At first I had no specific plan apart from wanting her arm moved out to her side. Now the body is much more open, she looks defiant rather than defensive. In the first image she looks friendly enough, but not necessarily strong and confidant. We accomplished all of that without any changes to her facial expression. Obviously it's not that a strong confidant person couldn't stand the way she was standing, the problem is that we only have this one drawing to communicate what kind of person she is so we've got to use any visual cue we have available to us.
I often like to place the sword where I want it to be and then build the costume around that, usually starting with belts and straps. Having worn a sword a lot myself I instinctively remember that it's always in the way, but can be shifted around to where you need it, Eventually you feel naked without it. This girl doesn't feel naked at all.