Etiquette is a lost art. Revive it; retrieve the grandeur of an afternoon tea, the magic of a midnight ball, the respectability of a proper introduction, the nobility of a well-mannered individual, the grace of one who knows how to conduct oneself in society…..for if we do not have manners and etiquette, we lose our ability to function with poise, decorum, and elegance; we lose our individuality.
While I acknowledge that some of this information may be a bit archaic and not necessary in our present society (**sigh, sigh**), why not have some fun and see what it was like to navigate through the social scene back in the golden era of etiquette: The Victorian Age.
Here’s some fun, useful, or downright silly etiquette tips from some of the etiquette books I have amassed along the years:
- ” A gentleman is always to be introduced to a lady, never a lady to a gentleman” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
- “If a gentleman is walking with a lady, he should insist upon carrying any book, parcel, or umbrella she may have with her.” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
- “A gentleman will always see that ladies are served before eating himself” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
- “The handwriting of a lady or gentleman should not be commercial or scholastic, but firm and characteristic. All affectations in writing should be avoided, such as sloping one’s hand to the left, the use of flourishes, undue size in the characters, or a diminutiveness of the same to try eyesight and patience.” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
- “Before you even utter a greeting, the first thing to remember is that a good mood is infectious. Earn a reputation for always having a smile on your face and a sunny disposition. Forget your aches and pains, the answer to ‘How are you?’ is always ‘Fine, thank you.’” How to Live Like a Lady
- “What to wear if the invitation says….White tie/evening dress: white tuxedo for men and floor-length evening gowns (with gloves, if you desire) for women. Black tie: black dinner jackets for men and cocktail dresses for women. Your dress doesn’t need to be long, but never go above the knee. Smart day/formal day dress: Men should wear jackets or blazers and ties; women should wear dresses or very formal pants with a dressy blouse. Smart casual: Don’t wear jeans. Men should stick to pants and a button-down shirt; a blazer is optional. For women, a chic summer dress and flat sandals or smart pants and an embellished sweater would both be suitable. Come as you are: This doesn’t mean in your sweatpants and slippers! Jeans are fine for both men and women; team yours with a pretty blouse and jeweled flats.” How to Live Like a Lady
- “Dress, indeed, may fairly claim to be considered in the light of a fine art. To dress well demands something more than a full purse and a pretty figure. It requires good taste, good sense, and refinement.” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
- “Gentlemen should stand behind their respective chairs until all the ladies are seated, and then take their own seats, being careful that their chairs do not stand upon the dresses of the ladies beside them” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
- “If a gentleman acts as escort to a lady, he must call at her house, at the hour she appoints, with a carriage, and he is expected to send a bouquet in the course of the afternoon. Upon reaching the house of the hostess for the evening, he must escort his fair charge to the dressing-room, leave her at the door, make his own toilet as rapidly as possible, and return to meet the lady at the dressing-room door again, escort her to the ball-room, and at once to the hostess. She is obliged by etiquette to dance the first dance with him; but after that, he may with propriety allow her liberty to select other partners, always watching, however, to see that she is never neglected. He must be her escort to supper, and ready at any moment to leave the ball-room to escort her home again.” Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society (Wow, kind of makes you wish guys did this at school dances, huh?)