The art of deportment
Deportment is as important as etiquette. When you master this fine art along with the skills of etiquette, you acquire a polished and an elegant image, which can work in your favour socially and professionally. Deportment is essentially how elegantly you carry yourself — your visual impact, overall posture, graceful walk, body language, physical mannerisms and grooming habits. Here are the three most important deportment skills one should master in their lifestyle.
1. Good posture: From how you sit to how you stand and how you walk, all this comprises a good posture. The way you carry yourself starts with a good posture and a good balance from your chin to floor measure. Be mindful of straightening up your posture. Even when you are in your personal space, sit up straight and walk gracefully with chin parallel to the floor. A hunched back and a weak posture is the quickest way to ruin your first impression. Remember chin is parallel to the floor and not tilted upwards, which can make you seem arrogant. Keeping your chin down, on the other hand, will give you a more timid look. Suck your tummy in, which will help straighten up your back and give a more elongated posture. Try a wall test at home to understand if you have a good posture. Anywhere you can find a wall, just stand straight facing against the wall.
2. Walk: Walk slowly, with knee-to-ankle movements, and preferably as silently as possible. The less noise you make with your movements the more elegant and graceful your overall image would be. In the finishing schools of early 20th century, girls were taught how to walk. Finishing schools are what we refer to today as etiquette schools. They prepared young ladies and gentlemen for life after school and are taught social skills. The walk exercises are called “book on the head”; these exercises will make you feel your body, as more weight would be put on your head by a book and you will have to balance the book on your head while walking. With a little practice, one can balance the walk and once the book is taken off, your posture would be effortless.
3. Standing and sitting posture: A good posture is key to everything. To a good stance, a good walk or even the way you sit, when you have your feet firmly grounded on the floor, you feel more confident when you talk. For a ladylike appeal, for a taller, slender and elegant look, stand with your right knee slightly bent and put your right heel in front of your left foot with your left foot standing straight. A female body would look more feminine in this position and you’d look taller, slimmer and younger. For sitting posture, one must be mindful to keep the knee and ankle together and not apart. The names of elegant sitting postures famously practised by members of British royalty are Cambridge Cross and Duchess Slant.