10 Style Lessons Your Mother Was Totally Right About

Mother knows best, right? As much as we don’t like to admit it, mom is usually correct on most occasions — especially in hindsight. Here are 10 style lessons you’ve likely heard on more than one occasion that prove she really does know a thing or two about style.

1. Size doesn’t matter

wooden hangers with indexes sizes

Who cares what the size listed on the rack is? | iStock.com/FedotovAnatoly

Well, at least not when it comes to the number on the back of your garments. By now, it’s widely acknowledged vanity sizing is an epidemic in the fashion industry — meaning there is no consistency in sizing from retailer to retailer. You may be a size four in a mainstream American retailer and a size eight in a high-end European brand.

Like your mom said, you’re not wearing your clothes inside out. No one cares what the tag says — and neither should you. Don’t force a size that doesn’t suit you. You’ll be far better off to go for the right fit no matter what number it is.

2. Invest in timeless pieces

Woman wearing high heels

Quality over quantity is the way to go with classic wardrobe staples and timeless accessories. | iStock.com/MoustacheGirl

As you peruse your closet filled to the brim with formerly trendy, but now dated, items and other impulse buys, you’re probably hearing your mom’s words loud and clear about investing in quality over quantity. Well-made, classic garments and accessories will take you much further than trendy pieces ever could. It’s not exactly the way of this ubiquitous fast-fashion world either, but spending a little more on timeless classics and a little less on pieces that will fall apart just as fast as they go out of vogue is solid advice.

3. Buy double

bright modern fashion women's dresses

See double when it comes to good style pieces. | iStock.com/iprachenko

If you find a piece of clothing that’s comfortable, flattering, and classic, you’ve come across a sartorial trifecta of good. So, buy two of those things — one for backup. Or, buy multiple colors. The struggle can be so real to find quality pieces that fit well, and it’s never fun to kiss that favorite fashion item goodbye when it’s worn out. So, like Mom said, you might as well take advantage of a good thing when you can.

4. Never wear heels you cannot walk in

brunette wearing white suite and high heels

If you cannot walk in the heels, don’t wear the heels. | iStock.com/mashimara

Those sky-high heels may be sexy, but wobbling around in them never is. Aside from looking ridiculous rather than sexy in those stilts, we mean stilettos, you may also risk a sprained ankle. Know your limits and don’t force beyond that. Mom was right.

5. Less is more

Full body side portrait of a cheerful young woman

Simple really is sweeter when it comes to style. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Iconic designer Coco Chanel once said it, and your mom probably repeated some version of this sage advice, too. It’s easy to go overboard on styling, whether it’s one too many pieces of jewelry or a scarf, jacket, belt, and necklace that shouldn’t all be used in the same ensemble, much less the same sentence.

Simple and streamlined is always the right answer and will ensure a classic, timeless approach. And the same goes for makeup. It should enhance your natural beauty, not cover it up. If you’re wearing a statement eye, go natural on the lip and vice versa. Of course, this advice is not to be misconstrued as less clothing — i.e., skin-flaunting looks that leave too little to the imagination. You’ve likely heard mom say a lot about that, too, bringing us to the next style lesson she was right about.

6. Stay classy

A model poses at the Frame Denim presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Be a class act. | Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Yes, stay classy. The most alluring style is not tied up in a game of who can get by with wearing the fewest shreds of fabric on their body as possible. So, when mom wouldn’t let you out the front door with your barely-bum-covering dress on, she knew what she was doing. Such looks are bound to attract much of the wrong attention. Plus, there’s far more sophisticated sex appeal in leaving a few things to the imagination. And, if you’re going to show some skin, keep mom’s class-act advice in mind and choose one feature — décolletage, back, or legs — to show off, not all of them.

7. Always try it on

beautiful young woman trying on dress and looking at her reflectio

Yes, you really do have to try it on. | iStock.com/g-stockstudio

It’s likely many of you can clearly remember your mother’s voice at the mall: “You never know ‘til you try it on!” She was probably holding up something from the rack that would have been the last thing you thought you wanted. And chances are, you probably didn’t give it a shot. But by now, we all know she was right. On the hanger, it’s near impossible to know how something will look on your body. It could be terrible on the hanger and terrific on you, or vice versa.

8. When in doubt, overdress

Lady in black dress with lace back

Dress to impress. | iStock.com/grinvalds

Sometimes it seems as if we’ve lost our sense of formality and dressing for the occasion — from showing up to the symphony in sweats to wearing flip-flops everywhere but the beach. But there’s something to be said for truly dressing for the occasion, whether you’re going to a job interview or a gala. And if that party dress code is unclear, like mom said, it’s better to err on the side of overdressing rather than underwhelming. A word to the wise: When in doubt, just wear a little black dress to an event. It’s impossible to be overdressed or underdressed in one, as famous designer Karl Lagerfeld once said. (He also said that “sweatpants are a sign of defeat,” so keep those to yourself.)

9. Confidence is key

Fashion model girl in black running in studio

No matter what you’re wearing, wear it with confidence. | iStock.com/Gromovataya

We’ve all seen the people who can seemingly wear anything. What’s the secret? No, it’s not a supermodel frame — it’s supermodel swagger and confidence. Doubt is always out of style. After all, style is not so much what you’re wearing as it is how you’re wearing it. So, like mom said, be confident and flaunt what you’ve got. That is the secret sauce.

10. Pretty is as pretty does

young woman listening to music

Good style goes way beyond clothes. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

Like mom always said, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Just as confidence is important, so too is your attitude. In fact, attitude is really everything. We’ve all had those days where we feel ugly inside and that projects itself to the outside. So, instead of dwelling on that mood, compliment a friend or a stranger and make someone else’s day beautiful. You’ll feel better as a result — plus random acts of kindness are always fashionable.