Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Charm School - How to Walk Like a Lady

Last year, I did a week-long series of posts on how to move like a lady. The posts were so popular that I promised you more. Here it is, a year later, and I've yet to get back to it. Starting today, I will be posting a lesson each Friday in a series that will probably last several months. These lessons, adapted from a 1962 book, were learned by our mothers and grandmothers as a regular part of growing up, but since the 1970s, they have been lost. May I present "Friday Charm School".

The way you move, stand, sit, use your hands or place your feet silently communicates to the world. A woman should express her beauty not only with her physical features, but in the way she moves with poise and grace.

Poise is not accidental. It is learned. Once you learn how to move with ease, you'll project an inner confidence and elegance that will result in your standing out from the crowd.

Let's start with your posture. Posture is the magic key to a more graceful you. Good posture can make you look regal while wearing a potato sack. Bad posture can make you look frumpy in ermine and velvet.

Grab your camera and have a friend take a photo of you from the side in your normal stance. How does your posture measure up? Check the following:

- Head erect with chin parallel to the floor. You should feel as if a string extends from the top of your head to the ceiling and is pulling the top of your head up.
- Shoulders back and dropped into a relaxed position.
- Chest high.
- Stretch long through the waist with stomach in. Don't let your weight settle down on your hips.
- Tuck buttocks under by tipping the pelvis slightly forward and up.
- Knees relaxed, not locked.
- Elbows slightly bent, palms turned in.

How does your picture compare to the one above? Good posture may feel awkward at first, but with practice it will become relaxed and natural. Become acutely aware of how you are standing and learn to remember a proper stance until it becomes second nature.

Now you're ready to learn how to walk like a lady.

A beautiful walk is the sign of a graceful, poised woman. Start in your good posture stance and follow these steps:
- Lift your thigh slightly. Don't lead with your shoulders.
- For a feminine walk, the space between your steps should be about the length of your foot. Too long a stride is masculine, too short is mincing.
- On each step your heel should touch the floor first, then quickly shift the weight forward to the entire foot as you take the next step. Keep your feet close to the ground when you lift them.
- Arms should hang relaxed at your sides with palms toward the thighs as they swing forward to the front of your body. Shoulders should be relaxed and elbows close to your sides.
- Keep your toes pointed straight ahead and place your feet directly to the side of an imaginary line running down the center.

Clothes, make-up, jewelry...nothing makes an ordinary woman as beautiful as a proud carriage and a graceful presence. Practice your standing and walking in front of a mirror until your muscles learn the correct way to move.

Here are some examples of common walking and posture faults you should avoid. Are you moving like this?

1. The Sway Back - The tummy is thrust forward and the derriere back. The result makes the walker appear back heavy. She waddles and looks shorter, stockier, and awkward.
2. The Off-Balance - She carries too much weight on one side and rolls like a boat in a storm.
3. The Ungainly Stride - She galumphs with large steps, her torso and head behind.

4. The Bird - She walks with an out-thrust neck, sometimes looking down. She looks off balance.
5. The Bouncer - She rises on her toes and drops down on her heels. She moves forward with a rising and falling action, like a bunny hopping down the street.

Try noticing your posture and how you walk to day. Do you walk like a lady?