Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chic Habits: Lower Your Voice

Lower your voice. In an interview about beauty, the iconic actress Jane Russell said ‘The director Howard Hughes took all of us – Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and myself – and said, “LOWER YOUR VOICE!”… Lauren Bacall still has the lowest voice of anyone I know to this day. The actresses of today all have these high-pitched baby-girl voices.’

When speaking, I try to make my voice soft and feminine and was aware it could be a little high pitched and girly. After reading this quote, I now consciously try to speak with a lower voice. Not abnormally low that I would sound like a man, just lower in my normal range.

I have to say I feel more chic when I speak in a lower voice. After all your voice is part of the entire package you present to people. Along the same lines I also try to slow down my speaking voice, as I often trip over my words in a rush to get everything out. Not chic!


  1. I have to admit I have never once thought about the pitch my voice, though I do recognize when someone else's voice annoys me.
    I am not sure that I have a high pitched voice, but I do know I am sometimes can sound whiney when talking to my husband.
    My stepdaughter, who is 16, is a mumbler and it drives me CRAZY! Her dad does it too and I get so tired of saying "Excuse me?" or "What did you say?" or the awful, "huh?" that sometimes I elect to ignore whatever they said.
    I will pay more attention to my voice and see if it needs a good lowering.

    Interesting subject, Fiona. xo

  2. I learnt from my mama and at boarding school to speak softly.
    I never had to raise my voice as a child, never shouted etc.
    I speak so softly even the butterflies find it difficult to hear me;-)

  3. Catherine said...
    I don't think my voice is high, but I really try to moderate the speed of my speech, especially when talking to my two children. I wish I didn't raise my voice with them, but somedays I definitely buckle. Mum rarely/never did, as she said our grandmother did and she didn't like it as a child. So maybe Lucy will be like Jo! A cycle. I do notice that my voice is lower around the monthly occurence, and higher and more girly in between. Hormones!

  4. I've been told I have a good voice, so I haven't worried too much about that--it's not deep, but I'm no Lauren Bacall. But I have thought about that attitude brought to something like walking. I used to be a "pounder"--even in dresses. Now, I walk slower, everything more deliberate, and it's a lovely feeling.

  5. I have an accent, so moderating my voice is imperative when I try to speak English.

    I tend to speak pretty fast in my native taking your time, lowering your voice tends to help a great deal.

    My mother speaks in a fairly high voice, she wants to be heard above the other voices in the room ;)


  6. Speaking softly does feel more feminine...even sexy!

    Screaming is so vulgar that it should be used only in emergency situations.

    I have missed your regular posts Fiona...I hope that all is well.

  7. Decades ago I was in a speech contest, and to help me memorize my speech, I recorded it onto a tape player. (does anybody remember those?) From that day, I'm lower and slower; I've never forgotten!

  8. I detest hearing my own voice when it's been recorded without me paying attention (like in home videos). I can easily get a higher pitch, particularly when I'm excited.

    Which is ironic because I sing in a low alto (all of my brothers are basses too...we have deeper voices), and when I take my time, I have a lower, sexier voice that drives my husband insane (in a good way). So, even in my 20's I've already begun focusing on it. Good to know I'm old school, because I always worried people would think I was weird for giving it any thought. :)

  9. I've noticed that European women's voices tend to be pitched much lower than those of most American women, and, on the whole, I do find it attractive. I remember being struck by how low Charlotte Casiraghi's voice is (she's the daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco), when I heard her interviewed. I may be wrong about this, but I think that lower voices, on the whole, tend to be slower, too. Mine? Clear enough, but when I've listened to my voicemail messages, I find it disconcertingly high.

  10. I don't think I've ever thought much about the way my voice sounds. Now I really hope this neglect makes it sound natural...

  11. A lower voice is a healthier voice, too. I used to study singing, and we were told to relax our voices when speaking, so as not to strain the vocal mechanism. When the speaking voice relaxes, it naturally becomes lower in pitch.

  12. This is a post after my own heart, Fiona. A few years ago, as a joke, I asked my cousin, Geneviève, who loves American films but speaks no English, to imitate the sound of the American woman's voice on film.

    She made such a squeaky, squawky, nasal sound that I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Then, she quickly reassured me that I don't sound at all like that when I speak English.

    Well, I thought, thank heaven for that.

    What has happened to the American female voice? And then there's that horribly annoying rising inflection at the end of each sentence that turns everything into a ??? Even some young American men are beginning to adopt this dreadful speech pattern?

    All I can say is, bring back the Lauren Bacalls and Bette Davises of my Mother's day. I miss them terribly.

  13. Thanks to this post, I am typing lower now too. ; ) I love watching classic movies to hear how the women speak (sometimes you can hear irritating voices in those old films too). I have zero tolerance for loud talkers. But like Adrienne, mumblers drive me nuts too. And my own voice? Not a fan. I have neither a melodious or soothing tone. I'm blaming my parents for this (born in the South, taken North, taken deep South, taken North -- my voice got confused somewhere in the process). xxBliss

  14. I always had a soft, shy little-girl voice, with an Oklahoma drawl. I hated listening to my recorded voice. When I finished my degree and got a professional position it involved a lot of phone work - 40-50 calls a day - answering questions and giving people advice about their health. Almost unconsciously I began to speak more in the lower ranges of my voice and more slowly. In part to give them time to understand the sometimes complicated information and also to give myself more time to think (or turn to the right page in the official book!). Nothing to do with chic but more about sounding older and more authoritative. People have often remarked that if I am on the phone about work I speak in an entirely different way to in my social life. I do think one must be careful not to sound too stagey or put on, though. It totally spoils the effect!

  15. I love it. Great reminder. I'm trying to get it together, from frumpy housewife to simple and chic, no matter what I do for a 'living.' These reminders are lovely. Thank you. MamaP

  16. Hi There,

    I'm so happy that I just found your blog! And I have to say that I agree with this post. I wrote about soft voices on my own blog. The voice was part of Jacqueline Kennedy's appeal to other people. :)



Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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