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History of American Fashion Quotes

They Said It

"Clothes are but a symbol of something hid deep beneath."

- Virginia Woolf, Orlando, 1928238
"We mean business this week or no washing."

- the primarily African-American members of the Washing Society of Atlanta, in a letter to the mayor, during their strike for a fixed rate and better pay, 1881239
"Above all things, avoid a dress suit. You have no idea of the harm that dress suits have done in politics. They are not so fatal to young politicians as civil service reform and drink, but they have scores of victims."

- George Washington Plunkitt, ward boss of New York's Tammany Hall, 1905240
"Have you ever stopped to think that the serious subject of woman's progress and the frivolous subject of woman's clothes are very closely connected?"

- Woman's Home Companion, 1914241
"It's a fad like hot pants; however, I think it crosses the line when a person shows their backside. You can't legislate how people dress, but you can legislate when people begin to become indecent by exposing their body parts."

- Councilwoman Annette Lartigue of Trenton, New Jersey, who drafted an ordinance against sagging pants in public, 2007242
"It's up to the person who's wearing the pants."

- Jamarcus Marshall, a high school sophomore in Mansfield, Louisiana, on recent efforts to ban the "saggin'" style, 2007243
"Look!... She has black bras on the line and black underwear... She didn't buy them for my son—she's fooling around with somebody... that's how you... always tell."

- a Brooklyn housewife, in Clotheslines, by Roberta Cantwell, 1981244
"Love it or hate it, what we wear is a huge part of how we communicate with the world. And the messages clothes send are bigger than just the 'hipness' of the latest fashion. Garments and accessories have always been a key part of how humans show respect for one another, how sexuality and gender are established, and how values and traditions are honored. Not least of all, clothes are central to personal aesthetics and individuality."

- Laine Bergeson, Utne, 2003245
"Brevity is the Soul of Lingerie."

- Dorothy Parker, 1934246
"Their blue suits mean business as usual. I say elect this dress."

- Diane Feinstein, running unsuccessfully for governor of California, 1990247
"Wasn't the controversy a blessing in disguise? You mean, did we sell more jeans? Yes, of course!"

- Calvin Klein, 1984248
"This drift down, this lack of dressing [among American presidents since Kennedy], shows a careless approach to everything. If you don't care how you look, you don't care what you do. It just exemplifies what is happening to America."

- Irma Lipton, executive director of the Custom Tailors and Designers Association, 1995249
"Some of the women blame me very much because I spend so much money on clothes. They say that instead of $1 a week I ought not to spend more than 25 cents a week on clothes, and that I should save the rest. But a girl must have clothes if she is to go into high society at Ulmer Park or Coney Island or the theatre."

- Sadie Frowne, a Manhattan sweatshop worker who made less than $7 a week, 1902250

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