Many women will see this title as a contradiction. This is because strict etiquette says that a real lady does not cross her legs, so it should not be possible to say that a woman can cross her legs like a lady.
Well… I live in the real world…
The reality is that over 70% of women regularly cross their legs when sitting. Etiquette and deportment needs to move with the times and be something that it suitable for the 21st century woman. Women no longer receive the training in their youth to strengthen their inner thigh muscles through keeping their legs close together when sitting. A weakness in the inner thigh muscles makes it difficult for some women to sit with their legs together, and crossing their legs is often their only way to stop their knees from falling apart.
I will address the three types of crossing your legs, from the most optimal method to the least desirable.
This is a highly acceptable form of crossing your legs. You put your knees together and to the side. The side that you turn your knees is to face the person with which you are speaking to. Otherwise, you would normally turn your knees to the left. Your ankles are then pointing towards the right and you cross them in the most comfortable way. This does require that the woman develop her inner thigh muscles, but is the healthiest and most flattering way for a woman to cross her legs.
European Leg Cross
This is most commonly seen in Europe, Asia, and Britain. This is when one knee is placed on top of the other. There are many reasons why this is not advisable such as formation of spider veins, encouraging bad posture, and the risk of exposing yourself. Nevertheless, this is the most common form of crossing your legs for women. If you are wearing a skirt that is shorter than knee length, it is best to avoid this as it can be very difficult to get into a comfortable and modest position without exposing yourself. If your thighs are too thick for you to be able to touch your ankle with your crossed leg, then this form of leg cross should be avoided altogether, as it will only result in legs splaying out at all directions. Having parallel legs when crossing your legs is only something that the thinnest of women are able to do. The legs should be kept as parallel as possible and tilted towards the other person, or to the left. No matter how thin the woman is, she should not do the double leg cross, where she crosses her leg then tucks the crossed leg back under. The foot does not jiggle about, but remains beside the other ankle. A jiggling foot or a dangling shoe gives an unconscious signal that you are uncomfortable in the current situation and would like to leave.
JUST DOWNRIGHT AWFUL
The American Figure Four
This style of crossing one’s legs is still relatively uncommon in Britain and Europe. It is when the leg rests itself upon the opposite knee. Sometimes women may be seen adopting this position when they are wearing long pants, and wish to adopt a masculine air of authority. If you catch yourself doing this, be aware of how much you may be exposing and correct your position.