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From Mother to Daughter: 10 Style Lessons

I don’t have a little girl — and the older my son gets, the more bummed I feel. Not to say I don’t adore my little man, who parades around as an almighty superhero and who comes out with the kind of heart-exploding thoughts that make me thankful for a mama’s boy.

But there’s knowledge — experiences, I should say — that I’ve accumulated as a woman, and it would be nice to pass them down to a little girl. Like on love and heartbreak and self-image and ambition and friendships. On being a woman.

Which includes style and beauty…

  • 10 Must-Known Style Lessons 1 of 11
    rule0

    If I had a little girl, I'd totally teach her these 10 basic rules on style for women...

  • Leggings are not pants. 2 of 11
    rule 1

    A modern lesson for today's young women; one which teaches modesty, style, and — above all — common sense.

  • Dress for your body, not your size. 3 of 11
    rule 2

    Brittany Gibbons is the reigning queen of this concept, and I think it's something that all women — of all sizes — need to practice. Sizes are unreliable and limiting and soul-crushing. Dress in clothes that flatter your figure, not necessarily clothes that read a certain number.

  • Fashion is not style. 4 of 11
    rule 3

    Fashion is a fleeting phase; style is your identity. If you're following fashion, your clothes reflect what other people are wearing. Yet if you're defining your style, your clothes reflect your personality and sense of self. The difference is subtle yet significant.

  • Your clothes tell a story. 5 of 11
    rule 4

    Ignoring it doesn't make it any less true. And you better believe I'll be sharing this wisdom with my son, lest he grows up and decides to walk around looking like a fool. 

  • Know thy self. 6 of 11
    rule 5

    Know your positive features, your skin undertones, your most flattering silhouettes, etc. True style takes a fair amount of self-awareness — which will take years to accumulate, but will be totally worth it. 

  • Trends aren’t one-size-fits-all. 7 of 11
    rule 6

    Not every trend will flatter your body and style, and that's cool. Because in a couple of months (weeks, at this rate), a new trend will chug on into the blogosphere and maybe that'll be more flattering. Or not. 

    Just skip whatever doesn't work (peplum tops and mint green — I'm looking at you) and wait for the next round of must-have clothes. It'll be here any minute.

  • Keep experimenting. 8 of 11
    rule 7

    Because, why not? 

  • Confidence. 9 of 11
    rule8

    Retro-style dresses, bold hair color, and red lipstick: all require confidence. You don't need to be the right size or the right color or the right anything. Confidence is everything.

  • If you don’t love it, don’t buy it. 10 of 11
    rule9

    A boutique owner once told me (while I was hemming and hawing in the tri-fold mirror), "If you don't immediately love it, don't buy it." No amount of convincing would have made those jeans more comfortable or flattering — not the best sale or the hottest label. Almost everything I buy with a lukewarm attitude ends up in the donation pile within a year or two. So don't do that.

  • When it doubt, it’s better to be overdressed. 11 of 11
    rule10

    Always.

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