32 Great Author Quotes On Fashion

Fashion has delighted and tormented us for as long as there have been clothes to wear. Iconic designers and culture cognoscenti have left us with as many unforgettable quotes about style as groundbreaking trends. Quotes like "I don't do fashion, I AM fashion," by Coco Chanel, or Simon Doonan's “Wear red and other women will assume that you are a predatory vixen who is out to steal their husbands and suck the blood of their children."
Even politicians recognize fashion’s power — as potential 2016 presidential candidate and pantsuit icon Hillary Clinton once remarked, “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” In honor of Fashion Week, we review some of the best quotes that authors have to offer on the world of fashion, from ancient Greek literature and haute-couture biographies to the pages of chick lit and YA dystopias, poetry, and pop memoirs. Read on for some truly Chanel-worthy gems.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House Publishing Group.
"Each girl had her own individual style when it came to piling on the makeup. My particular thing was to draw an extra-wide stroke emphasizing the crease of the eye socket and add extravagantly long, spidery lines below the eye, a little like doll's lashes, then paint a dot toward the inner corner for reasons I can't exactly articulate except that it looked nice and ‘now.’ Later I discovered my crazy new eyelash look being called ‘twiglets’ and credited to the young British model Twiggy. Well, they were very much mine. I was probably doing them before she was born!”
― Grace Coddington, Grace, $24.90, available at Barnes & Noble.
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"Frankly, in terms of lingerie, I felt sexiest in my uniform: high waist cotton panties...and a sports bra, if any bra at all. Lingerie seems not to be the vehicle that produces feminine self-confidence and sexiness, but rather the vehicle to get a rise out of our male counterparts."
― Leandra Medine, Man Repeller, $16.95, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us.”
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando, $12.95, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Old age is no longer an achievement because if others are aware of it you are only the loser, you become a responsibility and your end is good riddance as you are no longer a useful citizen ― clothes, fashion, and appearance are part of present day life ― no one looks for perfections as it is static, but everyone expects an amusing effort, well planned and thought through, and carefully maintained.”
― Diana Vreeland, Memos: The Vogue Years, $37.62, available at Amazon.
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“Every designer needs an iconic look. If the South Park boys cannot make a recognizable cartoon of you, then you need to up the ante. You need a signature flourish, non?”
― Simon Doonan, The Asylum, $19.08, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“I'm sure they didn't notice anything but you. You should wear flames more often,’ he says. ‘They suit you.’”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games, $6.10, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“It was my friend Frank, a writer in San Francisco, who finally set me straight. When asked about my new look he put down his fork and stared at me for a few moments. ‘A bow tie announces to the world you can no longer get an erection.’”
― David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, $13.89, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Boys say they don't mind how you get your hair done. But then they leave you for someone with really great standard girl hair and the next thing you know you're alone with a masculine crop crying into your granola.”
― Alexa Chung, It, $24.73, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Crown Publishing Group.
“This was the first time since I’d started working there that I hadn’t received a look of all-out disgust or, at the very least, a snarky comment, and all it had taken was a SWAT team of New York fashion editors, a collection of Parisian hair and makeup stylists, and a hefty selection of the world’s finest and most expensive clothing.”
― Lauren Weisberger, The Devil Wears Prada, $12.79, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Crown Publishing Group.
“And when I say the Fashion Police, of course I’m speaking of the small group of screeching gay guys and fashion ‘experts’ on that E! show led by the reanimated corpse of Joan Rivers.”
― Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), $10.17, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“She wore tight corsets to give her a teeny waist ― I helped her lace them up ― but they had the effect of causing her to faint. Mom called it the vapors and said it was a sign of her high breeding and delicate nature. I thought it was a sign that the corset made it hard to breathe.”
―Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses, $11.96, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.”
― Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, $7.95, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“I love new clothes. If everyone could just wear new clothes every day, I reckon depression wouldn’t exist anymore.”
― Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic, $7.99, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Crown Publishing Group.
“My attitude is if fashion says it's forbidden, I'm going to do it.”
― Michael Jackson, Moonwalk, $20.26, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.
“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.”
― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City, $7.99, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“I once saw a Betsey Johnson runway show that featured thongs and ‘ass cleavage,’ and I thought, This is the future. I immediately pulled my thong over my hipbones, pulled my baggy hip-hop jeans down a little too low, and went to the movies with a friend who didn't tell me, until years later, how mortified he was to be seen with me."
―Cintra Wilson, It's So You: 35 Women Write About Personal Expression Through Fashion and Style, $12.77, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.
“She was wearing an ivory silk blouse with a wedding present-sized bow, a long brown cardigan the color of dog doo, boot-legged camel-colored wool trousers with a crease down the front of each leg, and matching patent leather flats with hieroglyphic-like gold hardware on each toe. Olympia had never understood where her sister got her fashion sense...‘New pants?’ she found herself asking.”
― Lucinda Rosenfeld, The Pretty One, $11.25, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Nothing is so hideous as an obsolete fashion.”
― Stendhal, On Love, $14.24, available at Amazon.
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Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Group.
“Needle, needle, dip and dart,
Thrusting up and down,
Where's the man could ease a heart
Like a satin gown?”
― Dorothy Parker, Complete Poems, $13.26, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“There's never a new fashion but it's old.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, $14.24, available at Amazon.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.
“Boys are like purses. You're always gonna have that one boy that you're always comfortable with and you know you'll always kind of like. That's your purse that you wear everywhere. Then you have that gorgeous bag that you want everyone to see you with but the gorgeous bag is usually an asshole or costs a lot of money. Then you have those other purses that you really like but you really don't want to be seen with.”
―Lauren Conrad, Sugar and Spice, $9.99 available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh, $9.89, available at Amazon.
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“Joan of Arc had style. Jesus had style.”
―Charles Bukowski, Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook, $13.79, available at Amazon.
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“Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, $14.27, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he’s well dressed. There ain’t much credit in that.”
― Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, $14.58, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch.”
― Gilda Radner, It’s Always Something, $11.34, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Oxford University Press.
“She was very near hating him now; yet the sound of his voice, the way the light fell on his thin, dark hair, the way he sat and moved and wore his clothes — she was conscious that even these trivial things were inwoven with her deepest life.”
― Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, $10.29, available at Barnes & Noble.
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“Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.”
― Epictetus, The Discourses of Epictetus, $8.96, available at Amazon.
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“Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self, and helps define me as a man to whom details matter.”
― Gay Talese, The Gay Talese Reader, $12.05, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Wakefield Press.
“The boor covers himself, the rich man or the fool adorns himself, and the elegant man gets dressed.”
― Honoré de Balzac, Treatise on Elegant Living, $9.88, available at Amazon.
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“The Yanks always wore neckties that leapt out in front of their shirts, as if to announce the awkwardness to follow.”
― Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, $14.93, available at Barnes & Noble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pushkin Press Ltd.
“The point of jewelry is to pay respect to those for whom, and at whose homes, one wears it.”
—Coco Chanel, The Allure of Chanel, $15.77, available at Barnes & Noble.
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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
—Leonardo Da Vinci
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"One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art."
— Oscar Wilde
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"I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress."
— Alexander McQueen
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"To me, clothing is a form of self-expression — there are hints about who you are in what you wear."
— Marc Jacobs
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"Fashions fade, style is eternal."
— Yves Saint-Laurent
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"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak."

— Rachel Zoe
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