Obsessed by Dress
"Clothes, even when omitted, cannot be escaped."—Anne Hollander Self-adornment (or its stern refusal) has been an unquenchable human impulse in all eras and places. From the toga to the little black dress, Tobi Tobias considers no less than the entire history of the human struggle with fashion by juxtaposing observations from philosophers, writers, and designers-from Plato to Coco Chanel—so that the authors speak to each other about the power of fashion.
Oscar Wilde: "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art."
Jane Austen: "Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim."
From literature high and low, ancient and modern, Obsessed by Dress includes quotations from Dorothy Parker, Marcel Proust, Ru Paul, Mark Twain, Virgil, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Arranged with incomparable flair, these quotes both delight and challenge us to consider the role of clothes in our lives as they assert views about beauty, vanity, identity, and self-expression.
"Show me the clothes of a country and I can write its history."—Anatole France
"Only God helps the badly dressed." —Spanish proverb
"Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since clothes came in fell a trifle short of the wearer's expectation." —Charles Dickens
"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."—Henry David Thoreau
"Almost every man looks more so in a belted trench coat."—Sydney J. Harris
"Brevity is the soul of lingerie." —Dorothy Parker
"There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they would mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking."—Virginia Woolf
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adorn anne Hollander appearance artist attire badly dressed beautiful body bought bright buttons CHARLES BAUDELAIRE charming CHRISTIAN DIOR cloak clothes coat color Copyright costume dancing dandyism dark desire division of Random DORMER STANHOPE fourth drawer dream dwarfs E. B. White elegant ELIZABETH WILSON ELSA SCHIAPARELLI everything Excerpt eyes fabric fantastic fashion feel female finery Freyja GABRIELLE COCO garments GEORGE girl glass gloves hair heart HONORE DE BALZAC Isak Dinesen jacket James Version 1611 JEAN JOHN KENNEDY FRASER lace lady Lolita look mannequin Marge Piercy mark twain mind mirror neck necklace never old dressing gown pairs PAULINE REAGE Penguin Putnam permission of Random petticoats PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE Random House renewed Reprinted by permission satins shirts silk skirt smile soul STANHOPE fourth earl street style suit taffeta things THOMAS CARLYLE translated VIRGINIA WOOLF W. B. YEATS waist walked wardrobe wearer wearing woman women wore