When presenting yourself as a woman, every detail matters. The way you act is just as important as the way you look. This includes etiquette!
Does etiquette sound like an old-fashioned concept from the 1950s? It’s not.
Knowing the proper etiquette makes you look classy and goes a long way towards a positive first impression. (Besides, you never know when you might be invited to dinner at the White House or Buckingham Palace!)
Etiquette is a huge topic, so in this post, I focus on the most common social situations. Read on for 6 etiquette tips you should know before your next en femme outing.
1. Girly greetings
Greetings can be a landmine of potential awkwardness. Should you hug, kiss, or shake hands?
The rules are straightforward when meeting somebody for the first time:
- Shake the hand of the person you are being introduced to.
- If you are sitting down, stand up to shake their hand.
- Look them in the eyes and smile.
- Bonus points if you say the other person’s name you meet them.
Kissing, air kissing, and hugs depend on cultural norms and how well you know somebody. When in doubt, let the other person lead.
Of course, if it’s a good friend, feel free to hug or kiss away!
2. The proper place for your purse
Where you put your purse say a lot about your manners. Did you know that putting your purse on the table is considered rude? That’s because it’s unhygienic.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- In casual settings, you can hang your bag on the back of your chair. In formal settings, this is considered poor etiquette since it can trip up the wait staff.
- The other option is to place it on your lap or at your feet.
- You can also use a purse hook. This is a small hook you carry with you to hang your bag on the table. (Queen Elizabeth II is said to have used one!)
Clutch bag etiquette:
- Place the clutch on your lap (with your napkin on top) or behind you on your chair.
3. Napkin etiquette
Napkin etiquette is simple: As soon as you are seated, put the napkin on your lap. You should never begin eating or drinking without your napkin on your lap.
If you get up to use the restroom, fold the napkin and place it on the left side of your plate.
4. How to hold your wine glass
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been holding your wine glass wrong.
The mistake most people make is to hold the glass by the “bowl.” This is a faux pas since it warms the drink inside and leaves smudge marks on the glass.
Instead, hold the glass at the stem by grasping it between your thumb and index finger. (Who votes for a “practice” session tonight?!)
5. Use the right utensils
Ah, the classic etiquette question: Which fork do I use? The answer is to start with the outermost utensil and work your way in with each course.
6. A grand finale
Now that you’ve made it through the occasion with perfect, ladylike manners, how do you make a grand finale?
- When you are done eating, rest your utensils diagonally (in parallel) across your plate.
- Your napkin should remain on your lap until you’re ready to leave the table.
- Never leave a party or event without saying your goodbyes. “Ghosting” is just plain rude.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Etiquette might not be the “sexiest” topic, but these details make a difference.
Curious to know more? Check out Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition.
Did any of these etiquette rules surprise you? Do you have any others to add to this list? Please share in the comments below!
P.S. Want to learn more tips on mastering your feminine presentation? Sign up for my free 3-part Male to Female Makeover Mini Course here!