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The Lady-Like Elegance of Sitting Gracefully

Updated on November 21, 2016

A lady who moves with grace and elegance is a woman of poise and beauty. But such a woman is not too common these days, and lucky you are if you hold one of the most cherished graceful manners of traditional women - the graceful way they sit.

The Lady-Like Elegance
The Lady-Like Elegance | Source

How to Sit Gracefully

Sitting gracefully is sitting with dignity. Some may find it too prim and proper that sounds a bit strange in today's fast and forward world. But believe it or not, it brings back the softness and sweetness so captivating of a woman.

  1. Step as close to the front of the chair as you can. Turn and prepare your body for the sitting posture.
  2. As soon as your back leg touches the chair seat, slide one foot back then gracefully lower yourself into the seat, slightly sideways. Your weight should be carried by the thighs of your back leg, not with your knees.
  3. Sit up straight with legs together and heels slightly to the rear. You can sit with legs in front of you, angle your knees to either left or right side, or cross your ankles, but never sit with legs apart, it's a mortal sin to poise. If you're crossing your legs at the knees, there should be no space between the heel and the other ankle.
  4. Place your hands together on your lap.
  5. Lengthen your spine, free the neck, and balance the head above the shoulders. In short, sit tall.

When Is It Proper to Cross the Legs

If you’ve been asking the same questions, “How do you really sit like a lady? Do I have to criss-cross my ankles each time? When is it correct to cross my legs at my knee?

The answer is – it all depends on the length of your skirt. If you’re wearing a longer dress or knee-length skirt, then it's all right to cross your legs at the knee. If you’re wearing anything shorter, it’s only proper to cross your legs at the ankle.

Ankles crossed, as a lady should sit
Ankles crossed, as a lady should sit | Source

When sitting at a social setting, a lady of etiquette will not cross her legs at the knees when wearing a short skirt. She will not dare to bring one arm to rest at the back of the chair, and she will never throw herself completely dunked in a sofa, regardless. She will always care about how she presents herself respectably to any situation and company. She will always sit gracefully.

According to the Institute of Etiquette,

"When sitting, a woman should cross her legs at the ankles. For one reason, it is not considered lady-like to cross one's legs at the knees, especially if one is wearing a short skirt."

If you're in a social situation and in doubt, always err on the side of conservative - cross your legs at the ankle.

Sitting Gracefully Is a Woman's Charm

While it seems fine to go with anything you feel comfortable with sitting, nothing beats proper etiquette. Genuine poise comes from within and it's not something that can be taught very well just through words.

The "rules" on how to sit gracefully are simply guidelines and need not be that ironclad to make it fun and rewarding. Some women have an innate grace that just works no matter what they do. Sitting gracefully is behaving with a touch of class and it's the lady-like elegance that's just being the best that you can be.

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      Brightness 6 weeks ago

      This is really helpful thank you

    • profile image

      Sofia 5 months ago

      Does no one else realize that women are the only ones expected to "sit properly"? A man can sit with their legs wide open and no one will say anything. This is just everyday s.exism

    • profile image

      Ariana 9 months ago

      no matter where I sit.I cross my legs every where and every time and even some times I sit with my legs double crossed.but now I get information about this work.now I know where I should cross my legs.thank you!

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 3 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Nelly. I'm glad this hub has supplied you with some answers. In an occasion of doubt, go conservative - cross your legs at the ankle. It's safest, simple, easy and feminine!

      Thanks for reading Nel. Hugs and kisses from the city of generals:-) -Tonette

    • profile image

      Nelly 3 years ago

      Helped with my question somewhat. Thanks!

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Nicole S, thank you for reading. It's a good thing many of us have found this art worth bring back. Have a wonderful weekend. Smiles from the city of generals. :=)-Tonette

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 4 years ago from Minnesota

      This is wonderful and very useful! I wish everyone would read this! :)

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Tonipet, I must have missed your reply to me. Feel free to link my hub. I would be honored.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Gracie, how are you?

      Most bar or counter stools are designed with foot rings to provide a place as footrest and where you can hook the heels. A comfortable seat back makes sitting in this chair a pleasure. However, in a bar height setting, it’s a little difficult relying for safety and balance with only a heel hooked on the cross bar when legs are crossed at the knees (especially on armless stools), it’s only best to rest the ball of the shoe on the bar of the stool.

      If you have to hook at this point, it is a good idea that either side of your ankle is leaning on the left or right frame. This serves some sort of a “grip” that offers stronger stance while seated, rather than putting the entire weight on a “single” heel.

      I think it’s still easiest to slightly lean your legs to one side then cross your ankles, with one foot (heel) rested or hooked on the cross bar and the other foot is just behind the other ankle. This would not be as hard for you to keep your legs closed in that regard. You won’t fumble and feel awkward, as well.

      :=)The way that news anchor is bothering you is because anyone in front the camera is expected to sit in the most proper way, regardless :=)... Hope that helps, Gracie.

      Goodluck and thanks so much for reading and for the response. Your poised attitude surely will help others a lot. Best of all and be blessed. :=)Tonette

    • She8msbhvn profile image

      She8msbhvn 4 years ago

      Hello Tonipet,

      I love the topic, and all that I've read. I was actually searching the internet for this Q & A... and came across this site. "How to properly sit at a Counter or Bar height stool when wearing heels?" There's a News caster on TV right now that is Hooking the heel of her shoe on the cross bar of her stool, rather that resting the ball of her shoe on the bar of the stool. Not sure why this is bothering so, but it is. Can you enlighten me-plz? Gracie

      BTW-It seems I need to reload my profile photo.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      How you found it graceful means you are one feminine woman, Ingenira. So glad you came by. Thank you for reading and for the lovely comment. Keep up the beauty in you. -Tonette:=)

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Thank you Flourish. Once a woman learns how to sit gracefully, she'll be aware of why dressing modestly is part of the elegant feminine bearing. Thank you for your response to my hub. A graceful day to you. -Tonette:=)

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 4 years ago

      Graceful sitting posture indeed !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Useful indeed in a day when doing this wrong means seeing right up someone's skirt because of of short skirt lengths and not wearing a slip. Thanks for the instructions in a lost art.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      You said it Grace. It seems that the faster the world evolves, the faster the trend changes, the faster we women tend to neglect the true essence of being a woman. I like what you said, "an elegant lady can command respect of men worldwide"... I so agree! It's power enough to captivate the hearts of the strong. What a lovely thought from a true feminine woman. That alone can inspire the world. Thank you for dropping, it's so nice meeting you. Keep up and best wishes. -:=)Tonette

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Janis. It's so nice to hear there are still many women who teaches manners, poise and grace. I believe it only takes an effort to educate girls today of that lost womanly finesse. I would love to link to your hub. A pool of learning is a pool of elegance, lol. Thank you for reading my hub. Happy weekend. :=)Tonette

    • Grace-Wolf-30 profile image

      Grace-Wolf-30 4 years ago from England

      What a lovely hub! It is refreshing to read something like this because sometimes we women do forget to be feminine. Many women don't realize that our power lies in our femininity, and they try to behave like men in a mans world. Meanwhile, an elegant lady can command the respect of men worldwide. Brilliant! Thank you : )

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Tonipet, I love the topic and substance of this hub. Grace is a lost art with today's young women. I wrote a hub on similar subject about teaching girls manners, poise, and grace. Thanks for this. Up and useful.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi chit. So true. A girl should always be conscious about every details of her dressing and manners, not for anything else but because she is a woman. We all like looking at girls who sit so lady-like. Thank you for reading my hub. Have a great week ahead. :=)-Tonette

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Tonette, for this guide. I am sure it will benefit many girls out there.

      I believe a girl must always be conscious about her looks, her dressing sense, her elegance and grace.

      Thanks for this beautiful and interesting hub!

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi! That is a good suggestion, Leia :=)... you gave me an idea. How wearing long dresses can be most comfortable is a very good topic, perfect read for today's society. Thank you, really. While sitting elegantly suggests on the lady-like manner women could sit with class, wearing long dresses still is the classiest and modest of dressing.

      Me myself don't go for dresses that's so skimpy-feeling. I may wear something halter-top comfortably, but not a skirt that falls above the knee - no way. Not that it's not impressive but it doesn't offer that, like you said, a relax n acceptable feeling. It's so nice meeting you. Have a relaxing and fun weekend. Blessings and everything Leia. :=)

      -Tonette

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      Leia Amidala 4 years ago

      Thank you for your reply and yes I try to set good examples for people being elegant and relaxed at the same time. The best way is to set examples and, of course, write articles. lol Maybe instead of telling women how to sit in a short dresses it would be better to tell them that wearing longer dresses is the most comfortable. In long dresses you can sit knees apart and even cross-legged with no worry and look more elegant than those who sit uncomfortably in short skirts with knees perpetually together. I think people are slowly realizing that short skirts and short dresses are one big mistake and ditching them for longer, more elegant, roomier, dresses/skirts.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Leia:=)... Yes, truly the style that has maintained timeless elegance are skirts and dresses that cover the knees. Women of those classiest centuries I believed were products of classic grace and elegance both in character and manner of dressing- something that how we wish can be achieved by our young women.

      It’s a bit worrisome that today's getting shorter and shorter skirts already poses tendency of "losing" appropriate dress and social mores, and wearing short skirt is difficult to sit comfy with legs crossed without showing undergarments. So does it mean this is task for us to help return with graceful ways many young women can try to be like? If probably the most beautiful manners can make all things easy, count on me, all the time...lol.

      Thank you for visiting and reading Leia. Loved your thoughts - you're such a classy lady. Your ways are a lot many women will feel impressed by and maybe even secretly admire you. Keep up beautiful lady. So glad you made it by.

      Cheers and may we help bring back those quite lost arts of long ago:=) -Tonette

    • profile image

      Leia Amidala 4 years ago

      I feel that this article only applies to those wearing skirts and dresses above the knee so that no one can see your personal areas. If the skirt is to the ankles or even mid calf one can sit in any manner for it covers all personal areas and nothing is showing. I personally prefer the look of long dresses and long skirts.

      If you notice back then (medieval, baroque, 1800s, early 1900s, etc.) when people dressed up elegantly more often, most dresses were quite long and women could sit the same way they they do in pants as everything was covered and there was no risk of showing anything.

      I believe the reason why this elegance is becoming rare is because short dresses and short skirts have become in fashion which is a big turnoff for those who do not want to sit with their legs squished together all the time and find it terribly uncomfortable (which I feel most people do).

      Worrying about where you place your legs or leg positions was never a concern long ago and some of those were the classiest centuries. This worry has only came about recently when shorter dresses came into vogue. At first people thought that shorter dresses would be liberating but I think they are more limiting and restricting. I believe what is most elegant when wearing skirts/dresses is to have them long and not worry about your legs for all is covered just as it was back then. Long skirts and long dresses are what is truly liberating and I have many. :)

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Fulloflovesites, it may be rare, but to me, the sense that those girls (including you) considers trying to move like one means the beautiful feminine side that's innate within you. The world will be thankful how you have helped her preserve those beautiful hearts. Thank you for reading my hub. Blessings and keep up!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      It's rare that many girls (including myself) don't act like that these days. But I would give it a try! =)

      Up, interesting and a following. :)

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Thank you Faith. It's wonderful that many women carry graceful ways that just works no matter what they do. When a girl knows how to be a lady, she conveys light and beauty that makes the world smile :=) Thanks again for dropping by and reading my hub.

      -A thousand smiles and blessings. -Tonette

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Great article on a topic many women need today! I love it when a girl knows how to be a lady. Voted up :)

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi M. Definitely yes. Even with the way a woman sits, is enough to inspire the world. :=)... Thank you for your comment. Best of all.

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      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Tonette, i agree that we have to be aware of our poised in sitting. your hub showed a great tip how to sit gracefully and poised.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Joy. Wearing an incredibly short skirt or tight mini skirt, like that one you described, creeps up when you sit down. Either way of crossing the legs still gives anyone a view of that you don’t want them to see, and worst is, it can lead to some awkward social situations. So it’s only best to wear the right length of skirt.

      But if you have to wear such a short skirt, try wearing opaque leggings underneath. This makes you sit with grace and style without leaving any wrong impression about you. Modesty still comes most charming. Thanks for visiting, it's so nice having you around. Keep up with that elegant woman in you :=) Blessings!

    • profile image

      joy469 5 years ago

      hello ^^

      thank you for your wonderful article~ however, I'm still clueless as to why when wearing even shorter skirts we cannot cross at the knees:

      wearing a tight skirt that's falls probably only an inch below my crotch, I find it necessary to cross at the knees instead of just at the ankles. but if wearing such a skirt and I cross only at the ankles, won't my undergarments be shown through the tiny gap just above/between(?) my thighs? I mean, really, those tight skirts that ends just below my crotch...

      thank you ^^

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Gopika. I heard this wisdom from a Passionist nun "We have a choice to be confused or not" -- that was lovely. Definitely it works with how we dress and move, as well. The hint is, when we know what is proper , it follows that it's the choice. Thanks for making it by. I really appreciate. Best of all!

      Kissayer, howdy! Beautiful women always care for grace and elegance. You are! Thanks so much for reading and for sharing. You're wonderful.

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I love this hub! So many young women NEED to read this - sharing now :)

    • profile image

      Gopika 5 years ago

      Very well written! clears all confusions for any kind of dresses. A short and to the point written guideline. Keep grooming us. We need to go back to our basics.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello mollymeadows. Glad to know that. Sitting gracefully is simply something every woman can possess to be extra feminine. After all, a woman should always be an epitome of beauty inside and out, regardless. Hope you're doing fine. All the best!

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      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      I love this! Not that I ever do it...*sigh*. Thanks for the incentive, though, Tonipet!

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello mint, :=) nice name very refreshing. You said it, we do sit so many times during the day and we get enough time to learn mastering how to sit gracefully. Nothing is as elegant as seeing a woman sits so womanly. Thanks for stopping. Best of all.

    • toomuchmint profile image

      toomuchmint 5 years ago

      Great article Tonette! Sitting gracefully is something we take for granted, but we do it so many times during the day, it's worth doing right.

    • Tonipet profile image
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      Tonette Fornillos 6 years ago from The City of Generals

      Wow... thanks too Drjacki. Your appreciation is clear enough to know there's so much elegance within you, and if we all work together, we can bring back those quite lost arts. Following you. More power!

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      Drjacki 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I LOVE this hub...grace, elegance and sophistication are seemingly lost arts...thanks for bringing that back to our attention!