What Is a Southern Belle?

What is a Southern Belle?
In a way, if it’s broken down to the rudimentary meaning, I guess it would be regional beauty? Belle is derived from the french term “belle” which translates to beauty, and southern refers to America’s deep south region. A Southern Belle is a young, proper woman of the American south, who knows her family history and is proud of her southern heritage. A Southern Belle is characterized by her personal presentation, hospitality, charm, attitude, manners, a deeply ingrained, proper etiquette, as well as her flirtatious, yet pure demeanor.

Southern Belles used to be known for fashion elements such as a wide-brimmed hat, gloves, hoop skirts, and pantalettes. Southern Belles are a bit more modern today, but are always well-groomed and put together, and would still never be caught otherwise. She might not go as far as high-heels and pearls everyday, but may be found rockin’ a feminine dress, maybe a sun hat, and always has a smile even when seated across from her arch enemy at a dinner table. A Southern belle would never make it past the front door wearing sweat pants, or pajamas, and knows how to accessorize without looking tacky.

A Southern Belle carries herself with pride, while practicing understated elegance. She carries herself with good posture, sits with her back straight, and always keeps her chin up, imagine books balancing on the head, as to present herself with confidence. The Southern Belle can easily prove herself to be well-educated, and aware of not only what’s going on around her, but the big picture as well, yet lends herself a softer appearance.

Her purse is reminiscent of Mary Poppin’s carpet bag, complete with hand sanitizer, a first-aid kit, a sewing kit, and snacks. She would never wear white to a wedding, and really only considers wearing white to be safe during Spring and Summer. Southern Belles don’t sweat, they glisten, and you can bet their southern drawl will become thicker when around family.

She is a proud lady of society, dedicated to family and community, and Sundays are dedicated to church, family time, and food. Invited or not, she makes everyone feel welcome.

Being a good hostess is definitely a characteristic of a Southern Belle. She always has sweet tea or lemonade at hand to offer visitors, and she loves to host, as well as to attend tea parties and dinner parties. Hand-me-down, fine china, hand-me-down, old, handwritten, stained, and tattered recipe cards, and five course meals are cherished and respected. She decorates well, gives beautifully wrapped presents, and knows how to set a table, especially for a formal meal, in which place settings are very important.

A Southern Belle bakes for days during the holidays, and her baking and cooking skills are nearly unsurpassable. She has no problem drinking from a mason jar, but keeps her elbows off the table and knows which utensil goes with which meal.

She always brings prepared meals to those that are sick or have lost a loved one, and never returns a borrowed dish empty. A Southern Belle never creates a scene, regardless of the situation, and believes bragging and/or showing off is tacky. Her vocabulary is sweet, and innocent, and she uses alternatives to swear words. This is probably caused by the repeated threat of having her mouth washed out with soap or having seen it actually happen to a sibling/cousin for using foul language. Trust me, this is a memory that sticks with you! A southern Belle uses terms of endearment such as Honey, Sugar, Darlin’, and Sweetie, especially if she doesn’t know or remember someone’s name.

So, what is a Southern Belle?
She’s someone who holds the door for others, no matter who they are, never shows up to someone’s home without a gift for the host(ess), gives handwritten Thank You notes, says “please”, “thank you”, “Sir”, and “Ma’am”, always RSVP’s before the deadline, and is always on time, if not early. In conclusion, as illogical and as unbalanced as the world has become around us, the habits and characteristics of a Southern Belle could most certainly be beneficial habits and characteristics for many in society to adopt.

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