How to Dress, Act, and Speak Like a Lady

Updated on August 18, 2016

In a world where good manners and common courtesy are dwindling, and there is an obsession with celebrity culture, a lady stands out. Choosing to become a lady is empowering and the benefits are numerous.

In this article, I show you how to be a lady and cover the following areas:

  • The benefits of becoming a lady
  • What defines a lady
  • How to dress like a lady and embrace your femininity
  • Real life ladies, films and books that we can use for inspiration
  • Relationships - dating, family and friends. How to get along with others and deal with rude or difficult people. How to speak and converse like a lady.
  • Manners and their purpose - Timekeeping, dining etiquette, use of modern technology such as the internet and mobile phones
  • Respecting ourselves and looking after ourselves through good diet and exercise
  • Developing our intellect
  • Having a sense of humour and fun

The benefits of becoming a lady

Any female is born a women, but becoming a lady requires a commitment to personal development, a lifelong journey to becoming your best self.

. It is a worthwhile commitment as the benefits to yourself and others are numerous.

  • You will feel good about yourself and how you are living your life.
  • You will have inner peace and contentment.
  • You will feel confident in any situation.
  • You will find it easier to get along with people and make friends. Other people will treat you well and with respect.
  • You will be well mannered and knowledgeable of good etiquette.
  • You will be knowledgeable about the world, adventurous and enjoy life.
  • You will be refined, stylish and classy.
  • You will be able to attract good men, gentleman, if you wish to marry and easily spot and avoid men who will treat you badly.
  • You will understand the difference between a woman and a lady.

How can we define a lady?

When we meet a real lady, we become aware that there is something about her, other than her clothes, that define her as a lady.

Being a lady comes from the inside. Many women try to dress like a lady but unless they have also worked on their inner selves, there is something missing.

So, how can we define a lady? Well, she shows certain inner characteristics:

  • She has integrity and self-respect, values herself and looks after herself.
  • She is confident and knows herself. She has great self-awareness.
  • She is wise and has inner strength
  • She is a feminine and modern woman, who acts with grace, dignity and poise
  • She is self-sufficient - as well as being able to arrange flowers and write thank-you notes, she is able to check her oil and balance her check book
  • She is capable of taking on a leadership role or position of power.
  • She has class

How not to be a lady

On our journey towards becoming more ladylike, we can learn from other girls and women on how to and how not to behave. I am sure that we have all met a girl or woman who displays unladylike behaviour. Here are some examples of unladylike behaviour:

  • Do not be rude and abusive towards others.
  • Do not swear continuously.
  • Do not have lots of tatoos
  • Do not wear overly revealing clothes that reveal your cleavage or bottom.
  • Do not talk loudly and laugh raucously when with others.
  • Do not get overly drunk
  • Do not smoke, take drugs

Attitude to life

A lady is content with the life she has now and everything she has in it. Whilst there may be a few changes that she wishes to make, she understands that wanting more and more leads to feeling discontented with what you already have. She is adventurous and free spirited and embraces the opportunities life has to offer. She recognises that there is nothing in this world she cannot accomplish with hard work, determination, perseverance and commitment.

Personal Development

A lady is committed to her own personal development with the aim of being a better person. She recognises that developing herself as a Lady is an empowering thing, that she is a work in progress and learns from her mistakes along the way.

She sets Personal Development goals and may attend personal development classes such as assertiveness, communication skills or leadership skills,

Intellectual Development

A lady is usually well-educated, informed and worldly travelled. She believes in developing her intellect through reading and keeping up with current affairs on a regular basis. Having a natural zest for life, she is interested in may subjects and this makes her an interesting person to have a conversation with. She is interested in meeting new people as she enjoys learning about other people's ideas and experiences of life. She is confident when meeting new people as she knows that she will be able to find a shared interest to talk about.

A lady and her relationship with others

Her relationship with others

  • knows how to conduct herself in public and in a crisis and acts with grace and dignity.
  • follows "The Golden Rule" - treat others as you would like to be treated
  • kind, courteous and considerate without being weak or a doormat.
  • sensitive and able to empathise with others. Respects the feelings of others.
  • is fair, honest and decent
  • speaks her mind and is able to speak up for herself and others.
  • gives back to her family, friends and community
  • assertive rather than pushy or a bully, authoritative rather than bossy
  • thoughtful and prudent without being seen as weak.
  • gives everyone the benefit of the doubt unless proved otherwise

Being a lady within a family

Being a lady and having good manners starts at home. You can not be an authentic lady if you treat people well outside of your home but treat your own family members poorly.

Your home is the best place to start your journey on becoming a lady. It may feel strange at first. Your family may notice that you are changing in a variety of ways, such as becoming more formal and may not like it at first, but persist. Once you feel comfortable about being a lady at home, you will feel comfortable about being a lady in the outside world.

If you are a Mother, you lead by example. If you teach your childrengood manners and the benefits of becoming a lady or gentleman, they will reap the benefits later in life.

Cultivate Good Manners

The central aim of good manners is to put other people at ease. It is also the key to getting along with others.

Having good manners and getting along with others makes life a lot easier. If you are looking advance yourself in the world, good manners and being able to get along well with others can open doors for you. Showing good manners and being nice to others also creates good feelings for both ourselves and the other person.

Good manners start with a simple "Please" and "Thank You".

You may like to keep some Thank You notes handy for times when you feel they are appropriate to send.

We all make mistakes occasionally and it is important to apologise with a simple "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry". A lady is able to say "I'm sorry" when she is in the wrong.

If a lady needs to say "no", she will do it in a way that is firm but never rude. Her "no" will be polite and elegant.

She has a knowledge of basic etiquette and understands that at the end of the day, good manners is all about consideration for other people.

Inspiring Ladylike Icons

There are several famous women who I would class as a lady, not only in the way that they dress, but also in the way that they behave.

To the right are three YouTube video clips of famous ladies. To watch the videos and learn more about their ladylike style, click on the arrows.

Examples of famous ladies include the following:

Younger Ladies

The Duchess of Cambridge / Kate Middleton, Queen Rania of Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow (Actress), Natalie Portman (Actress), Katherine Heigl (Actress)

Older Ladies

Audrey Hepburn, Michelle Obama, Grace Kelly, Katherine Hepburn, sophisticated but ballsy.

Jaclyn Smith (Actress)

Mature Ladies

Elizabeth II - Queen of England, Barbara Bush, Julie Andrews

I am sure you can think of more.

Inspiring Films and books

On our journey to becoming a lady, we can take inspiration and learn lessons from many sources including films, TV and books that feature a lady as a central character.

You may enjoy watching and reading the following:

Inspiring Films

  • My Fair Lady - As an experiment, Proffessor Higgins takes a poor street urchin and tries to turn her into a lady.
  • De-lovely: The Cole Porter story - Linda Porter, the wife of songwriter and musician Cole Porter is a great source of inspiration.
  • Out of Africa - An interesting and true story, based on the life of Karen Blixen

Inspiring TV Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • The House of Elliott

Inspiring Books

  • Pride and Prejudice - and other books by Jane Austin.

I am sure you can probably think of more and would be pleased to hear about them, so please leave a message in the comments box below.

How to dress like a lady

You can often tell a lady by the way that she dresses. She has great style but isn't superficial. Her style is often neat, simple, feminine and classic. She doesn't follow the latest fashion trends but will adopt a trend if it becomes well established.

The style of her clothing is modest, the aim of her clothes is to cover her body in such a way that nothing is left on show that may be distracting. She takes care not to expose too much of her cleavage or bottom and therefore avoids low cut tops and too short skirts. Her clothes fit her well, being neither too tight, so that you see every lump and bulge, or too big that they look frumpy.

A lady chooses good quality clothing as she knows that they will last her for many years. She is prepared to spend money on good quality clothes as she knows she will save both money and shopping time in the future.

Take a look at the YouTube clips in the previous section on Iconic Ladies and you will see that their clothing is modest, feminine and classic.

Hairs styles

A ladies hairstyle is usually feminine, and easy to look after. Ladylike styles include a classic bob or a shoulder length style that can be worn up in an up-do, in a ponytail or left loose around her shoulders. Sometimes a lady may choose to have longer hair but always ensures it is in tip top condition

A lady pays particular attention to her hair, knowing that it can make or break her look. It is no good wearing good quality clothes if your hair looks unkempt. She washes and conditions her hair regularly and maintains its good condition, with regular trips to the hair salon to keep it free from split ends.

Take a look at the YouTube clips above on iconic ladies and you will notice that they all have fairly simple, yet feminine hairstyles.


A lady pays attention to her grooming. She tries to be well groomed at all times. Basic good grooming is simple and doesn't take long - just a few minutes each morning. You can learn more about how to be well groomed, by reading my article How to be well groomed

Ladylike Accessories

A lady wears feminine low-key and tasteful accessories such as the following:

  • Earrings - small pearl or diamond stud earrings are neat and classy for daytime. Dangling earrings look beautiful with an evening dress.
  • Necklaces - The pearl necklace is a classic, but coloured beads are a nice alternative.
  • Brooches -Use on blouses, knitwear, jackets and coats for an individual look.
  • Scarves - A scarf is an easy way to smarten up an outfit and add a splash of colour.
  • Handbag - a good quality handbag in a classic, simple shape.


A lady likes to wear feminine style shoes. These include feminine styles such as ballet pumps and high heel court shoes. In winter she may like a simple long boot with a heel, in summer some pretty summer wedges and for evening some strappy high sandals in a metallic leather.

How to speak like a lady

Here are some do's and don'ts on how to speak like a lady:

Do - Speak slowly and clearly

Do - Speak at an audible volume

Do - Speak intelligently

Do - Try to use correct grammar

Do Not - Speak with your mouth full

Do Not - Swear.

How to speak and converse like a lady

A lady enjoys meeting other people and talking with them. First and foremost, during a conversation, a lady never intends to say the wrong thing. She never aims to embarrass anyone and would be mortified to think that she had upset or insulted someone.

As a result, a lady is very careful about the subjects she discusses with others. She will avoid gossip and topics that are too personal, such as the persons age, relationship status, salary or whether a lady is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

A lady knows how to begin a conversation, for example, by either asking the other person a question or by making an observation and asking the other person what they think. When attempting to meet new friends, a lady asks, 'What do you think?' as often as possible.

She gives the other person lots of opportunity to speak and has cultivated the art of being a good listener.

If during the conversation, the lady receives a compliment, she will accept it gracefully, with a simple "thank-you". There is no need to elaborate.

If a lady needs to have a difficult conversation, she will try to remain calm and chooses her words wisely. She will avoind getting into a slanging match and tries to remain calm. She knows that her words have the power to hurt or to help and heal and that a person may not remember what she was wearing at the time, or exactly what was said, but they will always remember how her words made them feel.

A lady is not afraid to speak her mind and speak up for herself and is not afraid to say "no".

How to act like a lady

How to act like a lady.

Firstly, it may sound obvious, but in order for a woman to become a lady, she needs to act like a lady and not like a man.

In today's modern world, many women feel the need to act like men, particularly in the world of business. There is nothing wrong with being a strong woman, you just don't have to act like a strong man.

Secondly, in order to act like a lady, you need to know how to act proper

Embrace your feminine self

On the whole a lady embraces her femininity. She recognises that being a woman isn't a weakness, and that she doesn't need to pretend to be like a man.

In order to reflect that she is a woman, a lady will dress in a feminine way, using some or all of the following:

A feminine hairstyle, make-up, jewellery, accessories (such as a handbag or high heels) and typically feminine clothes such as a dress or skirt.

Click on the YouTube clip above for some more ideas on how to embrace your femininity.

A lady and dating

A lady approaches dating and relationships slowly and with caution. She wisely takes her time to get to know the person she is dating. A lady is looking for a man who will behave like a gentleman and treat her well and with respect. She will be open minded at first, but if she truly believes someone is not suitable for her, she will let them down gently. Whilst she enjoys the whole process of dating, a lady will not let a man pressurise her into sleeping with him before she is ready. She isn't promiscuous and is sexy without being vulgar. She is also able to make the first move in a relationship

A lady doesn't drop her friends.

Many women, once their relationships start to become serious, stop seeing their friends on a regular basis. This is a huge mistake. It is important to maintain your friendships. They help you maintain a balanced life. not only do we all need friends to go out and have fun with, there are huge and proven benefits to having a strong social network - better health, greater happiness an opportunity to help others and receive help when we need it too.

A lady also encourages her partner to maintain friendships. I encourage my husband to go out with his old friends and meet new ones, it does him the world of good. When he has spent time with his friends, he usually comes home rejuvenated and happy with a funny story or interesting piece of news to tell me.

Overnight guests

Often a lady will have friends who will stay overnight. She enjoys having friends to stay and aims to ensure that they are comfortable in her home. Clean sheets are put on the bed, together with fresh towels and flannels, soaps and maybe even a new toothbrush. A jug of water and a glass, together with a small vase of flowers is placed beside the bed. In the morning, a lady will serve her guests a full breakfast, such as an English breakfast or a continental breakfast.

Timekeeping when meeting other people.

Making sure you are on time when meeting other people shows that you have respect for other people and their time. To avoid being late, give yourself plenty of time to get to there, ideally with a bit of extra time planned in so that on your arrival you can freshen up if you need to and relax and compose yourself before you meet the other person.

Sometimes we all run a little late for engagements, due to circumstances outside our control, such as traffic jams. In such an event, it is polite to call the person as soon as you can, together with an estimate of how late you think you may be. They may have another engagement after yours and the sooner you let them know, the better. If someone else is running late, be understanding, but if you have a friend who is always late and it annoys you, have a quiet word with her about it.

Using Mobile Phones, E-mail, the Internet and online social networking.

As mobile phones and the Internet become more affordable and accessible, the number of people using them is growing. Most people are considerate of others when using them and other people are not. Here are a few useful guidelines:

Mobile phones

If you have to use your mobile when out in public, try to be considerate of others. I am sure we have all travelled on public transport or visited a restaurant and been subjected to another persons long and loud conversation. Try not to be like that inconsiderate person. When out in public, only use your phone if really necessary and keep the conversation brief and as quiet as possible.

If you are with other people in a restaurant and your phone rings or receives a text, excuse yourself to others before you respond. Check the message and if it is a true emergency respond straightaway, otherwise, send a polite text saying you will call later as you are currently at a restaurant.

Social Networking on the Internet

When chatting with friends or new acquaintances online, try to converse in the same way as if you are face to face. It is easy for standards to slip. Be polite, don't swear, don't get involved in gossip and negativity. Keep it brief but not so brief that you may come across as rude and abrupt. Where possible, check your spelling.

Develop your sense of humour and sense of fun

Being a lady doesn't mean that you have to be serious all the time and lack a sense of humour. As well as an attractive characteristic, the ability to have fun and laugh is good for you. Having the ability to laugh at life is a good way to cope with stress. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.

You can developed and maintain your sense of humour by watching funny films, or reading funny books. Spending time with animals and small children is also a great way to have fun. Young children in particular often have a refreshing and entertaining way of looking at life.

Dining out, eating healthily, exercise and weight.

A lady respects her body and nourishes it with good quality food. Try to eat three balanced meals a day, and if you feel that you need a snack between meals, try healthy snacks such as fruit or yogurt if you need it. Also drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Not only is it good for your skin, it helps improve concentration.

If you need to lose some weight try to do so, as it is important for your overall health. Achieving a healthy weight is also an inexpensive way to look more ladylike and classy.

A lady also recognises the importance of exercise and incorporates it into her schedule. Try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Walking for an hour three to five times a week is a good way to start.

When eating out at a restaurant, a lady eats with her mouth closed and knows the correct dining etiquette. The You Tube clip above on the right shows you how.

You may also wish to find a YouTube clip on how to set a table, so that you know, when eating at a restaurant which cutlery to use.

What age are you?

What age are you?

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A Lady and Money

A lady aims to be financially independent and have a healthy financial life. There are various ways that she can achieve this such as:

  • Pays herself first. Each payday, take 10% of your pay and deposit it into a savings or investment account. Over time, this money will grow into a nice nest egg.
  • Lives within her means - Lives on the remaining 90%.
  • Does not try to "keep up with the Joneses".
  • Pays her own way.
  • Uses Credit Cards wisely and avoids costly consumer debt.
  • Keeps her living expenses as low as possible and continually finds ways to reduce them further.
  • "Neither a borrower or lender be". She never lends money to friends and family or borrows from them. A lady recognises that the habit of lending and borrowing money between friends and family can put a strain on relationships. If someone she knows asks her for money, she will offer alternative solutions, such as applying for a loan from a bank or credit union.
  • Is in charge of her finances and reviews them regularly.
  • Strives to expand her means
  • Invests for her future, such as retirement.
  • Invests time and/or money in her Financial education - such as reading personal finance books, visiting personal finance websites, attend seminars or use a financial advisor or planner.
  • Knows how to negotiate a discount on purchases and shops in the sales.

What to do when someone is rude, insulting or abusive.

You may occasionally come across someone who is rude or insulting towards you. The first time the person is rude to you, the most appropriate and ladylike way to react is to say nothing. Simply take a deep breath, count to ten and let it roll off your shoulders. By not being rude or insulting in return, you stop yourself from stooping to their level.

If you come across someone who is consistently rude and insulting towards you, the best way to deal with them is to say "Excuse me" and walk away.

A lady will not tolerate anyone trying to abuse her. She has such strong self-respect and personal boundaries, that she will have no contact with that person ever again.

I hope you found this article useful. I have included a couple of fun questionaires below which you may like to fill out. If you have any comments, please leave them in the comments box below.

Why do you wish to be a lady?

Why do you wish to be a lady? Please tick one or more from the following answers.

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If you enjoyed reading this article, you may like the following articles:

How to dress like a lady

How to be chic

How to be well groomed

How to be well groomed - Advanced Level

Questions & Answers

  • Because of how I conducted myself I have lost the respect of my loved ones. I am afraid to lose them. I want to regain their respect and know how to respect myself and have greater self-awareness and confidence. What should I do?

    It sounds like you need to learn about boundaries, acceptable behaviour, and assertiveness. If you believe that you have behaved badly towards your loved ones, apologise and try not to repeat the behaviour.

    When you fall out with someone, it is usually because you have crossed one of their boundaries. You also need to establish your own boundaries so you don't let people walk all over you. You also teach people how to treat you. If someone consistently mistreats you, say something. If they persist in mistreating you, you may decide to have that person in your life no longer. Don't worry about losing people, determine your own boundaries, and if someone crosses it, let them know. If they still mistreat you, they didn't really care about you, and you are better off without them in your life, even if it is really painful at first.

  • Do I have to eat with a fork and knife to be a lady?

    You can do what you like in your own home, but if you are dining at a smart restaurant or a friend has invited you round for dinner, it is only polite and respectful to be well mannered at the table. If you act slovenly, you may not be invited back again.

    At home, it is good to eat at the table, and more formally, so you won't feel self-conscious when you are eating somewhere nice.

    I would say wherever you are in the world, follow the local custom.

    If you are at a Chinese restaurant, you can use chopsticks. I was recently in Malaysia, and many locals ate their rice and curries with just their fingers, no cutlery in sight. It is also apparently acceptable to eat chicken pieces with your fingers.

    At the end of the day, it is about making other people comfortable around you.

  • How can I make my husband happy?

    Firstly, he is responsible for his happiness. I would say he could start by seeking inner peace and contentment and an attitude of gratitude for the good things that he has in his life. Life occasionally has some very stressful times, but they are usually short-lived. Focus on your happiness and contentment, and hopefully, it will rub off on him. Set goals together that you think will improve your lives, pursue them together and celebrate when you achieve them. Working towards something together brings you closer.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    4 months ago

    You have such a fantastic write up

  • profile image


    5 months ago

    Thank you so much. Never before have I read such a useful article about being a lady. As an inspiration, I recommend Bree Van De Kamp from the show "Desperate Housewives".

  • profile image


    6 months ago

    Truly a wonderful article. One hardly finds such great advice on being a lady around the web. Thank you so much.


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