What is Poise?

How to be a Woman of Poise

Secrets of An Elegant Poise - The History of Poise

elegant poise

About just a few generations ago, every well-bred young girl was given posture lessons.

Today we send our young daughters for dance lessons, enter them into beauty pageants, in hope that they will grow up to be graceful young women rather than prima ballerinas.

Have you ever wondered why there are only a few women who have the perfect poise these days?

Perhaps it is because we no longer highly value proper, elegant carriage, sitting with good posture, and having good manners.

I was so intrigued by this as I definitely do not have that kind of poise. I decided to research that subject. So now, I asked myself...

Which elegant woman did I consider to be poised?

I made a list (some from old movies/TV shows):

Audrey Hepburn had it.

Coco Chanel had it.

Bree Van de Kamp in Desperate Housewives .

Ashley Judd in De-Lovely. .

Melinda Clarke as Julie Cooper in The The O.C. .

Blair Waldorf & Lily Van der woodsen in Gossip Girl both had it.

Wing Cheng, wife of Ip Man.

elegant poise
Wing Cheng, wife of Ip man - from the movie Ip man

I'm inspired by the way they maintained their poise when insulted or when they are caught in an embarrassing situation.

See also Elegant Woman Inspirations.

So what is the definition of Poise?

Poise is composure and dignity of manner. It is a graceful and elegant bearing in a person.

I believe that poise is a fruit of elegance. To develop poise, one must first learn to be elegant.

You can be poised without necessarily being elegant. It is just like, you can be composed even though you've walked into an important meeting late, looking disheveled. Just maybe, that is not the kind of poise we admire in elegant women.

elegant poise
Poised at Breakfast at Tiffany's

Being poised is not just having composure, but also having dignity as well.

A poised person has elegant mannerisms. Her movements of her body...have a lot of style. The way she walks, talks, carries herself is fluid and gentle, yet strong and purposeful.

Have you ever been in the lobby of a hotel and suddenly you can't help but notice a very beautiful woman walking in?

You can't help but watch as she gets out of the car, smiles at the doorman, and say thank you.

She walks to the front door already opened for her.

She pauses at the entrance, her eyes scanning the room.

Her eyes light up as she spots her date and walks towards the him in a bubble of poise.

She is immaculately dressed, and exudes a sense of calm confidence. She is unaware of the impact of her presence and how she changed the atmosphere of the room. She made heads turn without knowing simply with her poise.

My Favorite Quote About Poise

I feel this quotation embodies the essence of poise.

"I almost ran straight into her in the lobby of a French hotel. I turned a corner, and she was coming the other way, walking quickly, surrounded by a pack of photographers and journalists. She seemed oblivious to the frenzy, to the babble and camera flash: the expression on her face was remote and introspective. This became an abiding image for me of celebrity containment, of self-protected glamour wrapped in a bubble of poise."

So what is the opposite of poise?

The image of insecurity, that the person is lost, clumsy, awkward or uncomfortable.

How then, do you acquire poise?

Study how to maintain an attitude of grace and composure. If you have tendencies to be stressed and hurry all the time, learn to calm yourself down.

If you're fidgety and nervous, learn how to be gentle.

And definitely, work on improving your posture! Posture plays a big part in the visual element of poise.

Remember the definition of Poise

Poise is composure and dignity of manner and graceful and elegant bearing in a person

Some recommendations

Write things down.

If you have a busy lifestyle, it really helps to write things down. I'm still quite traditional and old-school about it. I pen everything down, and that helps me feel calm as I go through my busy day. I don't have to panic about what comes next or whether I had forgotten to do something.

I take also take Natural Vitality Natural Calm - somehow it gives me a sense of calm.

Study manners/etiquette

Study how to have good manners, and learn some etiquette so that you'll always know what to do in every situation. See my Manners-Etiquette section.

Develop self-confidence

Grow and keep working on establishing a strong elegant self-confidence.

Study videos

Watch the movies/TV shows I listed above and study the movements of those women. Study how they walk and talk and move.

Learn to dance

Take a dance class, as dancers generally have more beautiful poise than non dancers.

Additional Readings:

1. Why we Should Develop Poise

2. How to Develop Poise

3. Ballet for Great Posture

4. How to have Good Posture

Thank you for being here! Love, Eunice

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