I am rereading a book that, when I first encountered it several years ago, gave me arguably the most practical piece of advice I have every received from a novel. I use it constantly and share it whenever possible, so, without further ado, I give my lady readers the secret for arriving at meetings in walk-up offices with elegance and poise:
I took off my shoes to tackle the three flights of stairs better, and paused halfway up the last flight, so I could replace them and catch my breath before arriving in elegant calm. No point in looking unfit and at a disadvantage.
Thirty years of life surrounded by intelligent, elegant career women – not to mention six years at an all-girls school – and I had to learn this from a book. But so happy to have learned it! It is from Hester Browne’s The Little Lady Agency, the first of a very fun trilogy of books. And Browne’s good advice does not end there. It is scattered throughout all her novels, most especially The Finishing Touches, about the attempt to revive a finishing school for the 21st Century.