While writing up a persona, I am trying to describe a woman who (I say) is confidently female, but not "overly feminine".

By this I wish to mean the stereotype of a sophisticated woman who appreciates luxury products, wears pearls and likes well tailored black dresses and bags. And I wish to exclude the stereotype of women who wear all-pink, frilly dresses, girly stuff etc.

Is there a word or phrase that can replace "overly feminine" here?

(Apologies for the politically awkward subject, this is a persona I am writing for a design brief and I do not intend disrespect.)

  • 2
    I might call her a girly-girl, but that is very informal.
    – Anonym
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 5:04
  • 2
    You need the feminine equivalent of macho.
    – Kris
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 5:07
  • 1
    By "overly feminine" you mean a very young woman who always dresses in pink, wears too much perfume, makeup, and seems to emulate a Barbie doll? That type person could be described as being "adolescent."
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 6:47
  • 1
    @Mari-Lou: Splork! (You'all know that one? Coined by Laura Blanchard on soc.history.medieval to denote the sound of coffee hitting the keyboard through the nose.) I was going to say that just "girly" would do in the original sentence, I see there's a proposal for "girly-girl", but you went one better.
    – David Pugh
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 14:04
  • 1
    @DavidPugh if you want to pilfer the idea, go ahead! :) The "ultra feminine" type is more prevalent in Northern Europe me thinks.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 18:23

4 Answers 4


"looking for a word or phrase to describe the woman/girl who likes pink and frills"

Girlish Adj. 1. girlish - befitting or characteristic of a young girl; "girlish charm"; "a dress too schoolgirlish for office wear"; see The Free dictionary girlish

  • I am looking for the opposite word really, a word to describe the un-elegant, if you will.
    – Pranab
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 4:35
  • 1
    But "a woman who ... appreciates luxury products, wears pearls and likes well tailored black dresses and bags" is the epitome of elegance and class.
    – user98990
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 4:39
  • I agree 'elegant' describes the woman. However I am looking for a word or phrase to describe the woman/girl who likes pink and frills, so we can specifically exclude that stereotype. The practical purpose is to communicate to designers that even though this is a brief for a womens' design, don't go down the frilly pink path. So what I want to say is, a woman who is elegant, but NOT "overly feminine" - but using a more appropriate phrase than "overly feminine"... "too girly", perhaps?
    – Pranab
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 4:43
  • like, "prissy"?
    – user98990
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 4:45
  • also, possibly, "girlish"
    – user98990
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 4:47

A reserved woman

En example from elitedaily.com, 'Why Being Reserved Makes You Sexy, Not Boring'

The reserved woman always intrigues us; wondering what she does all day and how she snagged that man or job keeps us interested in her life because we know nothing about it.

Reserved in The Free Dictionary

reserved (rɪˈzɜːvd) adj

  • cool or formal in manner; restrained, silent, or reticent
  • avoiding familiarity or intimacy with others; formal or self-restrained.

Honestly, if you're trying to exclude the fluffy, pink, girly stereotype - you might try "not frilly". That should kind of suggest the flounces-and-frills type of design that is favored by that girlish style. Maybe even "not pink and frilly", depending on how much you want to be specific about excluding.

If you're looking for a word to describe your character, who is looking for luxury, well tailored, and such - perhaps elegant, smooth, or sleek would describe that style. You might mention something like reserved or understated (as opposed to gaudy or glitzy), to maybe further nudge them towards a black dress and pearls look, instead of something brighter in style.

So, [your character] is looking for something luxurious, sleek and understated, rather than frilly and pink. I think that might get the message across without wandering too far into dangerous territory.


Classic or modest describes a woman who wear pearls and black dresses.

Ameezing describes a spoiled and self-centered girl as in "Or my ga, those pumps are ameezing (then slurps from a venti mocha frappa-chino). Credit to Kroll.

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