The most polite term for a woman is a lady. It means the “mistress of a household,” the wife of a notable man, a female with excellent behavior. But the best type of woman today is much more than that, is both confident and independent, soft and caring. Think of her less as the wife of anyone, more as a cultured, clever woman, exquisitely put together. A gentlewoman.

The gentlewoman is the kind you might imagine shopping at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The same one you would see later, lost in thought in front of a beautiful painting at the Centre Georges Pompidou. Then again, on another day, in the halls of the city’s museums or strolling through it’s gardens. A woman who is as comfortable in a boutique as a market. One who is smart, curious and ready.

A gentlewoman is bold and speaks her mind, but always attentive of others. She will listen with a slight, knowing nod, ever the perfect guest at a dinner party. Adventurous, she embraces color and knows how to mix a sweater set with sequins. Her home is a mix of classic and contemporary, a testament to her mind’s educated palate. On one wall you’ll find an abstract landscape, on another a daring Tracy Emin.

At home, you’ll find her tucked into a chair, a pair of tortoise frames hovering over an open book, always learning. She’ll wear her hair pulled tight into a ponytail, a look of simple, untarnished elegance. On the table next to her: an iPhone, a Moleskin notebook and a mug of coffee. She’ll use the phone to reach friends and family, but her internal monologue is captured always on pen and paper.

Trips with the gentlewoman lead to the startling beauty of nature. To the crisp Rocky Mountains and the most brilliant of sunsets seen over an unending prairie. On these trips, she’ll borrow pieces from the gentleman’s closet, turn up in jeans worn in with devotion, an oversized sweater or a homey black and red tartan.

In the city, she knows when to double kiss and when to offer a handshake. She has a signature lipstick, a favorite clutch, a set of eyes you’ll see from the other side of a crowded party. She’s the kind of beautiful known best to photographers who are able to get their shot of her without any whisper of direction.

The gentlewoman has a sense of discretion, knows what’s appropriate for each circle in her social network. An honest disposition with an eye to which cards are on the table. One-on-one she’ll lean in close and let you in on the best ever secrets. If you find yourself in solitude with her, mark your calendar. The day was lucky.

Much like her male counterpart, the proper gentlewoman sets her stage according to the cast of her current theatre. She readies you for all possibilities, makes you fall in love with not only her but also the world. Forever, always.

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