Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to be a Southern Belle; The Charms of a Southern Belle


Good morning, dear reader!

When trying to develop femininity and elegance, I truly do believe that looking for role models to study and imitate is one of the easiest ways to truly accomplish the changes we wish to make to our personality.

One of the reasons it's easier is because it serves not only as a template, but an inspiration -- you can then think, "My, wouldn't it be neat if I were to one day give off the same elegance/radiance/loveliness as that woman?"

 This is how I feel when I think about the many Southern belles I grew up with as a child in Virginia. I oftentimes ask myself what my childhood playmates (who of course developed into Southern belles) would do when I'm a bit stumped about something. :-)

It's true that the charm, grace, and femininity of the Southern woman is well-known all across the United States, and even to bloggers in other English-speaking nations.

Southern author Rhonda Rich was once interviewed by a journalist about how to flirt. When Ms. Rich asked the journalist why she was the one chosen to be interviewed, the journalist laughed and responded by telling her that it's because everyone knows that Southern women are the best flirts!

It's true that we are! ;-) But to us, lovely, flirting is just being charming and although we sometimes flirt to build attraction, we oftentimes just flirt to make someone feel good about themselves and it's not confused for courtship flirting in the slightest. :-)

My best male friend once said to me that he thinks the Old South is the only place in America where femininity is still very much alive and well for the majority of the female population. It's true that in the Southern region, femininity is something for a woman to be proud of and flaunt -- and no one in the South, man or woman, thinks that being femininity must replace strength!

Regardless of what many people who look down on femininity and feminine women may think, a woman can be feminine and strong -- and the Southern belle proves this!

*The Southern woman is truly, as we say in the South, strong as oak and sweet as honeysuckle.

 She's a complex figure, made up of many different facets. What makes the Southern belle such a wonderful role model for feminine and elegant development is the combination of her many different parts that come together to create a fantastically feminine woman of great strength.

In this article, I'm going to speak to you about the many different facets so that you can find some inspiration yourself!

{Physical/Outward Femininity - Beauty}

 Although femininity isn't comprised purely of the outward (and true femininity radiates from within), cultivating a feminine appearance is a good first step.

Oftentimes, taking the time to make ourselves look feminine makes us feel more feminine -- and then, as a lovely consequence, we find ourselves behaving in a more feminine way.

It also helps us with the first impression factor of femininity -- if we don't look feminine, would many take the time to see if we are feminine in spite of that?

The Southern belle is a woman who anyone could see is feminine if femininity was judged on appearance alone. She takes the time to make sure that she maintains a feminine appearance and 'look' -- and her goal is to make a magnolia in May pale in comparison!

Her hair is shiny, flowing, and oftentimes voluminous -- and it's definitely healthy as well.

Her skin is soft and smooth from her beloved buttermilk baths -- or showers with buttermilk soaps. ;-)

After she gets dressed in the mornings, she emerges from the bathroom scented like soft and gentle florals. Magnolias, gardenias, lily of the valley, and lavender are all favorites. We get the scent from Yardley English Lavender, Crabtree & Evelyn, or perfume with our ideal notes (such as Gucci's 'Gucci Flora Glamorous Magnolia' or Kate Spade's 'Live Colorfully').

Southern belles do enjoy the process of applying makeup (instead of finding it to be a burden) and prefer natural makeup that makes it look as if we wake up looking that lovely! 

A great skincare routine to keep our skin smooth and healthy is 90% of the journey towards looking lovely in the morning. After that, just a little bit of powder (and maybe some tinted moisturizer underneath to even it out), some mascara, and a bit of blush and there we have it.

{Physical/Outward Femininity - Clothing}

The Southern belle invests as much thought into her clothing as she does her beauty regimen.

The Southern belle's wardrobe consists of bright feminine colors, often in the form of sheath dresses and sundresses. She has a particular love for pastel colors, pink, and lime green. Lilly Pulitzer is a common splurge staple for her wardrobe.

More tailored styles for her more professional or 'buttoned-up' occasions (such as a luncheon) or flowing styles for hot casual days walking around in Charleston, colorful cotton dresses can be suitable for all occasions.

In hot weather, sleeveless options allow the Southern belle to feel comfortable while still looking becoming and feminine. Spaghetti straps can be cute for casual days, having a picnic underneath the Spanish moss in Charleston with a new beau, while thicker straps (2 inches at least from the shoulder in) can allow her colorful cotton dress to be appropriate for more formal gatherings.

And let's not forget fluttery off-the-shoulder dresses, just like Scarlett O'Hara's prized green dress that brought out the color of her eyes!

{Physical/Outward Femininity - Lingerie}

For many women, wearing becoming matching sets of lingerie is a luxury but for the Southern belle, it's not even an option -- it just is!

Southern belles put as much thought to undressing as they do dressing and feel that in order to be truly well-dressed, they must have good things underneath.

Knowing that you are wearing a nice matching makes you feel more sensual and feminine which will, most likely, cause you to behave in a more sensual and feminine way.

{Personality - Sweetness, Charm, and Manners}

'Pretty is as pretty does' is a common phrase in the South and one that I've made use of many times in this blog. That's because not only did I grow up hearing it, but I find it to be one that radiates a lot of truth for those of us on a journey to become a feminine lady -- aren't we each only as feminine as we behave?

It doesn't matter how feminine we may physically look if our energy is jumbled and confused instead of feminine and pure.

Southern belles make sure to act just as feminine and sweet as they look (oftentimes even more feminine and sweet than they look).

Southern belles are known for their femininity, their sweetness, their charm, and their wonderful manners.

It's common in the South for Southern belle mothers to tell their daughters to "Be Sweet!" before they go out to play with their friends outside -- to the Southern woman, being sweet is just as important as being safe.


Basic manners and niceties are strictly adhered to in Southern culture, with both men women expressing manners and charm in their own unique way, usually with the Southern belles expressing femininity and being 'sweet' while the men are chivalrous and do what they can to make women feel comfortable.  

Southern women are known for their sweetness and are proud of it!

Although finishing schools are no longer as common in the historical connotation, the Southern region of the United States is still filled with charm schools where Southern children are sent to learn manners. 

And if you don't think that people notice your sweetness, dear one, be assured that they do. In this day and age, truly sweet and feminine women are as rare as hen's teeth and the Southern belle knows this and knows that her charms are not lost on a single soul.

{Family}

Southern women are very family-oriented women, still being very traditional at heart. Many Southern women are very well-educated, going to New England where the best liberal arts college in the country are located so that they can further their education, but regardless of whether or not they choose to pursue a career, they always put their family first.

The South is a place where tradition still has its special place in the hearts of the locals. Passing down family recipes and stories to the children and formal Sunday dinners together are just parts of the traditions that Southerners still hold dear.

{Home}

The Southern belle is still very much adept at taking a house and turning it into a home. I think that this goes back to being family-oriented and a woman who still very much values tradition, being talented at making it fit into the modern day. 

Things like family recipes are passed down because the Southern belle knows that if she doesn't pass down her beloved pecan pie recipe to her daughter, the recipe stops with her instead of continuing down through the family.

The feminine Southern belle appreciates the little things that make a house into a home like fresh flowers in vases, the smell of seafood gumbo simmering on the stove, or the quilt she herself made strewn across the chair in the living room.

Feminine Southern girls know the value of home-cooked meals as well! ;-) They know how much of a difference it makes to always make sure that they have their husbands' baked goods somewhere in the kitchen.

Jackie Kennedy herself always made sure that Aristotle Onassis had his favorite chocolate cake available from Duncan Hines -- despite having a team of French chefs and pastry makers, for some reason he just loved the taste of Duncan Hines chocolate cake and she always made sure to have a few boxes on hand for him, ready to be whipped up!

The power of home-cooking is something that all wise and feminine women are aware of, not just Southern ones! Southern women are just very aware of these things. :-)

Southern food is considered to be one of the ultimate comfort food cuisines which is why feminine Southern belles know to bring the recipes into their romantic life, regardless of whether or not the beau is Southern (more brownie points if he's not since he'll probably appreciate authentic Southern cooking from his belle even more at that point!) -- spicy creole food from New Orleans, stuffing, pecan or fruit pies, all find their way to the family table every so often.

And sinful classics like chicken pot pie and fried chicken as well -- although the feminine Southern belle knows to alter it so it's a bit more healthy and less guilt-inducing.

The wise Southern belle knows that a 'fried' chicken that isn't fried, but instead breaded and baked, keeps the crunch but leaves the grease.

And a chicken pot pie without the cream, the crust, or the butter, but instead low-fat milk, flour to thicken it up, and a small piece of puff pastry placed in the middle, allow her to bring the comforting classic to her sweetie while also having her conscience be at ease, knowing that she's also making sure to feed him nutritiously. 

She's not stingy when it comes to quality either, dear reader. The feminine Southern belle acquires the freshest ingredients that her family can afford by perusing local farmer's markets or planting her own vegetable and fruit garden in the yard.

A tomato grown from her own plant, she knows, will not only taste better, but she can also be more sure that there are no pesticides or other chemicals on it, for she grew it herself in her own backyard.

{Strength}

The Southern belle is a woman who proves that a woman can be both feminine and strong -- and that she doesn't need to sacrifice one for the other. Although a Southern woman doesn't feel the need to yell or scream in order to be heard (as a matter of fact, we find such spectacles to be incredibly unpleasant and unnecessary), she does have a backbone.

She does what she can be defend her family and their pride and wouldn't ever stand for anyone speaking poorly about her husband or her children -- she'd defend them until the day that she dies.

Well, lovely, that's all for my article "How to be a Southern Belle; The Charms of a Southern Belle." I hope you found it to be inspirational!












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7 comments:

Mara said...

WOW, Nina! Yet another inspirational post! Thank you so much for writing this website -- your work is truly inspiring. You really do deserve the best that the world has to offer. You've earned it.

Flora said...

I have been studying your lessons for a few months now. Have definitely been learning a lot. For these lessons and beautiful articles, i feel that I must thank you.

shirley knight said...

Thank you for educating and inspiring me with this post.
As a result, I have researched about the Southern belle and also about my own culture.
This had led me to make a blog and I hope one day it inspires and looks professional as yours.

www.eleganceofghanaianladies.blogspot.com

Nina Pundarik-Dossin said...

Thank you so much, Mara. You are too kind. Many blessings to you as well. <3

Nina Pundarik-Dossin said...

Thank you very much, Flora, for your graciousness. I too must thank you as my readers are my true inspiration!

Nina Pundarik-Dossin said...

Shirley, what a lovely idea for a blog! I am so glad that you have decided to bring to light the elegance and femininity of a very unique group of feminine women. I look forward to seeing your website develop throughout the years.

Doreen said...

Your loveliness and sweetness comes through in each post you write. You are truly an inspiration.