Monday, October 19, 2015

To Sit Like a Lady



Sitting with one's legs crossed at the knee has traditionally been considered masculine and not proper for a lady; yet today an estimated seventy percent of women sit this way.  While many may dismiss the traditional view, it is perhaps wiser to consider why it was widely accepted by past generations who knew better how to behave like a lady than the present population.

Unless a skirt or dress is long, crossing the legs at the knee is far less modest than the traditionally feminine way of sitting with legs together and uncrossed. Crossing legs at the knee raises the hemline toward the lap and exposes underneath the top leg. The result is always less attractive and less graceful than sitting with the legs parallel and to one side (see photo above).

Recently I had the opportunity to observe women sitting in folding chairs formed in a circle. Most of the twenty women sat with their legs crossed at the knee while two sat in the traditionally feminine position. Side by side comparison showed crossing legs at the knee gives the legs a strong, conspicuous presence (not discreet), whereas leaving the legs uncrossed, tucked slightly back, and off-center is a far more modest, unobtrusive, and elegant way to sit.

Principle:  A lady sits with legs together, uncrossed and slightly to one side.

Photo:  Jacqueline Kennedy, 1962.

5 comments:

  1. I can certainly see the problem with sitting with legs crossed, when wearing a skirt that is knee length. I wonder though, if it matters as much when wearing a long skirt? I sometimes wear ankle length maxi skirts so there would be no chance of showing any leg, there.

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    1. Laura Jeanne, you're quite right. There are no modesty issues with the lovely, long skirts. However, it is always more discreet to sit in the traditional feminine way because the legs are tucked back and under the body rather than extending out, making the overall appearance more graceful. Crossing the legs at the knee can be elegant when both legs are kept closely together and parallel; but more often than not, the top leg is sticking out from the other at an angle. The wider that angle, the less graceful the silhouette. The traditional feminine way of sitting also ensures that the feet are still, while many who cross their legs fall into swinging the top foot or turning the bottom one on its side. Thank you so much for your comment! I am delighted to hear from you.

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  2. I am so enlightened to learn the proper way to sit :) I had thought it was with legs crossed!

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    1. I think most women would be surprised to learn the old-school rule. :-)

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  3. Woaw! This is great. I've really learnt a lot here. Now i can properly sit right like a lady. Thanks

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