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How to be more feminine: 16 tips to act more ladylike

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Being feminine can mean different things to different people because each culture has its own notion of what it means to be female.

In the west, the concept of femininity is tied heavily to gender norms.

Traditionally, being feminine or girly means being gentle, nurturing, sensitive, sweet, passive, empathetic, or devoted — to name a few traits.

As people continue to realize that gender norms are a little outdated, we now think that being feminine is more of a style choice (although positive feminine traits are still good to emulate).

So how do you become more feminine?

Achieving a girly “look”, adopting ladylike mannerisms, and getting in touch with the female mindset can help you take on a more feminine image.

In this article, you’ll learn how to embody the grace, politeness, and competence which define the female attitude.

Appearing More Feminine

Achieving a girly look takes so much more than wearing pink. Let’s break down what it takes to appear more feminine:

1. Take care of your hygiene.

The first step to becoming more feminine is proper hygiene. After all, you’re more likely to associate slobbish behaviors like unkempt hair and muddy clothes with younger boys.

Ladies are expected to look clean and smell nice. And whether you’re male or female, good hygiene is essential to keeping yourself healthy and attractive.

Your hygiene habits don’t have to be excessive; you simply have to make an effort to take care of yourself.

Here are a few feminine hygiene tips to take note of:

Set aside time for grooming: You don’t really need to take three hours in the shower but setting aside 15 – 20 minutes per day to shower is important to keeping up a ladylike appearance.

You’ll look, smell, and feel much fresher after using soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. Don’t forget to comb your hair before leaving home as well.

Keep your body hairless: One traditional sign of femininity is hairlessness.

Even though it can be impractical to pay attention to the hair on your eyebrows, upper lip, underarms, and legs, most women do everything they can to keep their body hair invisible.

You can employ various techniques like tweezing, waxing, threading, or shaving but don’t force yourself if you don’t want to.

Spritz on perfume: Smelling great is a feminine characteristic. Spray on light, flowery, or fruity fragrances before you leave home for an extra girly feel.

2. Dress in a girly style.

Clothes play a big part in how we present ourselves to the world. More importantly, clothing can help us embody who we want to be.

Many stage and screen actors often say they cannot truly be in character until they put on the costume.

If you want to “cast” yourself as a girly person, wearing appropriate clothes can help you become more graceful and ladylike.

Some ways you can style yourself in a feminine way are:

Dress for a feminine silhouette: When you take the time to dress in a feminine way, you’re more likely to carry yourself accordingly.

Dresses and skirts are the most universal signals of femininity so fill your wardrobe with well-fitting and flattering pieces.

Plus, these clothes can also help you move in a ladylike way; you’re less likely to stomp around if you’re wearing a delicate outfit, after all.

Include brighter colors in your wardrobe: Feminine looks often include bright, vibrant colors or cheerful pastels as navy, black, burgundy, or brown are stereotypically associated with masculine fashion.

It’s best to wear more shades of pink, lavender, blue, teal, green, yellow, or red for a girly feel.

Experiment with “girly” patterns and textures: Delicate prints, eye-catching patterns, and soft fabrics are typically considered to be feminine. Lace, florals, silk, velvet, polka dots, frills and preppy checks are some of the styles you can use to feel more feminine.

Wear appropriate accessories: Girly girls typically have a wide-range of fashion accessories available to them, in addition to the clothes they wear.

Heeled shoes, scarves, handbags, hair accessories, and jewelry are some key items which can tie your look together, bring out your personality, and boost your overall feminine look.

3. Wear makeup.

While popular culture is slowly steering men towards using makeup, it is still largely a female-dominated territory.

Most women never leave home without completing their look with makeup. Aside from adjusting your appearance, makeup is a great way to enhance attractiveness and boost your confidenc

Basic cosmetics like foundation, lip gloss, eyeliner, mascara, and powder can easily take you from barefaced to beauty.

You can also utilize neutral eyeshadows, concealer, nail polish, and red or pink lipstick to take the feminine look to the next level. Makeup is really an art form so you have fun while trying it out.

4. Try “feminine” hairstyles.

Although long hair isn’t necessary to being feminine, women have traditionally grown hair past the shoulders.

Hairstyles like ponytails, braids, and long, romantic waves are difficult to achieve with shorter hair.

Aside from brushing and conditioning your hair, you can care for your hair by consuming a healthy diet.

Fatty fish, lean meats, seafood, leafy greens, and fruits rich in vitamin C can give your hair strength and a mirror-like shine.

Acting More Feminine

Once you’ve mastered presenting yourself in a feminine way, you need to learn how to carry yourself in a ladylike way as well.

Cultivating habits, mannerisms, and behaviors can greatly help you embody girl traits.

5. Practice proper posture.

Countless movies that include feminine makeovers often include a scene where a tomboyish character has to practice walking with a book on their head.

While this is an exaggeration and most women don’t actually do this, it shows you how important good posture is to femininity.

You have to keep your spine straight with your shoulders directly above your hips and your chin parallel to the ground.

When sitting, women have to keep their legs crossed to avoid exposing themselves when they’re wearing short skirts or dresses.

Additionally, sitting with your legs wide apart has a masculine feel to it.

To sit like a lady, plant both of your feet on the ground and cross them at the ankles, then bring your knees tight together for a prim, feminine way of sitting.

There is also a way of walking that accentuates the feminine figure and shows off the curves.

The trick is to pull yourself forward using the lower half of the body, rather than having your torso fall forward and letting your feet catch up.

Toss your shoulders back and elevate your chest while swinging your hips slightly at each step.

As much as possible, walk slowly and gracefully by taking lighter steps.

If you are in a hurry, aim to look composed as you walk with quick, short steps to reach your destination.

6. Cultivate good manners.

Good manners matter. Proper etiquette guides us as we interact with people and navigate society.

More than being mindless pleasantries, good manners and proper etiquette help us show our respect towards others and make them feel appreciated.

And treating people well often means being treated well in return.

Ladies are expected to cultivate basic manners and etiquette as a model for others, especially young children.

Practicing the basic rules of etiquette you learned as a child is a simple way of being more feminine and elegant.

Try to incorporate simple manners in your daily habits such as:

  • Smiling genuinely at people
  • Eating with your elbows off the table
  • Saying “Excuse me” when you burp in public
  • Using “Please” or “May I”
  • Sneezing into a tissue rather than your hands
  • Finding a kinder way to give negative feedback
  • Greeting people kindly even if you’re in a bad mood
  • Chewing your food properly, with your mouth closed
  • Knocking on doors and waiting for a response before entering a room
  • Not interrupting people or rolling your eyes when they are speaking
  • Asking people to pass dishes to you during a meal rather than reaching for it yourself (and invading their space)
  • Keeping negative opinions to yourself but sharing positive comments and compliments to others

7. Speak like a lady.

You don’t really have to change the way you think or ordinarily talk to be perceived as feminine as a big part of femininity relies on confidence.

Swear words and crude language, however, are generally frowned upon in society.

Men and women alike need to think twice when cussing in front of others, especially in a formal environment like the workplace.

The difference is that men get a bit more leeway for cuss words and vulgar jokes because being provocative is seen as a masculine trait.

On the other hand, women are expected to speak politely most of the time so femininity is closely associated with polished language.

At best, being feminine means finding the balance between polite speech and asserting yourself.

You can still raise your voice (sometimes) and curse (very quietly) but overall, you need to speak politely.

Speaking like a lady means speaking clearly, knowing what you want to say, and being considerate towards others.

A ladylike person isn’t rude, hostile, or mean to the people around them, even if they’re with someone they dislike.

If you’re dealing with a rude person, it’s best to smile and limit your contact with them.

To be a feminine speaker also means reducing the number of vulgar or inappropriate conversation topics you bring up.

8. Avoid masculine behaviors.

Being “one of the boys” can take a toll on the feminine image you’re trying hard to construct.

Some behaviors like booing, shouting, giving high fives, chugging beer, showing off, or chomping on food can undermine your femininity.

Unlike the subtle, coy, and graceful behaviors expected in femininity, male behaviors are very “in your face”.

Having a girly image doesn’t mean you can’t drink beer or enjoy sports; you’re just encouraged to do all these things with more style and grace.

Moving in a more feminine way means being smoother and more in-control.

Of course, this all depends on the context.

Feel free to act tough or aggressive while playing sports or participating in other activities. Having fun and being carefree is all part of the feminine charm.

9. Spend more time with women.

Having male friends is great but in order to learn what it takes to be feminine, it helps if you are surrounded by women — especially if you are in a male-dominated environment.

Being around other women allows you to learn what people consider as “feminine” and what is not.

You’ll also be able to appreciate femininity more as you find women to uplift you and show you ladylike values, such as compassion, sensitivity, and strength.

It’s important to note that hanging out with women requires you to act ladylike, whether online or offline.

When it comes to drama and gossip, you should stand up for yourself if something is wrong — but never try to tear someone else down.

10. Read women’s magazines.

Media plays a large role in shaping what is feminine and what is not.

Women’s magazines, talk shows, and social media content can all give you a clue on what typical women are supposed to look like and how they should act.

For example, the media is always trying to uplift empowered women who are polished and successful in their own ways. This is the current brand of femininity they want to explore.

Tuning into style, fashion, and relationship trends provides you an idea of how women are expected to behave in today’s society.

Do be cautious and take everything with a grain of salt; most of the content you see is designed to advertise rather than to give advice.

Embracing A Feminine Mindset

You may look, smell, walk, and talk like a lady but it can only go so far if you don’t have the right mindset.

Attitude and confidence have a large impact on what people recognize as feminine; feeling at home in your own skin, extending love to yourself and others, and enjoying life will allow you to express femininity and help others see it in you too.

11. Own your confidence and unique charm.

No one has a monopoly on what it means to be feminine. You can absolutely define what femininity is for you.

Of course, you need to own your definition of femininity and not be afraid to show it to the world.

Rather than conforming to traditional roles of femininity, you should focus on how to make yourself happy first.

Building confidence in your body is about being comfortable in your own skin, regardless of your shape and size.

It’s easy to be more confident when you take care of yourself so don’t be afraid to eat healthily, sleep a lot, and exercise when you can.

Growing your own brand of charm requires you to accept and take pride in your unique personality.

In order to charm someone, you have to showcase your incredible sense of self. You’re not bragging about who you are or what you’ve done; you’re simply staying attuned to who you are.

12. Empathize with others.

Historically, femininity has been rooted in empathy and compassion. Female figures are often perceived as wise and nurturing rather than combative and competent.

Sometimes, empathy can be misconstrued as weakness because typical female behavior isn’t aggressive at all.

Women try to solve problems by fostering community and togetherness. A great lady would always recognize other peoples’ feelings and make an offer to help them feel better.

What does feminine compassion mean today?

Some compassionate behaviors include:

  • Avoiding unnecessary conflicts with others
  • Being respectful and polite even if you are road
  • Considering how the other person feels before getting upset
  • Thinking of how a problem affects others and not just yourself
  • Using your power to speak up for those who are unable to speak for themselves
  • Comforting others in their time of need with kindness
  • Withholding judgment until you hear the whole story
  • Recognizing that when someone does something bad, there are usually other factors at play

13. Be more expressive.

Compared to men, women tend to be more expressive with how they act, talk, and dress.

After all, it’s more acceptable for women to display emotions.

When you feel like there isn’t much to be said, utilize your body language and show people how you feel through your eyes or your smile.

In some cases, body language doesn’t work and you will need to use your words to avoid miscommunication.

Femininity is also about being open, vulnerable, and available to others.

You aren’t building walls around yourself to block people out nor are you pretending to be something you’re not.

Feminine expression is the ability to express your own thoughts while listening and respecting what other people have to say too.

14. Be more carefree.

Men like to be in charge. They want to have command over their lives but the truth is, no one ever has complete control over their life.

Mistakes happen, opportunities rise, and even emotions can change. The feminine perspective is a bit more passive and carefree.

There is nothing you can do about a circumstance when it happens so you only have a say on how you react.

The carefree, feminine mindset encourages you to be more receptive to changes and accept support from other people.

Admitting that you have no control over something isn’t the same as giving up.

Rather, you’re trying to focus on what you can do with more dignity, grace, and humility.

15. Learn how to compliment people.

The willingness to be kind and supportive is a crucial feminine trait. Sincere compliments are a way to show people that you care about them.

Most women tend to begin friendships through compliments because telling someone they have a cute outfit or are talented in a particular hobby can often open up conversations.

A compliment praising someone for doing something well will also make them feel special and important because it shows you were paying attention to them.

There is no need to go overboard with compliments; simply point out something positive when you see it. And if you receive a compliment yourself, take it graciously.

It should go without saying that insincere compliments can come across as cattiness.

No one really has the time and the energy for any pettiness or drama so if you have nothing nice to say, it’s best not to say anything at all.

16. Work on your social skills.

Having good social and communication skills are essential for any person to have, even if they are shy or introverted.

Basic social graces let you nourish relationships with the people whom you interact with every day, like greeting your fellow joggers “Good morning!” or thanking the barista for your daily coffee.

Even though it might not feel natural at first, you should learn to make a habit of it gradually.

On a larger scale, feminine social skills revolve around being a good caretaker. It’s admirable when a person can spring into action if someone needs to be nurtured.

If someone is injured, you assist them. If someone is feeling sad, you let yourself become a shoulder to cry on.

And if you appreciate someone, you tell them or give them a small gift in return.

This doesn’t mean you should focus all your energy into caring for others.

It simply sets a standard for all people that you being greedy or selfish is not acceptable.

The best, most genuine way to connect with someone on a social level is to be there for them when they need you.

Enjoy Femininity and “Girly” Things

Being a girly, feminine person is not a bad thing.

You don’t have to be more masculine to earn respect or be taken seriously.

Being soft and feminine doesn’t mean you cannot be powerful, intelligent, or assertive either.

At the end of the day, femininity is an ever-changing construct so you can take pride in your appearance, your preferences, and your goals.

What matters most is that you can present yourself proudly to the world.

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Pearl Nash

Written by Pearl Nash

I've always been passionate about eastern philosophy, ever since I became aware that western philosophy places too much emphasis on being positive and happy all the time. I prefer to keep things simple, and I hope you enjoy my writing on Hack Spirit.

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