The Decorum Diaries

Unapologetically ladylike.

Twenty-Something Ways to be a Standout Twenty-Something

"Youth is something very new: twenty years ago no one mentioned it."

                                                                                               -Coco Chanel


  1. Don't Slouch. It makes you look sloppy and insecure. 
  2. Stress Happens. Budget For It. A $1,000 emergency fund is a reachable and worthy goal. From tooth fillings to new tires, twenty-somethings often forget to expect the unexpected. Perhaps it is because they've spent the last twenty years not having to think about those things. Perhaps it is because they still have someone that will swoop in if they're in a jam. Wean yourself from that help by planning ahead. Instead of financial assistance, have your parents help you brainstorm potential financial pitfalls that are difficult to foresee. 
  3. Make Eye Contact & Smile, Smile, Smile. To do that you'll have to...
  4. Look Up Not Down. Stand in line at the bank. Don't pull out your phone. Go on a date or hang out with friends. Don't pull out your phone. Witness history in the making. Don't pull out your phone. Sit in a waiting room. Don't pull out your phone. Visit your Grandma. Don't pull out your phone.
  5. Embrace Trends with Hesitation, Master the Timeless.
  6. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Have a vision for your life. Your desires may change, but the people that are most dissatisfied with life, are those that never knew what they wanted out of it to begin with. Without realizing it, having a clear vision will affect every decision you make in ways big and small until one day you look around and realize you're right where you want to be. 
  7. Try New Foods.
  8. Wear Conservative Clothes For Nights on the Town. Heels you can't walk gracefully in, and a dress you're tugging at all night isn't the look you're going for. I know, I know, you looked amazeballs standing still in front of the mirror; but try going for a more sophisticated look and just see if you're not every bit as stunning. You won't only turn heads, the heads you'll turn will belong to people worth attracting.
  9. Serve Others. Serving others doesn't necessarily mean devoting one day a week to the local food pantry. You can serve others simply by holding open a door, or picking up a dropped item. Serve others by distracting that toddler approaching meltdown mode. Serve others by allowing someone who appears to be in a hurry, or only has a few items to purchase ahead of you in line. Serve your neighbors by sharing that batch of brownies you just baked. 
  10. Use Pet Names CAREFULLY & SPARINGLY. Here's a secret older people are too polite to let you in on: Pet names can sound condescending. Never call a woman older than you sweetie or hun. Never call someone you are serving in anyway a pet name. Ma'am, Miss, Sir, and even "Excuse me, Mr.?", are all fine and respectful choices to pull out when you need to address someone you do not know. Pet names are protective and maternal. If you are a 22 year old waitress, your job is not to mother the impeccably dressed forty year old woman you're serving. 
  11. Polish Your Grammar & Refrain From Slang.  While I still routinely make mistakes, I've improved by integrating fun grammar lessons into my social media feed. Captain Grammar Pants is a favorite. Speaking of which...
  12. Text using proper spelling and punctuation. Even teenagers are catching on to the value of this one.
  13. Stop Blaming Everyone Else. Gratitude always.
  14. DO Read great books. DON'T watch junk television. And vice versa.
  15. Resist swearing. More often than not, swearing is unbecoming and communicates a lack of intelligence. If you're going for shock value try using that excellent vocabulary of yours. If you're letting off steam-- try on a persona that is so cool, calm, and collected-- it rarely has steam to let off. Talk about shock value.
  16. Make friends with his parents. Genuinely grow to enjoy and appreciate them.
  17. Stay in the Church. It will ground you. Humble you. Empower you. Too many step away from the Church in their twenties (when they could most use the support) then return when they have children. Please do for yourself what you will do for your babies someday. There is so much more to church than Sunday school and youth group socials. Navigating the faith from your newfound adult perspective will allow you to engage with it like never before.
  18. Skip the Ink. In years past it was only the rebels and a few servicemen who permanently altered their appearance with tattoos. Now the rebels are the few who don't. Think back to your pre-teen years, what tattoo would you have chosen then? Are you happy you're not sporting it today? So it may be when your 30 and looking back over the tattoo choice of your twenties. I for one am thankful I do not have a tiny pixie, kissing the mole on my back. Oy vey.
  19. Be a Lady. Figure out what that means. It's deeper than you might imagine.
  20. Be patient.
  21. Eschew Debt. When I married in my twenties I did not owe a dime to anyone. (And it wasn't because of parental help or scholarships either.) I had just paid off a newish but modest Toyota Corolla. My husband had a few business notes, and a very small house note. We paid for our conservative wedding out of pocket, and took on very little debt in the early years. We were Dave Ramsey Gazelles, long before we'd heard of the term. It paid off. 
  22. Edit Edit Edit your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Curate these accounts until they are a true and shining representation of who you are and who you want to be. (See #6) These accounts should bring honor to your parents, your former teachers, mentors, your current employer, and your spouse (real or imaginary), above all they should bring honor to you.
  23. Don't Take Offense
  24. Be Cautious. Value Your Safety
  25. Get Dressed. And by dressed I mean, in something other than loungewear.  In the opening scene of When Harry Met Sally we see a beautiful and well-dressed young woman carpooling from college to her new home in NYC. It was a 16 hour car ride but the scene is completely void of yoga pants. From the 90s on twenty-somethings have been missing out on the good that comes from dressing respectably on a daily basis. Try it and see.
  26. Get Enough Sleep. Drink enough water. Eat things that don't come wrapped in a graphic design.
  27. Learn How to Care for Your Skin. Start tonight. Did no one love me enough to give me this advice in my twenties? Or did I just not think it mattered enough to listen? Take it from me, start caring for your skin now. It's going to matter.