How To Become Graceful (1910 Instructions)

Here’s an article from 1910 on how to become graceful. It says that only a healthy lady can be graceful. Drooping shoulders, slouching, a poking chin, a leaning posture, shuffling steps: all minimize a woman’s attractiveness. According to the article, slouching compresses the lungs, and in consequence produces a bad complexion, and even lung diseases.

A woman should examine if there’s a reason for the drooping shoulders, such as short sight, an ill-fitting corset, tight clothes, or an occupation with much reading, writing, sewing or sitting; whereas high heels or badly fitting shoes may cause ungraceful walking. The article continues if a woman isn’t naturally blessed with gracefulness, she should do regularly exercises. A woman should practice how to sit, walk, and stand gracefully.


An exercise for a graceful posture goes as follows:

Stand upright. 1. Bring the left fist to the left shoulder (the elbow points to the left), while the right arm is hanging. 2. Thrust the left arm straight into the air, while bringing the right fist to the right shoulder (the elbow points to the right). 3. Thrust the right arm straight into the air, while bringing the left fist to the shoulder again. 4. Let your left arm sink, while bringing your right fist to the shoulder.

The article states that if these movements are repeated regularly, a good posture of head and shoulder will soon follow.


The ‘usual’ walking with a book, here with a basket, on the head is also suggested. Moreover, a woman should take a short walk outside when her muscles begin to feel tired. The article warns that there are games, such as hockey, which encourage a bad posture.

It’s interesting how ‘modern’ the article sounds: corsets or other supports are no longer recommended for a good posture, but trained muscles. Additionally, outdoor exercise is already recommended against depression.

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