re-post from mariashriver.com
1. sometimes, a lady is forced to become uncivil. it is unfortunate, but it happens, in which case try to maintain kindness and honesty. some people will mistake a lady's honesty for being unkind, but the truth hurts enough, so there's no need for name calling.
2. a lady sends a card. a hand written note and old timey human powered postal service lends a personal touch to correspondence. these days, because it is done so infrequently, sending a card can really make a rather warm impression upon recipients. it's an easy thing to do, and it makes folks feel good. bonus points for ladylike handwriting and personalized stationary.
3. a lady carries a handbag, the contents of which should be kept tidy. the handbag is a metaphor for so many things, so keep that sacred space ladylike. a lady should guard her handbag against signs of neglect such as abandoned receipts and loose change. a lady will carry a bag that flatters her frame and promotes healthy posture. ladies avoid bags that are too small to be taken seriously or bags that dig into or slip off their shoulders. and be sure that it closes securely, lady, lest thy handbag be molested by unsavory and nefarious ne’er do wells.
4. a lady tips well, especially when she is being helped by a lady. never take change back when breaking a small bill for coffee, tres de classe* and cheap. you are being served, so please receive the service with grace. service not so great? leave a nice tip. you may help her next customer have a much better experience. it's that whole karma thing-- very ladylike.
5. a lady has deference for the greatest ladies of history including but not limited to sojourner truth, coco chanel, simone de beauvoir, angela davis, wonder woman, and miss piggy. these ladies embody bravery, justice, modernity, and style. they have made significant contributions to the expansion of our civil society, and they have done so with a tremendous amount of flair and hair. these ladies are our moral mothers, our spiritual sisters, and our fashionable friends. Look to them when you are in need of advice or inspiration.
6. in times of great moral/spiritual/fashion crisis, a lady will ask herself, “what would jackie do?" (wwjd?).** listen, if mz. jackie can be the picture of cool, ladylike calm during some rather unladylike circumstances, then almost anything you tackle is cake by comparison. jackie was into self-preservation, philanthropic service, and good taste. make an effort to take care of yourself— body, mind, and soul. know what suits your shape, and apply chic timeless trends accordingly.
7. ladies know the importance of comfortable shoes and properly sized foundation garments. curves should be curvy, not lumpy—and frankly, ties that bind are bound to make you cranky. panties shouldn’t dig and cinch, bras shouldn’t pinch, squish or drift. happy feet beget happy posture, and happy posture communicates confidence. also, happy feet can run in an emergency (why let the gents have an evolutionary advantage here?). a good tailor can work wonders for a lady's figure so try his needles before the doctor's. even if a lady spends a fortune on alterations, it would never be as much money or as painful as cosmetic surgery.
8. a lady knows the power of a sincere smile (see comfortable shoes/foundation garments, above). you can fake a bust line, but you shouldn’t fake a smile. a sincere smile says you are comfortable and friendly; your smile sets other people at ease. invest in and protect your smile—you only get one set of teeth, and they are one of your best accessories. and if something causes a lady’s smile to fade, she should not dismiss it. take note that in life it is good to follow your heart and your smile.
9. a lady never messes with another lady’s man. however, a lady may have more than one gentleman friend. it’s complicated, but it’s still ladylike (ladies who dig on ladies with ladies…i dunno, that's a different blog).***
10. a lady treads lightly on the earth. a well-mannered lady does not take more than her fare share of natural resources, and she certainly does not leave a mess for others to clean up. make ladylike choices about what you refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle. nothing says grace and elegance like a small carbon footprint.
*i'm talkin to you rene russo: humboldt bay coffee company, 1994. i was your barrista, and you ma'am, were no lady.
**if you really want to know what jackie would do, check out the book what would jackie do? by s. branch & s. callaway; it's a surprisingly useful and fun little read.
*** no. 9 addendum: sometimes a lady may have to save herself; a lady should know how to ride a bike, drive a car, and call a cab. a lady will plan ahead and is prepared for the worst (but she hopes for the best).