Living, Manners, Reference

Your Guide(s) to Manners and Elegance

Refinement was not only about observing the outer forms of proper behavior and surrounding oneself with tasteful objects; refinement involved a state of mind–it contributed to the formation of personal and social identities. To be refined was not only to be polished and genteel, it was to occupy a different mental sphere, separate from the less elevated sphere.”

A Place in History: Albany in the Age of Revolution by Warren Roberts, ebook location 260

This passage was written talking about how early American colonists transformed themselves from the lower-class frontiersmen who settled the colonies into a class system that included an elite upper class. Roberts’ point is that the elite began to see themselves as above others as they grew richer. That is NOT what I am advocating.

My reason for including this quote is to say that your mindset is as important to incorporating everyday luxury into your life as your clothes, car or home. Manners includes things like table etiquette and concern for others but also how you speak, sit/stand, walk into a room, all of which are influenced by your mindset.

Back in the day, both boys and girls learned manners growing up from parents/governesses and for girls, finishing schools and depending on where they lived, cotillion/debutant balls. I was very lucky to attend both an etiquette course called Pretty as a Picture when I was like eight and also Barbizon modeling school when I was a pre-teen (I can’t believe they still exist!), both of which taught me how to be a lady. I lost a lot of my skills during my teen years as I tried to fit in like all the other girls (and then later with a courser crowd), but I’m actively trying to bring them back into my life. And as I do that, I want to share the wisdom with you.

If you are interested in manners guides I recommend forgetting Emily Post and Miss Manners and going with something more modern. But if you want to go WAY back, here’s one first published in 1860. (I’m a history buff; humor me.)

Unfortunately, the Pretty as a Picture book is out of print (however you can buy it used on Amazon), but these seem to cover the same ground:

Young Adults/Adults


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