Charm School: All Finished

Yesterday's post on phone etiquette pretty much wraps up our month of Charm School.  I hope that you found this series helpful in myriad areas and that you are practicing away at becoming the best you can possibly be. 

I had time to contemplate this subject while we were vacationing and I will tell you sincerely that I noted several things as I had plenty of time to people watch and to be very self aware.  Number one, improved posture most certainly went a long way in helping me to move about more easily and I say that quite sincerely.  We walked blocks without my experiencing any sort of pain or discomfort. I do credit that to better posture.  I'm not 100% there yet, but I became very conscious of how I was seated and how I stood and I could most assuredly feel the difference in 'good' and 'bad'!

I would love to share a woman I considered quite elegant.  She was a brunette and wore a lovely cotton dress of sunset orange, A-line, that hit just below the knee,  with calf sandals and carried a straw hat that she'd worn until they began to walk by the windy surf. She had on sunglasses.   She stood out instantly due to her attire which was modest and fitting and elegant times 1000, because the cut of her dress and the color so obviously suited her.  It was obvious that the purpose of her and her companion's presence was a walk and not bathing or sunning but oh my goodness! how simply elegant she looked.  I took careful note of her attire and wished mightily I had a camera that could capture her at the distance so that you all could see her, as well.

Another woman who stood out was casually dressed for a day of strolling about the town.  She wore a white button down shirt open to the waist over a white tank top, tucked into  a slim khaki skirt and a sporty walking shoe that was not an athletic shoe.  She was neat and cool looking.  I was not in the least surprised when she spoke with a European accent.  She had that sort of elegant quality about her and I instantly pegged her as a woman who understood what was tasteful. 

The two women I mention were standouts.  There were others who also looked nice but these two are mostly easily recalled.   I will say I saw plenty of  young women in jeans that were cut off to butt cheeks and exposed bras under tanks that were far too skimpy and women in baggy saggy capris, sigh, which I think is the bane of the older woman, I do truly.  If you are going to wear capris then wear the sort that FIT please and don't wave about your legs like flags nor sag to the backs of the knees in the rear. 

Obviously since we stayed at a condo on  the beach I saw plenty of women in bathing suits and I'd say that 98% were tasteful.  I noted more tank suits and dress suits this year than I've seen in many years now.  The one woman who wore a bikini and a rather athletic young woman in a tank suit seemed to be the two least comfortable  of all the women upon the beach.  Both were constantly pulling and tucking and tugging at bathing suit.  I dare say that one young woman in the tank suit might easily have remedied her woes by stepping up a size in her choice of suits only because she played catch and soccer and the movement obviously displaced the suit.  As for the bikini clad gal, I expect she'd truly have been happier in a one piece suit or a more modest two piece.  She was just obviously not comfortable with so much exposure. 

I am not by any means saying that no woman should wear a two piece or bikini.  If it fits well and you're comfortable with it then wear it, but heavens sake don't fidget with it constantly.  It does not come across as sexy nor youthful, just mighty uncomfortable and it makes anyone watching just as uncomfortable!

We met lots of people this trip, probably more than we've met ever before and I must say I felt far more comfortable with my new knowledge of how to carry on a conversation.  I found I was quite at ease with strangers and am happy to report not once did I resort to slang or let a cuss word slip as I'm wont to do when I feel anxious or self-conscious.  That is a good bit of progress for me!

I was approached by a salesperson passing out samples outside his shop.  I know full well that flattery was one of his main sales pitches but I felt flattered anyway when he offered me a sample of skin cream and then took it back and said "No.  This you don't need.  You have lovely skin.  It shows you have cared for it and that your diet and water intake are perfect."   I won't tell you he didn't offer me another product because of course he did, he makes his living on commission selling his product, but it was flattering to know that my skin care regime passed the rather critical eye of an expert and that he was sincerely surprised to know I was nearer sixty than fifty because of my skin.  I'll take kudos where they come.  He examined my face mighty thoroughly and even pinched the skin under my neck to see how elastic that area was...made me awfully glad I'd lost a little more weight and taken time to seek out a few facial exercises that targeted just that area.

I did note while in his boutique that he immediately targeted the under eye area.  I tend to have a little puffiness there when it's humid.  He  recommended I use a product for just that area.  Let me tell you honestly that I felt rather a dunce when I confessed it was the one area that bothered me and he asked, "Then why, when I ask what you use, do you say 'Nothing'?  Do something!"  Of course, his something was the product he was touting which I refused (oh my goodness the cost!) but he did make me think.  Why am I letting an area of my face go unaddressed when I can do something for it?  I might not care to spend for his particular product but there are products well within my budget that I haven't tried at all, though Katie recommended I look into such an item two years ago!  I shall remedy that.

It felt nice to feel confident in my appearance on this trip.  I felt I stood up well to scrutiny.  St. Augustine truly is a rather international city and at any given point you may hear a dozen different languages spoken.  I'd noted before that the women from Europe, even when casually dressed, still had a certain something about their appearance that made them stand out.  I truly felt this time that I fit well with the crowd, that I didn't stand out as so obviously American, which honestly tends to be clad in such an extremely casual manner that you might as well have stayed home.  I do lean hard upon jeans as a wardrobe staple and I don't suppose that will change but I felt well put together when we were out and still managed to 'keep my cool' though it was rather warm.

All in all, I hope that this series has made you feel more confident and that you will continue to hone
both your appearance and your manners and that you too will feel more at ease among strangers as well as among friends and family. There are many areas not addressed that might be looked into online which happily brings such things right to our fingertips.  I might not stay at world class hotels with doormen or ever fly anywhere that a skycap is available to help with luggage.   We might not have gone to finishing school but we can certainly adopt and adapt the ways of a woman who has and be confident in all we do.


Lana said...

I can picture the brunette in the orange dress because a good friend of mine since 4th grade is that elegant, tall, reassured person. I am always taken aback when I see her picture on Facebook because she never seems to age but just gets more beautiful as the years go by. She is an attorney and I can just picture her presence in the courtroom.

Debby in KS said...

I completely enjoyed Charm School as I think there was a little something for everyone. I love your detailed *profiles* on the two women. My best friend is one of those, as I mentioned.

Myself, I've been working on my posture. I've definitely become schlumpy in the last couple of years. So, I've been concentrating on walking upright lol and keeping my chin up.

I thought of this blog when I saw an episode of American Housewife last week, I think it was. The mom wanted to take her daughter into the country club pool, but felt too fat in her super thin upper class town.

Amy said...

I'm glad you had a good trip! I really enjoyed these posts. I so agree with you on clothing, posture, nails, etc. I often see young, beautiful girls slumping or chewing gum in weddings, parades, homecoming courts , etc. That's all I notice then, and I think how sad that they don't know how to sit properly or to not chew gum when in front of a crowd.

I'm working on not fidgeting, listening more, table manners, and continuing to be aware of my posture when seated.

Amy in AR

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