Truth be told, my brother and I were impeccably-dressed children. Our uniforms were ironed each morning, every hair on our heads was perfectly in place, our shoes were spotless, and we never stepped foot outside of the house with an untucked shirt.
All of this, thanks to my mother.
She instilled in us at an early age that we must be presentable and put together in order to be taken seriously in life, and that first impressions are indeed lasting impressions.
I would have never admitted this while still living under her roof, because I was a teenager and of course, as such, knew everything there was to know when it came to fashion – but, I’ll go ahead and admit that my mother was right all along – about ALL of the things.
I can’t count how many times she would try to con me out of buying the latest trends back in the late 90s/early 00s. You know, the phases where jelly shoes were the chosen footwear and blue jean mini skirts were plastered in every single shopping mall window display. And let us not forget bucket hats and Juicy track suits. Yes, I wanted those pieces, and no I never got them – all thanks to Mama. Hindsight being 20/20, I am thankful for the bucket hat purchase never happening.
I learned some of my best fashion tips, tricks, and rules from her.
And if you’re wondering if I still follow and abide by said rules to this day, my answer would be yes, for the most part. She would probably faint if I told her I wore white pants not once, but TWICE before Easter this year.
Here are some of Glenda’s most-important fashion rules (and my take on the same):
1. No white after Labor Day and no white before Easter.
Like I said, I broke this rule twice this year. The first time, I felt out of place until I saw several other ladies wearing their white as well. The second time, I did it on purpose just to push myself out of my comfort zone again – and I was pleased. It’s nice to shake things up a bit from time to time. Despite Glenda’s steadfast rule, I think it’s OK to break out the white pants early – or late, depending on the occasion.
2. Spend money on good shoes
While the rest of your outfit doesn’t have to scream expensive, Mama always thought it was wise to invest in good shoes. They will last longer,she said, and you will be thankful in the long run when your feet are not on fire at the end of the night. Not to mention, good shoes can be worn on more than one occasion.
Also? She always told me that white shoes are a no-no. No matter the designer, stay away. They’re tacky, she said. Opt for something with a bit of color if you can get away with it. Flip flops are to be avoided at nicer social gatherings. Reach for a pair of sandals or a nice wedge before going with flip flops. It will elevate your outfit, she said. And she was right.
3. Velvet and Corduroy are winter materials.
While both are comfy materials, they are best suited for colder weather.
4. Pantyhose is still relevant
Funerals and cocktail parties in colder weather months are both great examples for an appropriate time to wear pantyhose. Mama always was sure to remind me to make sure I packed an extra pair in case of a run.
5. Pearls and rhinestones
Mama always said, pearls are best suited for daytime events, while rhinestones are best suited for events after 3pm. As much as I love to wear the occasional bling, I can stand behind this one. I am a bit biased, though, because I love a good set of pearls and tend to think they go with just about anything.
6. Lipstick and nail polish should be in the same color family.
And please, match your fingernail color to your toenail color. Side note: Red polish is always in season. Honestly, I never thought about this rule until my mother mentioned it to me last year while I was getting dressed for a formal event. As it turns out, she’s right. It not only looked better, but it was a total confidence boost.
7. Invest in a good Little Black Dress.
There are a number of ways to dress up and down a Little Black Dress for several occasions.
8. It’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.
Unsure about what to wear to an event? Dress a bit fancier than you normally would. Mama always said it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
9. Be prepared on the make-up front.
Lipstick, mascara and blush and a pressed powder in a compact should always be placed in your bag for bathroom touch-ups at events. Side note: Do not fix makeup and/or hair or check your teeth at the table. Chewing gum in public is also frowned upon, especially at church. Pack peppermints in your purse for when you need a breath refresher.
And last, but certainly not least:
10. Manners are ALWAYS in style.
And there you have it. My mom’s best fashion tips. I’d like to be able to say I have followed all of these closely my entire life, but I would be lying. Now that I am older, I appreciate a lot more of the things she tried to teach me over the years. Looking back at some of those shopping trips together, I’m sure glad she said no to some of those wild fashion trends.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mama. I love you.
Carly Hazlip is the Fashion Editor for Signature Magazine.