Dress Like a Lady

Carry yourself like a lady. Dress like a lady. Don’t take foolishness from anyone.

I learned those things from my paternal grandmother, a tiny woman who was always well-dressed and –coiffed, and whose tolerance for the antics of others was miniscule.

I carelessly put on a poorly ironed (perhaps un-ironed) shirt once during a summer visit to her spotless home.  Because I was a teenager, and therefore a young lady, this was simply unacceptable.  She pulled out her ironing board and iron, and gave me a thorough lesson in proper pressing.

  "My grandmother is dabbing her eyes at my parents' wedding and looks perfectly put-together. She may as well have been crying about my future lack of ironing skills."

"My grandmother is dabbing her eyes at my parents' wedding and looks perfectly put-together. She may as well have been crying about my future lack of ironing skills."

1.     Start with the collar. Use plenty of elbow grease. She didn’t have starch when she learned to iron, so I didn’t need it, either.

2.     Iron the collar flat, then fold it down on its crease and iron that.

3.     Next the back.

4.     Then the sleeves.

5.     Finally, the front. This is what people will see first. Saving it for last makes it less likely to get wrinkled before you hang it up or put it on.

I put my freshly pressed shirt back on. She told me I had done a good job. My arm was stiffening up from all of that elbow grease.

Then she added a final step.

6.      When you get married, do not iron your husband’s shirts. If you start, you will be ironing his shirts forever. Take his shirts to the dry cleaner.

My husband irons his own shirts. I’ve watched, and he does it wrong.

- Jacqueline Bryant Campbell