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The Best Advice My Mom Ever Gave Me (Mother's Day Special)

Updated on May 10, 2013

Let's hear it for the little black dress


Like most mothers, my mom told me not to put my fingers in light sockets or on hot stoves. She told me to always have change for a phone call and never get into a car with a stranger.

But the best piece of advice my mother ever gave was this: "Good manners and a little black dress will get you wherever you want to go. The rest is up to you."

What my mom was telling me is that courtesy is more than just please and thank you. Courtesy creates an impression; it reflects who you are as a person.

Courtesy is a skill, an art form. Knowing how to properly introduce a person, how to make small talk and polite conversation, how to make someone comfortable in your presence is the platform from which you can launch an entire social network.

What my mom was telling me is that the little black dress is a classic. Trendy clothes are fun, no doubt, but when you intend to move forward in the corporate world or advance yourself socially, the classic attire will serve you well.

What my mom was telling me is that good manners and the little black dress are the calling card, the first impression, the foot in the door. To present yourself as one who is comfortable with the social standards of a civilized society is the first step to acquiring the things in life you desire.

In these times of celebrity bad girls who routinely expose their cleavage and buttocks, who routinely spew obscenities, good manners and the little black dress may seem old fashioned and archaic.

But for me, these things represent respect, respect for others and for myself. We may be a little less rigid in our social niceties, and the little black dress may be a power suit now, but the principle remains the same.

If we care enough about ourselves, my mother was telling me, to dress well and treat others with respect, we will be respected. This is what allows us to grow, to advance, to become the women we want to be. Let those bad girls bounce their breasts for the camera. The rest of us can take great satisfaction in the fact that when they hit forty, they'll need more than a little black dress to gain any respect.


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    • Shelly McRae profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelly McRae 

      10 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Shailini and Donna. I enjoyed writing this.

    • donnaleemason profile image


      10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      Very well written Shelly and so true. You only get one chance to make a first impression.


    • shailini profile image


      10 years ago from Bangalore, India

      beautiful. very inspiring advice. thanks for sharing. thumbs up


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