Like everything in life, much has been quoted (and probably misquoted) about clothes and fashion. Some of it is good sense, some of it is rubbish – which is which may just come down to personal opinion! I’ve picked some of my favourite quotes (and they’re favourites for a variety of reasons) which pair up nicely so see if you agree with my assessment of them.
Fashion versus Style
“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” Diane von Furstenberg
As a designer, DvF should know what she’s talking about and I happen to agree with her. We do all have a sense of style but sometimes it’s simply about being brave enough to recognise it, and stop being overly influenced by what we think is fashionable. (That’s where I can help, of course!)
“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” Lauren Hutton
Early American supermodel Lauren would know all about those fashion shows, of course. Although I can see what she’s saying, I think you first need to understand what your own style is and what suits you. It might be the most stylish jacket ever but if you are short-waisted, for example, it may not look stylish on you!
Image versus Essence
“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” Miuccia Prada
They say you have seven seconds to make a first impression and what you are wearing is probably a large part of that. Evolution has taught us to read each other, initially to establish if you are a threat or not. Beyond that, we do stereotype people based on our own previous experiences. Think about the first impression your clothes make for you and you could be leveraging an asset you didn’t know you had.
“I think we all know boldness when we see it. Nothing makes me smile more than when I see someone being fully themselves, with their own individual style and character, whatever that is.” Angelina Jolie
Who knew I have something in common with Angelina? Like her, I love to see someone who is themselves, is comfortable with themselves and is confident in expressing that to the world through how they dress.
Dreams versus Reality
“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” Ralph Lauren
You might think that’s an overstatement from a man famous for jeans and polo shirts but let’s cut him some slack: I can see what he’s driving at. We have all looked at a beautiful dress/ pair of shoes /whatever and imagined how wonderful our life would be if only we owned it. That’s what a good designer can do – give us permission to leave reality and dream, just for a little while!
“In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.” Elsa Schiaparelli
And, talking of reality… I suppose you don’t have a shade of shocking pink named after you if you aren’t known for being outrageous. I’m sure some of you will have heard of the ‘hemline index’, the theory that hemlines rise when the stock market falls, and vice versa. Perhaps a natural instinct to express ourselves in one of the few ways we can when times are hard. (Today it seems to be low-rise waists responding to raising interest rates…!)
Cost versus Value
“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.” Yves Saint Laurent
YSL knew what he was talking about. I once heard it said that a true lady or gentleman could fit in anywhere and make anyone feel at ease. That’s probably quite an old-fashioned sentiment now but, for me, it remains very true. Flaunting your designer labels isn’t going to make you many friends!
“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” Carrie Bradshaw
Even if you have never watched an episode of “Sex and the City”, you can’t have failed to notice that its star is a total clothes horse! Whatever the latest trend, she has to have it. If, like Carrie, you have a great job and no dependents, high end fashion may be your hobby and your enjoyment. However, for most of the rest of us, I suspect we probably have better things to spend our money on. Fortunately, I truly believe that it’s possible to look stylish without having a closet full of designer pieces!
Shoes versus the World
“You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes. Too many women think that they are unimportant, but the real proof of an elegant woman is what is on her feet.” Christian Dior
What you wear on your feet does affect so much else about you: how you stand, how you walk, how comfortable you feel. They are like the solid foundations for you to build your wardrobe on. I believe that good shoes really are an investment and can last you for years with care.
One well-known actress put the same thought rather more succinctly:
“I firmly believe that, with the right footwear, one can rule the world.” Bette Midler
The last word…
“Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wear them are.” Anne Klein
Designing post-war, Anne Klein created real clothes for real women and was regarded as a trailblazer. But she kept a firm grip on reality. We can all use our clothes to give us confidence, make a great impression and ensure we feel comfortable; it is this that helps us change the world, not the clothes themselves.
Browse dozens of other fashion quotes in this interesting article from Harpers Bazaar.