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Clothes

  • The French legend is a very simple one. All really beautiful clothes are designed in the houses of the French couturiers and all women want those clothes.

  • ... all changes in clothes rise out of the lives of the people who wear them. The function of the designer is simply to see a little ahead of time what the people want, and to provide it. No designer can start anything really new and different unless there is a public all ready for it ...

  • When people tell you a coat or dress is cut on classic lines it means it's something that isn't smart now and won't be smart ten years hence.

  • Getting a hat is like getting a husband. It doesn't matter how decorative or smart they are if they don't suit you.

  • There are two times in a woman's life when clothes are important: when she is young and when she is old.

  • Her clothes were beautifully made but so dateless that they were never actually in fashion ...

  • While clothes with pictures and/or writing on them are not entirely an invention of the modern age, they are an unpleasant indication of the general state of things. ... I mean, be realistic. If people don't want to listen to you, what makes you think they want to hear from your sweater?

  • Designer clothes worn by children are like snowsuits worn by adults. Few can carry it off successfully.

  • She all dressed up so till it would take a doctor to tell her how near she is dressed to death.

  • ... she had a passion for hats, none of which returned her affection ...

  • You mean those clothes of hers are intentional? My heavens, I always thought she was on her way out of a burning building.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "Just a Little One," The Collected Stories of Dorothy Parker ()
  • Friendship is not possible between two women one of whom is very well dressed.

  • ... its dapper Ethiopian manager could hardly conceal his agitation when a room was booked by a repulsive object covered in mud and blood and wearing a shirt and shorts so torn that they had become mere tokens of the will to be decent.

  • Naked ourselves, we long for fur. Fur is superior to human skin in every cosmetic and practical respect; it insulates the flesh, resists sunburn, and doesn't show wrinkles, bruises, acne, sweat, or cellulite. It looks much the same in old age as in youth. It feels good, too. We like to touch it, but in recent years a cloud has fallen over the ancient custom of appropriating animal furs and swaggering around pretending they're ours. If we're going to run our hands over fur, it's now correct only if the creature's still in it. (Actually, it feels better that way, the creature adding a warmth and solidity under the softness.)

  • ... the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me. I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it. I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money?

  • Men have an easier time buying bathing suits. Women have two types: depressing and more depressing. Men have two types: nerdy and not nerdy.

  • A saleslady holds up an ugly dress and says, 'This looks much better on.' On what? On fire?

  • Wet beige knee-highs hang in my hands like wilted skins.

  • ... it is almost as stupid to let your clothes betray that you know you are ugly as to have them proclaim that you think you are beautiful.

  • She spotted an Adolfo suit in that shade of tan that comes from mixing brown with a great deal of money.

  • I tried on some clothes last week, and I all but ran out of the dressing room screaming. Post-traumatic dress syndrome.

  • He had always been sartorially unlucky ... A conspiracy of tailors and outfitters, as it seemed to him, caused him always to be nipped at the armpits by waistcoats, irked across the back by coats, deserted by studs, tortured by shoes, blistered by socks, betrayed by sock-suspenders and braces ...

  • I like a bit of color myself, I must say. At my time of life, if you wear nothing but black, people might think you were too mean to change frocks between funerals.

  • Women wearing men's clothes are chic, men wearing women's clothes make us fall on the floor laughing.

  • One of the most basic human instincts is the need to decorate. Nothing is exempt — the body, the objects one uses, from intimate to monumental, and all personal and ceremonial space. It is an instinct that responds ... to some deep inner urge that has been variously described as the horror of a vacuum and the need to put one's imprint on at least one small segment of the world.

  • Just so sure as one puts on any old rag, and thinks nobody will come, company is sure to call.

  • Clothes and courage have so much to do with each other.

  • Her clothes gave the impression that she had survived a struggle with savages seeking to disrobe her.

  • Mercy, it's the revolution, and I'm in my bathrobe!

  • There is new strength, repose of mind and inspiration in fresh apparel.

  • ... I spent nearly two hours deciding on an outfit that would look as if the subject of clothing had never crossed my mind, but would in fact show off my best features and miraculously hide the extra pounds.

  • As a lifelong fashion dropout, I have still read enough fashion mags while waiting at the dentist's to know that the object of fashion is to make A Statement — all I've achieved, statement-wise, is 'Woman Who Wears Clothes So She Won't Be Naked.'

  • You can say what you like about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • Their dress is very independent of fashion; as they observe, 'What does it signify how we dress here at Cranford, where everybody knows us?' And if they go from home, their reason is equally cogent: 'What does it signify how we dress here, where nobody knows us?'

  • Dress has never been at all a straightforward business: so much subterranean interest and complex feeling attaches to it. As a topic ... it has a flowery head but deep roots in the passion. On the subject of dress almost no one, for one or another reason, feels truly indifferent: if their own clothes do not concern them, somebody else's do. ... Ten minutes talk about clothes (except between perfect friends) tends to make everyone present either overbearing, guarded or touchy.

  • Exhibitionism and a nervous wish for concealment, for anonymity, thus battle inside the buyer of any piece of clothing.

  • The erotic element always present in fashion, the kiss of loving labor on the body, is now overtly expressed by language. Belts hug or clasp; necklines plunge; jerseys bind. The word exciting tingles everywhere.

    • Mary McCarthy,
    • "Up the Ladder From Charm to Vogue" (1950), On the Contrary ()
  • Why don't men ... leave off those detestable stiff collars, stocks, and things, that make them all look like choked chickens, and which hide so many handsomely-turned throats, that a body never sees, unless a body is married, or unless a body happens to see a body's brothers while they are shaving.

  • Suzanne only liked clothes she was about to buy. She knew someday she would find the exact right outfit that would make her life work. Maybe not her whole life, she thought, as she got back in bed, but at least the parts she had to dress for.

  • The days are, happily, now long past when the cherished tradition of the Englishwoman, that one's oldest and worst garments possessed the most suitable characteristics for wear in travelling, excited the derision of foreign nations, and made the British female abroad an object of terror and avoidance to all beholders.

  • ... his clothes were cut to compensate nature's mismanagements.

  • Hats divide generally into three classes: offensive hats, defensive hats, and shrapnel.

  • Have you ever taken anything out of the clothes basket because it had become, relatively, the cleaner thing?

  • If you want to move up in the organization, you go along with the culture. If you don't care, well, you can wear anything.

    • Cora Rose,
    • in Jacqueline Murray with Toni Nebel, The Power of Dress ()
  • If I don't feel right about what I'm in, I don't feel right about anything.

  • He was in tweeds, baggy, hideous, comfortable. Like his curtains and his carpet, they inclined towards mustard in colour — old mustard, dried in the pot — but there was a pink over-check. Altogether one of the more painful examples of a notoriously distressing wardrobe.

  • I like the dry-cleaners. I like the sense of refreshment and renewal. I like the way dirty old torn clothes are dumped, to be returned clean and wholesome in their slippery transparent cases. Better than confesssion any day. Here there is a true sense of rebirth, redemption, salvation.

  • Every time you open your wardrobe, you look at your clothes and you wonder what you are going to wear. What you are really saying is 'Who am I going to be today?'

  • Nowadays most people wear black most of the time anyway: go to a literary party and one would imagine everyone there was in perpetual mourning for their lives.

  • [On her trademark hats:] Working women wore hats. It was the only way they would take you seriously. When I got to Congress, they made a big thing of it. So I was watching. Did they want me to wear it or not? They didn't want me to wear it, so I did.

    • Bella Abzug,
    • in Seth Faison, "A Well-Known Hat Bobs at Women's Conference," New York Times ()
  • To be well gowned is to be of good spirit, as most people will acknowledge. In that delightful book, 'Backlog Studies,' the author tells us that in Boston they hold the opinion, 'That there is a satisfaction in being well dressed which religion cannot give.'

  • [On her wearing pants:] The greatest sorrows from which women suffer today are those physical, moral and mental ones, that are caused by their unhygienic manner of dressing! The want of the ballot is but a toy by comparison.

    • Mary Walker,
    • 1871, Charles McCool Snyder, Dr. Mary Walker ()
  • The way you dress is the billboard that tells perceptive people how you feel about yourself.

  • Clothing, right from our first direct evidence twenty thousand years ago, has been the handiest solution to conveying social messages visually, silently, continuously.

  • Any garment that makes you feel bad will make you look bad.

  • Even if they've never been near a duck blind or gone beagling, Preppies are dressed for it. Rugged outerwear (snakeproof boots, jackets that will keep you warm at 60 degrees below zero) and hearty innerwear (fishermen's sweaters and flannel-lined khakis) are de rigueur in even the most sophisticated suburbs.

  • Wool, cotton, and the odd bits of silk and cashmere are the only acceptable materials for Prep clothes. They look better. They require professional maintenance. They are more expensive.

  • Preppy clothes are built to last, since they certainly won't go out of style.

  • Always underdress. The goal is not to look as if you made an effort for the particular event. If you can dress for a different party (i.e., wear black tie to a cocktail party, or tennis clothes for lunch), so much the better. You give the impression of being much in demand.

  • It is the inalienable right of every man, woman, and child to wear khaki.

  • I have never been able to wear a hat. My hair is peculiar in that it grows so fast that any hat I put on instantly leaps from my head.

  • [She] was guiltless of the smallest trace of fashion.

  • It is for themselves that most women dress, not for others. On the exploitation of such fundamental truths are fortunes made.

  • We all have to wear clothes. Some of us just have more fun with that fact than others.

  • Clothes are symbols, and symbols are the imaginative signposts of life.

  • Who said that clothes make a statement? What an understatement that was. Clothes never shut up.

  • There is a special blessing in old clothes, and that aside from their comfort, for which especially they are to be cherished. They confer a kind of anonymity on one who wears them gladly; all their bright places rubbed to a uniform dullness, they achieve an appearance so nearly nondescript that only a close scrutiny could learn that ever they held shape at all.

  • A straight dark-green Manchu gown, with black trimmings, is my favorite. For it just about takes off those fifteen pounds I don't need and adds those three inches I do.

    • Chao Buwei Yang,
    • in Yuenren Chao, trans., Autobiography of a Chinese Woman ()
  • [On women's complicated, impractical clothing:] Some say the Turkish costume is not graceful. Grant it. For parlor dolls, who loll on crimson velvet couches and study attitudes before tall mirrors — for those who have no part to perform in the great drama of life, for whose heads, hearts and hands there is no work to do but the drapery, all is well. ... But for us common place, every day, working characters, who wash and iron, bake and brew, carry water and fat babies up stairs and down, bring potatoes, apples and pans of milk from the cellar, run our own errands through mud or snow, shovel paths and work in the garden, why 'the drapery' is quite too much — one might as well work with a ball and chain.

  • ... no fashion has ever been created expressly for the lean purse or for the fat woman: the dressmaker's ideal is the thin millionairess.

  • ... she would have been wearing: a shirtwaist with a small rounded collar, in a sober colour — navy blue or steel grey or hospital-corridor green. Penitential colours — less like something she'd chosen to put on than like something she'd been locked up in.

  • As soon as I get inside my front door I kick off my shoes and get rid of my watch and public clothing as if I'm tearing fire from my skin.

  • We have to wear clothes, a requirement of custom, but more time, temper, character, and peace of mind, not to mention money, have been sacrificed to them than to any other altar on this green earth, and for what?

  • ... the sense of being perfectly well-dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquility which religion is powerless to bestow.

  • To call a fashion wearable is the kiss of death. No new fashion worth its salt is ever wearable.

  • The costume of woman should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort and usefulness; and, while it should not fail also to conduce to her personal adornment, it should make that end of secondary importance.

  • Let men be compelled to wear our dress for awhile and we should soon hear them advocating a change.

  • ... a man is much sexier in nothing than something, and that goes for hairpieces as well as clothes.

  • [To Lady Astor whom she thought was overdressed:] Haven't you forgotten the kitchen stove, my lady?

  • Clothes are the way you present yourself to the world; they affect the way the world feels and thinks about you; subconsciously they affect the way you feel and think about yourself.

  • Life is competitive; clothes gird us for the competition.

  • Marlene Dietrich and Roy Rogers are the only two living humans who should be allowed to wear black leather pants.

    • Edith Head,
    • in C. Robert Jennings, "Body by MacLaine--in Originals by Edith Head," Saturday Evening Post ()
  • Don't wear your clothes too tight. A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to prove you're a lady.

  • The cardinal sin is not being badly dressed, but wearing the right thing in the wrong place.

  • ... many women dress for men before marriage, and for women after marriage ...

  • You know, don't you, that the bikini is only the most important thing since the atom bomb?

    • Diana Vreeland,
    • in Helen Lawrenson, "Androgyne, You're a Funny Valentine," Latins Are Still Lousy Lovers ()
  • One of the few articles of clothing that a man won't try to remove from a woman is an apron.

  • Vogue always did stand for people's lives. I mean, a new dress doesn't get you anywhere; it's the life you're living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.

  • We can lie in the language of dress, or try to tell the truth; but unless we are naked and bald it is impossible to be silent.

  • ... even when we say nothing our clothes are talking noisily to everyone who sees us, telling them who we are, where we come from, what we like to do in bed and a dozen other intimate things ...

  • People get to like a soul, but a satisfactory hat makes an impression at first sight.

  • At this moment the firing in front was very heavy ... Skirts are an impediment when fleeing for your life ...

  • Do you think that clothes have a life of their own, and maybe have unsuitable affairs with opposite styles? I mean — you look at some people — their clothes go on flirting long after the people inside them have lost interest.

  • ... the consolations of religion are nothing to the feeling that your gown is hooked straight in the back.

  • [On being told a woman had been buried in one of Trigère's dresses:] You see? With a Trigère you can go anywhere!

  • Men who wear turtlenecks look like turtles.

  • I just got my first bikini. It's a three-piece: a top, a botton, and a blindfold for you.

  • The world is made up of two types of people: those who can wear light colors, and those (like me) who can rarely get through a day without spilling coffee, splattering salad dressing, or smudging some pen on themselves.

  • A dress made right should allow one to walk, to dance, even to ride horseback.

    • Coco Chanel,
    • in The Good Housekeeping Women's Almanac ()
  • She had the loaded handbag of someone who camps out and seldom goes home, or who imagines life must be full of emergencies.

  • ... fashion has always been a little slow in accommodating large women. ... We're not asking for philanthropy here. Wake up, we're fat, we like nice clothes, and we've got cash.

  • The sense of being well-dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquillity which religion is powerless to bestow.

  • Before you go out, always take off something you've put on, because you probably are wearing too much.

  • He wore, as a protection from the rain, a hat which had lost — in who knows what dim hintermath of time — the usual attributes of shape, colour, and size, and those more subtle race-memory associations which identify hats as hats, and now resembled some obscure natural growth, some moss or sponge or fungus, which had attached itself to a host.

  • Your clothes speak even before you do.

  • Every woman's handbag is a lost and found department in itself. It is strange but things actually disappear there, as by magic. They finally reappear on the surface after three or four investigations and complete pell-mell of the contents. Every busy driver is fatalistically resigned to having a lady barring the passage while searching for a nickel in the depths of her handbag.

  • The handbag is the movable base of her supplies — the depot of her expected needs. A woman's handbag is a mysterious dungeon. It's the key to her real self; the prosaic answer to many poetic conceptions.

  • Clothes are not Botox. Wearing a miniskirt does not take 10 years off your face.

  • ... a woman is not really dressed unless she is wearing a hat.

  • The clothes you wear are a metamorphosis. They change you from the outside in.

  • ... see-through goes with everything ...

  • I retained a vivid image of myself trudging home along 49th Street from ... Julius Garfinckel with the corded handles on the blue-and-white shopping bag digging into my sweaty palm. In the shopping bag is a dress that I know is right, but is wrong, a dress that makes me look as though I am married to the secretary of commerce although I am 15 years old.

    • Constance Casey,
    • "Memoirs of a Congressman's Daughter," in The Washington Post Magazine ()
  • Clothing is a language, for better or worse. Each garment carries an encoded meaning, woven directly into the fabric between the warp and weft.

  • Buttons are the fossils of the sartorial world, enduring long past the garments they were designed to hold together.

  • Designers pay me not to wear their clothes. I get a big fat check at the end of the year and cards from everybody like Dolce & Gabbana, saying, 'I know you didn't wear any of my things. Thank you.'

  • Women dress alike all over the world: They dress to be annoying to other women.

  • The trouble about most Englishwomen is that they will dress as if they had been a mouse in a previous incarnation, or hope to be one in the next.

    • Edith Sitwell,
    • "How to Wear Dramatic Clothes," in Elizabeth Salter and Allanah Harper, eds., Edith Sitwell: Fire of the Mind ()
  • Every man should own at least one dress, and so should lesbians.

  • My favorite fur is wild acrylic.

  • We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this?

  • If you can't dress for success, at least dress for trying.

    • Esther Blumenfeld,
    • in Esther Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpern, Oh, Lord, I Sound Just Like Mama ()
  • ... clothes, after all, are a form of self-expression.

  • She ... had a genius for acquiring frocks made according to the last fashion but one.

  • ... my mother insisted that I had to try things on to make sure they were becoming. Becoming what, I always asked.

  • The origins of clothing are not practical. They are mystical and erotic. The primitive man in the wolf-pelt was not keeping dry; he was saying: 'Look what I killed. Aren't I the best?'

  • Freud's translator accidentally omitted 'fashion' in the psychoanalytic list of primary instinctual drives; along with the drive to sexuality there is the drive to wear odd garments that may cut off circulation, occlude vision, make toes grow sideways, cause riots.

  • In the next election, can we vote to ban those ribbon things that kind of keep clothing on hangers but really just hang out of your armpits?

  • Here I am a woman attorney being told I can't practice law in slacks by a judge dressed in drag.

  • O, well, you win some, you lose some, but you gotta get dressed for 'em all.

  • There was a running gag that Elsa Maxwell always traveled with fourteen trunks and a hatbox — the trunks for her clippings and the hatbox for her other dress. A base canard. I didn't own another dress.

  • She [hoisted] up the waistband of her maternity knickers (now there was a good look — undies in which you could hold a revival meeting) ...

  • I break all the rules and wear everything. Ruffles, ostrich feathers, fox coats. You look fat in fox anyway, so if you start fat, you only look a little fatter.

    • Totie Fields,
    • in Mary Unterbrink, Funny Women: American Comediennes, 1860-1985 ()
  • It's what you leave off a dress that makes it smart.

  • There is only one proper way to wear a beautiful dress: to forget you are wearing it.

  • Shoulder pads make a fashion statement. They say 'linebacker.'

    • Debbie Dingerson,
    • in Lisa Cofield, Debbie Dingerson, and Leah Rush, Mrs. Murphy's Laws ()
  • Mildred, sitting under the hair dryer at The Curl & Go and thumbing through a Victoria's Secret catalogue, felt a shudder and a fleeting moment of commiseration when she saw those tiny thongs the models were sporting in the name of underwear because, as it happened, her own butt cheeks tended to gobble up her Fruit of the Loom For Mature Women white cotton panties like a pair of starving wolverines fighting over a flatfish.

    • Helen Grainge,
    • Canadian writer, dishonorable mention in The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest ()
  • She wore one of those embroidered peasant blouses which look well only on peasants.

    • Helen Eustis,
    • "A Winter's Tale," The Captains and the Kings Depart and Other Stories ()
  • ... if you sleep in sweats, technically that makes them pajamas. Men don't like women in pajamas, not even in bed. It all came back to me, how it was to be with a man, how none of them had ever said, 'If you're going to wear those sweats, you better be packing birth control.'

  • ... I looked at bras. The last thing on my mind was comfort. It seemed to be the last thing on Victoria's Secret's mind, too. It was the land of the underwire, a place where breasts were something to be worn just under the chin.

  • What the men like best are what there's the least sense in, dresses you can't sit down in, that won't stand a lot of action, that hobble you and truss you up and slow you down and fix it so you can't hardly breathe, till finally you're off in one corner, like a bird in a cage, not cluttering up the busy paths in life that men has got to use. That's the styles they really like!

  • There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them.

  • Clothes are to us what fur and feathers are to beasts and birds: they not only add to our appearance, but they are our appearance.

  • What you wear to the airport tells me everything I need to know about you.

  • We must dress every day for the theatre of our lives.

    • Lynn Dell,
    • in Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style ()
  • ... I sported the leggings below and what was tantamount to a giant tea cozy above, my fashion statement basically being, 'I'm sorry.'

  • Dress for the personality you want, not the one you have.