What do you get when you combine dignity and humanity with a bit of compassion, then divide it by elegance, style, and grace? You arrive at the Ladylike Quotient! It’s a kind of elusive quality that some women seem to have that allows them to journey through life’s triumphs – and inevitable tragedies – with a regal air or demeanor. Not to be confused with arrogance or perfection, the ladylike quotient is defined by a woman’s perspective on various matters and the behaviors she chooses to exemplify on a consistent basis.
When I was growing up, there were so many examples of this unique type of woman. From a historical point of view, the images of Coretta Scott King, Jackie Kennedy, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Katharine Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and so many others still visually lingered in public view. Equally impactful were the more timely figures like Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross, Ruby Dee, Diane Von Furstenberg, Pat Cleveland, and Farrah Fawcett, to say nothing of the non-celebrity women who could be found right in one’s neighborhood. Those women were equally stunning, hardworking, and lead meaningful lives. They were able to balance beauty, brilliance, a sense of social responsibility to display refinement, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others.
No matter how liberated, modern, and technically astute we become, we must find ways to maintain the spirit of this kind of femininity. It is what gives us our distinction among men and identifies us as a valued treasure amid God’s many creations. I think each generation’s challenge is not to emulate the outcome in some false stoic way, but to embrace the elements of the dynamic equation, trusting that its result will manifest appropriately in an authentic form. The benefits of being a lady are immeasurable, and like I’ve told my daughters so many times: “Being a lady never goes out of style.”
*Marjorie Harvey is wearing the complete Tom Ford patchwork AW 2015 runway collection.