good in the world!

    God made no mistakes when he put Eve together (just like he didn’t with Adam). 😀

      1. I want to write more and see if I can keep doing a better job at this, but here’s my try for now at your questions:

        1. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?

        Unthreatening. This is truly the number one theme, with a warmth and awareness toward people. My experience is that many or most women look at someone and smile–communicating a very feminine social awareness.

        2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?

        I don’t think I know about this one.

        3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like?

        I think she doesn’t make “sudden” movements. There’s an acceleration and deceleration in her movements that gives her that “graceful” manner–not especially weak or fragile, but a destination of softness in her movements. I think posture is kind of communicative, not “slouching.” But I get an image in my mind of women leaning forward in eager attention to people. 🙂

        4. How does a lady speak?

        Highly reluctant to raise her voice or speak with a sharpness or sternness. She speaks her mind! But in a way that is entirely gracious and not commanding. She speaks her needs, with urgency and vulnerability, but not laced with a guilt trip. Understated mannerisms can be very powerful on others–counter-intuitive as that may seem. 🙂

        5. How does a feminine woman act?

        “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” I think this might be a woman’s challenge, to be busy and active but a major responder, non-aggressive but durable. Femininity is not “delicate” in my opinion–graceful, not delicate and fragile. (I think men can have sort of the same challenge, growing stronger without becoming an insensitive brute). She likes being helpful. Very conscious of others’ feelings.

        6. How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity?

        One of the most important things about this is a high esteem and comfort for masculinity; an eagerness to see that succeed, a tolerance for the “rough around the edges,” a woman’s soft, non-aggressive “durability.” She has her own, personal sense of duty, and considers her role important (without an arrogance or snobbishness of course). She has a feminine sense of honor about her role as a woman, a love for the “job” God gave her according to her gifts.

        7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?

        She’s happy!!! 😀 She wants to find a personal fulfillment in how God made her and aims for that bar, not comparing herself to other women or chasing a vain worldly standard, but is so happy with what God put in her. Not every woman (or man, or anyone) can be the “greatest” in any way, but we can be the greatest at who we are and no one can compete with that!

        8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady?

        There are so many things I can say. They’re so comforting and have such a way of giving attention. it can cause a feeling of comfort and you can feel your personhood being reflected back at you, helping you see the best in yourself.

        I think a decent man knows he’s around a masterpiece, like a painting at a museum–something beautiful and precious that he doesn’t want to damage.

        A feminine woman is like a cheerleader, and you can feel the focus on your good traits, a longing to see you fulfilled, a sadness when you don’t get to your potential. It gives a guy energy, and–without a fear of masculinity–she loves the sight of masculine energy.

        Her understated mannerisms of slightness can put everyone around her at ease, and “at home.” The opposite of a warzone. 🙂

        If a woman needs help, and trusts a man with her needs (and I mean even very tiny thiangs, like carrying something for her) a decent man will love to help her if he can!

        ———-

        I’m going to copy/paste a snippet from a blog post that you’ve seen before–in case it doesn’t “go without saying,” feel free to trim my post here however you see fit:

        here is my simplistic, two-pronged description of the benefits of femininity within community–trite as can be! 😉

        The cheerleader: She sees the good in others, and desires to amplify those good qualities. Her desire for the success in others is absolutely sincere, and loves to study intensely the unique path of success per individual–the unique strength, and the unique path that that person must conquer in whatever form. The expert cheerleader can see the strengths of others even as those strengths are but seeds, not yet even developed. In all that she does, she stimulates the desire in others to be useful, and the recipient of her blessings cannot wait to apply himself/herself and put his/her strengths to use for maximum effect in the world. The good cheerleader is not a coward who simply seeks out those who look the strongest to tag along but takes the side of the team who is truly in the right.

        The nurse: She sees the flaws in others. The elements of a person that are weak, hurt, even sinful, but responds every time with a heart of gentle mercy, out of a desire to achieve healing on every single level. While the cheerleader brings out the beauty and effectiveness of an individual after seeking out the good, the nurse seeks out the flaws and the damage. She is a healing messenger that assures that all who hurt are worth healing. The nurse may not be quite like the surgeon and take on the more massive issues that afflict a person, but she is determined to care for every scratch, every bruise, and every source of discomfort–a HUGE number of details she studies to seek bringing those she blesses to a state of absolute comfort, whereupon the cheerleader dovetails with this healing and restores them to full effectiveness.

        On the masculine end, benefits abound. Apart from the obvious, oftentimes what we find is that we, as men, are required for our strength at the same time–it can be such a tremendous blessing to get our minds off of ourselves and be a service to women; chances are, the cheerleader and nurse is not without her own needs.

          1. Great! I am so happy because they are wonderful thoughts and I love ladies. 🙂

            Hey I had a comment to expand–if it’s necessary–on something I said.

            I see that many women think about how to get beautiful–the biggest thing is getting thin. Maybe they have their ways of putting on makeup.

            I like to challenge my body. I like to workout and lift, and I’m into that scene.

            I’m 5’9″, not the tallest guy, kind of big-boned. When I “work on myself,” I’m mostly concerned about achieving MY potential, seeing what I can be. I doubt I’ll ever be able to lift a thousand pounds 🙁 But that’s okay! I want to see what I can do!

            I pray women can feel that way about themselves too, just like men; find out how to nurture the unique and special person to the perfection that they can, not out of yearning to compete, but to be the best at being themselves that no one can compete with them at being.

            That might entail trying to get thin and healthy–of course. Physically, mentally, getting to that place is our own unique journey, man or woman. 🙂

            Comment on #3: “leaning forward to give attention” and “leaning backwards to give you space.” The former is her active attention and observation, the latter is NOT to be analytical but attentive! She can move forward to be helpful, but also knows when to give space.

            If you don’t mind, I might make more comments as I think of them.

          2. I had a thought on something BIG I am really trying to articulate about femininity.

            The lack of fear of masculinity!

            An anecdote I’ve shared before. I was at the gym lifting HEAVY and INTENSE. As you know weightlifting increases testosterone, and I love being in that “zone.”

            That zone is where I’m just driven toward a target and objective. It is incredibly IMPERSONAL, where the social element is totally gone–like you don’t “feel” people, not that you’re unaware of their existence or about to hurt them, but you’re just not connecting socially to anything because you’re so driven toward your goal.

            I was storming through the gym on my way to another exercise on the opposite end of the place. This is not “anger,” mind you, but extreme aggression.

            And I walked past this pregnant woman. Again, in that state, I only note people for their presence but do not connect to them.

            But she gave me this incredibly warm and gentle smile–so unusual but had such a sincerity about it. I kept moving past her but I was absolutely blindsided.

            With so many women afraid of masculine aggression (probably associating it with violence or destruction, and/or a crudeness that they show distaste for, the impact of it, I think, is seeing a feminine woman like that completely undisturbed by masculinity; quite the opposite of disturbed.

            So many men do not want to hurt women. But when women feel like men are scary and crude, unfortunately I believe men respond to that by emasculating themselves–for her sake, and out of his desire to be good. I think it happens very large scale.

            So that comfort with masculinity, I believe, is one of the most important aspects of femininity. Eve was made as Adam’s helper, and Adam needs to storm ahead at his goal and his objectives, and a helper that is not only not afraid of his aggression and intensity but is comfortable with it and esteems that part of him is something that says she LOVES who SHE is, designed to be his responder and helper! 🙂

          3. JC,
            Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your mindset and the way that this woman’s smile impacted you. That is powerful information!

            I like that, a feminine woman is comfortable around masculinity. I would even add that she admires and appreciates masculinity – cherishing the differences between masculinity and femininity. She doesn’t feel she has to compete with men. She can admire them for who they are without trying to change them.

            Aggression is an important part of masculinity. Not aggression against women or a man’ family, but properly channeled aggression is part of being a man and reflects part of God’s nature, as well. Masculinity has that amazing combination of love, grace, mercy, power and strength. That strength and love combination is so beautiful and mysterious.

            I also like that picture of leaning forward to give attention but also knowing when to lean back to give space.

            Thanks!

  26. If we are talking about fictional characters as examples I want to suggest Camille Braverman on the show Parenthood. She seems to be a good mix of strength and femininity.

    Also I think of Scarlett O’Hara as a perfect example of someone who is the classic outwardly feminine model (her dress and public appearance) but the complete opposite on the inside.

    Also the example of the mother on Little House…she stood up to people when she had to. Caroline was no pushover, but she often said “Whatever you think is best Charles!”

    I like to watch a lot of the movies from the Cary Grant era. What strikes me is how the leading man is usually attracted to the girl with “spunk” who is feminine in appearance but believes in herself. She usually has an inner strength. I think it is that combination of strength and vulnerability that makes a woman. These women could tame a wild horse, but not open a pickle jar when a man was around. (I just made that up as an example) I think it is that enigma that keeps men so attracted to women.

    It is really interesting to me to watch these movies now as I think about some of your posts April. I really believe that being feminine is mainly about inner strength. A true woman could be in rags and still shine.

    That is the mystery of being a woman. That is the talk mothers have with their daughters before their wedding night. They should say, Even though I know you are capable of climbing Mt. Everest, holding down a job or wall street or raising 8 children on your own, let your husband open the pickle jar for you. Let him show his strength. I always thought it was weakness to let my husband take over something that I was perfectly capable of doing. Now I am beginning to think it is strength. Just because I CAN do all of those things, it doesn’t mean I should. I always felt like I should fight to prove that women are just as capable as men. But in reality I can accomplish so much more with my husband on my team.

  27. 1. How does a classy, feminine woman look in general?
    I think a lady ought to take care of her appearance and look neat and well kept, as well as being modest. Classy would probably encompass her personal style in dressing (Do her clothes match? Are they wrinkled? To loose? Too fitted?), as well as how she carries herself, how she speaks (she won’t be brash or crude), and her overall self confidence. I believe a woman who is confident (not arrogant or prideful) in herself and her standing with the Lord as a daughter of the King will leave a good lasting impression regardless of how much outward beauty she thinks she does or does not possess.

    2. How does a feminine woman, a lady, dress?
    Again, modest. She respects the Lord, her husband, and herself enough to keep herself properly covered in public. She pays attention to what she wears, her makeup (if she wears any), and how her hair is kept in order to honor her husband. My Sweetheart says I’m beautiful regardless, but that he does appreciate my attention to dressing nice and fixing my hair/makeup for HIM.

    3. How does a feminine woman move? What is her posture like?
    With confidence and without the intent of flirting with/seducing men she is not married to. She keeps her legs together or crossed. She maintains good posture instead of slouching, BUT she needs to be careful not to give flirtatious signals with her body. My Sweetheart recently mentioned a woman in our acquaintance who makes him uncomfortable with how she carries herself around him. I knew she made me uncomfortable but until he explained to me that her body language bothered him I couldn’t put my finger on it. His perspective helped me understand that better.

    4. How does a lady speak?
    She is gracious. She is polite and does her best to show kindness and composure even with people who try her patience. She does not publicly disagree with or belittle her husband. She builds him up in public and keeps disagreements for private time. She is not crude or vulgar. A sense of humor is a wonderful gift, but she keeps her joking clean. Her tongue should be the law of kindness whether it be public or private. If she disagrees, she does so in a respectful, gracious manner. (I’m working on that one…)

    5. How does a feminine woman act?
    She embodies kindness and grace. She should strive for others to feel at ease in her presence. Inclusive in this would be the above things: her speech, her dress, how she carries herself.

    6. How does a lady project that she embraces and cherishes the gift of her femininity?
    She is content with who God made her to be. She is accepting of her role as a woman in the traditional sense. In other words, she rejects the teachings of feminism and embraces the commands given to women in the Scripture. She is joyful about being a woman and the things that includes (being a wife, a mother (if she has children), a homemaker, her place within the church, etc…)

    7. How does a very feminine woman feel about herself?
    She is confident in who she is in Christ. This one is hard sometimes. I think many woman have areas where they feel insecure or inadequate about themselves. However, I believe if a woman carries herself with confidence, poise, and grace, secure in Christ then she will feel better about herself.

    8. How does a man feel about himself when he is in the presence of a very classy, feminine lady?
    Hopefully, respected. Especially if the woman in his presence is his wife. But with women who are not his wife, he should feel safe. He should not have to worry about how the woman will be dressed, he should not have to be afraid of her making a pass at him, and he should not feel uncomfortable with how she looks at or speaks to him. If she is his sister in Christ, she will help him treat her as a sister rather than him having to be wary or on guard.

  28. Since I’ve only seen about 30 minutes of Roman Holiday, I had to do a little refresher course on Audrey Hepburn. I then talked to my Dad and asked him, “what is the big deal about Audrey? She really wasn’t a great beauty, compared to the Hollywood standard”. His answer was that she was very classy and demure, and that she took great care with her appearance and mannerisms. I said, “but she wasn’t like a Bridget Bardot or anything” and he replied, “well, a man dates a Bridget Bardot, but he would marry an Audrey”.

    I thought it was very interesting to get the opinion of someone from that era!

  29. I come from a long line of German farm wives. Women in our family were expected to be tough– not complaining, not crying except at funerals, able to handle everything at home that might come up while husband was out in the fields. And cooking, a lot. Being able to make good food and lots of it seemed like a huge part of who a woman was. There was very little emphasis on grace or appearance, mostly on endurance and working ability. I definitely don’t think I’m as feminine as the Southern girls I know– or even very feminine at all. I guess culture really does make a big impact on our ideas of how men and women should be.

    1. That is interesting. Proverbs 31 portrays a very hard-working wife but yeah that’s not what a lot of people think when thinking “femininity.” I think the essence of it is her readiness to be responsive to people in the way she works.

      Likewise, men aren’t particularly supposed to be insensitive brutes either (as if totally lacking grace and sensitivity).

      I think there’s a difference between feminine grace and daintiness.

      It’s not all that easy to reconcile for masculinity or femininity because I think we misconstrue what’s similar and what’s different.

    2. Mercy,

      I think those qualities of endurance, strength, and working ability were necessary for survival. I can absolutely understand why those were the characteristics that were most prized on farms for generations – and probably still, today!

      The most important parts of femininity, in my mind – are the qualities that God cherishes – Proverbs 31, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (which applies to all believers), and I Peter 3:3-6.

      Thank you so much for sharing about your family. 🙂

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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