*This post is in collaboration with Talbots.
“Be lovely and always be a lady.” That’s something my grandmother wrote in one of her many “love notes” to me when I was in college. I never really gave that too much weight until I got older and started experiencing real life. Besides, the word lady seemed so formal, and at that time, “formal” seemed so far away. Fast forward ten years, and my interpretation of the word has completely shifted.
I now have a better understanding of what my grandmother meant, and I believe it’s different than what tradition may say. Looking at how my grandmother faced challenges and overcame obstacles with a more mature set of eyes really puts it into perspective.
I think sometimes being a ‘lady’ has the connotation of being meek, mild-mannered, docile even. That was not me, isn’t me now, and it won’t be me later. As I’ve grown and started to settle more into my womanhood, it has been my goal to challenge the old school stereotype.
So how do you define a lady? I think it depends on who you ask. To me, a lady is someone who stands tall and is a person who can lay out the truth without attacking another’s character. A lady can wear many hats and change them with precision. I’m not talking about style, but if we’re going to go there, a lady pays attention to the details of her attire no matter if the pieces are thrifted or designer. It’s never about money. It’s an attitude. A lady can command the attention of a room by merely being in it, but at any party or gathering, a lady always knows when to leave. A lady is graceful, but a lady takes no shit, either.
As a black woman, I have always been aware of people’s reaction to me. This is something that goes back to childhood. When I encounter someone new, one-on-one or in a group setting, I can immediately tell how someone feels about me by their body language, tone, and from a look – whether it’s at a meeting or in line at the grocery store. It’s always been a priority of mine to stand tall, put forth my best self, and treat people fairly, even sprinkling a little extra because I have a vagina, and because my skin is brown.
Recently one of my girlfriends described me as “such a lady,” and it pretty much made my 2017.
Talbots is a friend of the blog, and I am so honored to partner with them in celebration of their new campaign: Because I’m a Lady. For 70 years, Talbots has been a brand by and for women. The company today is comprised of 92% women, and the brand’s advertising features women of various ages and ethnicities. The Because I’m a Lady campaign challenges the old school definition of a lady in a tasteful and relatable way. The campaign spoke to me before the partnership was established because, in the age of mansplaining, it was encouraging and empowering to be acknowledged in different vignettes.
Because I don’t know how many people look at me funny when I say table for 1… I love my own company!
Because my bag is cluttered, but I can save your shirt from a stain, and prevent a heart attack. Someone always smiles when something in there helps them!
And, well, because I’m bossy. Sometimes. I’m not a pushover, and I get things done.
I hope more brands follow suit! Talbots has really shaken up the landscape by profiling women that are, for lack of a better word, normal looking. There are so many mixed messages in media, and the pressures of not only society, but from family and friends can be taxing. Wherever you are, lady, be proud and stay loud. You really are a wonder. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Photos by Christina Best Photography
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Talbots. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support the blog!