All fashions are charming, or rather relatively charming, each one being a new striving, more or less well conceived, after beauty, an approximate statement of an ideal, the desire for which constantly teases the unsatisfied human mind.
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet)
It’s not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: “This is what you should wear at age twenty”, “That is what you must act like at age twenty-five”, “This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen.” But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are four things admirable for a woman to be, at any age! Whether you are four or forty-four or nineteen! It’s always wonderful to be elegant, it’s always fashionable to have grace, it’s always glamorous to be brave, and it’s always important to own a delectable perfume! Yes, wearing a beautiful fragrance is in style at any age!
C. JoyBell C.
Fashion is the most intense expression of the phenomenon of neomania, which has grown ever since the birth of capitalism. Neomania assumes that purchasing the new is the same as acquiring value. If the purchase of a new garment coincides with the wearing out of an old one, then obviously there is no fashion. If a garment is worn beyond the moment of its natural replacement, there is pauperization. Fashion flourishes on surplus, when someone buys more than he or she needs.
Stephen Bayley (1951-, British design critic)
1. Find your own style and have the courage to stick to it.
2. Choose your clothes for your way of life.
3. Make your wardrobe as versatile as an actress. It should be able to play many roles.
4. Find your happiest colours – the ones that make you feel good.
5. Care for your clothes, like the good friends they are!”
Young people, however, tend to ignore the customs of their elders. Adolescent rebellion has been responsible for all manner of absurd costumes. The more ridiculous a certain fashion is, the more adolescents will cling to it.
If one considers how much reason every person has for anxiety and timid self-concealment, and how three-quarters of his energy and goodwill can be paralyzed and made unfruitful by it, one has to be very grateful to fashion, insofar as it sets that three-quarters free and communicates self-confidence and mutual cheerful agreeableness to those who know they are subject to its law.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)
I who have been involved with all styles of painting can assure you that the only things that fluctuate are the waves of fashion which carry the snobs and speculators; the number of true connoisseurs remains more or less the same.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)
Fashion is born by small facts, trends, or even politics, never by trying to make little pleats and furbelows, by trinkets, by clothes easy to copy, or by the shortening or lengthening of a skirt.
Elsa Schiaparelli (1896-1973, Italian fashion designer)
No doubt the artist is the child of his time; but woe to him if he is also its disciple, or even its favorite.
Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)
It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of a man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire… Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Clothes as text, clothes as narration, clothes as a story. Clothes as the story of our lives. And if you were to gather all the clothes you have ever owned in all your life, each baby shoe and winter coat and wedding dress, you would have your autobiography.
Linda Grant, The Thoughtful Dresser
Perhaps the most irrational fashion act of all was the male habit for 150 years of wearing wigs. Samuel Pepys, as with so many things, was in the vanguard, noting with some apprehension the purchase of a wig in 1663 when wigs were not yet common. It was such a novelty that he feared people would laugh at him in church; he was greatly relieved, and a little proud, to find that they did not. He also worried, not unreasonably, that the hair of wigs might come from plague victims. Perhaps nothing says more about the power of fashion than that Pepys continued wearing wigs even while wondering if they might kill him.
Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life
The pursuit of Fashion is the attempt of the middle class to co-opt tragedy. In adopting the clothing, speech, and personal habits of those in straitened, dangerous, or pitiful circumstances, the middle class seeks to have what it feels to be the exigent and nonequivocal experiences had by those it emulates.
David Mamet (1947-, American playwright)
The same costume will be Indecent 10 years before its time, Shameless 5 years before its time, Outre (daring) 1 year before its time, Smart, Dowdy 1 year after its time, Hideous 10 years after its time, Ridiculous 20 years after its time, Amusing 30 years after its time, Quaint 50 years after its time, Charming 70 years after its time, Romantic 100 years after its time, Beautiful 150 years after its time.
I had an interview once with some German journalist—some horrible, ugly woman. It was in the early days after the communists—maybe a week after—and she wore a yellow sweater that was kind of see-through. She had huge tits and a huge black bra, and she said to me, ‘It’s impolite; remove your glasses.’ I said, ‘Do I ask you to remove your bra?
Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Just as vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.
And falsehoods the truths of other people. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself. To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband
Fashion is not public opinion, or the result of embodiment of public opinion. It may be that public opinion will condemn the shape of a bonnet, as it may venture to do always, and with the certainty of being right nine times in ten: but fashion will place it upon the head of every woman in America; and, were it literally a crown of thorns, she would smile contentedly beneath the imposition.
Josiah Gilbert Holland
Ideas about a person’s place in society, his role, lifestyle, and ego qualities will lose their hold as the cohesive forces in society disintegrate. Subculture values will proliferate to such a bewildering extent that a whole new class of professionals will arise to control them. Such a Transmutation Technology will deal in fashions, in ways of being. Lifestyle consultants will become the new priests of our civilizations. They will be the new magicians.
Peter J. Carroll, Liber Null and Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic
We ought always to conform to the manners of the greater number, and so behave as not to draw attention to ourselves. Excess either way shocks, and every man truly wise ought to attend to this in his dress as well as language, never to be affected in anything and follow without being in too great haste the changes of fashion.
The “fashion-beauty complex’,” representing the corporate interests involved in the fashion and beauty industries, has, Bartky argues, taken over from the family and church as “central producers and regulators of ‘femininity’. This complex promotes itself to women as seeking to, “glorify the female body and to provide opportunities for narcissistic indulgence” but in fact its aim is to “depreciate woman’s body and deal a blow to her narcissism” so that she will buy more products. The result is that a woman feels constantly deficient and that her body requires “either alteration or else heroic measures merely to conserve it”
Sheila Jeffreys, Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West