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Clothing is material used to cover parts of the human body for protection against the environment, for comfort and body modesty, and as personal decoration ("fashion"), often reflecting religious, cultural, and social customs. Clothes are individual articles of clothing (although the term is always used in plural form).


  • Che quant' era più ornata, era più brutta.
    • Who seems most hideous when adorned the most.
    • Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (1516), XX. 116.
  • Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new.
  • His locked, lettered, braw brass collar,
    Shewed him the gentleman and scholar.
  • And said to myself, as I lit my cigar,
    "Supposing a man had the wealth of the Czar
    Of the Russias to boot, for the rest of his days,
    On the whole do you think he would have much to spare
    If he married a woman with nothing to wear?"
  • But I do mean to say, I have heard her declare,
    When at the same moment she had on a dress
    Which cost five hundred dollars, and not a cent less,
    And jewelry worth ten times more, I should guess,
    That she had not a thing in the wide world to wear!
  • Dresses for breakfasts, and dinners, and balls.
    Dresses to sit in, and stand in, and walk in;
    Dresses to dance in, and flirt in, and talk in,
    Dresses in which to do nothing at all;
    Dresses for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall;
    All of them different in color and shape.
    Silk, muslin, and lace, velvet, satin, and crape,
    Brocade and broadcloth, and other material,
    Quite as expensive and much more ethereal.
  • Miss Flora McFlimsey of Madison Square,
    Has made three separate journeys to Paris,
    And her father assures me each time she was there
    That she and her friend Mrs. Harris
    * * * * * *
    Spent six consecutive weeks, without stopping
    In one continuous round of shopping,—
    * * * * * *
    And yet, though scarce three months have passed since the day
    This merchandise went on twelve carts, up Broadway,
    This same Miss McFlimsey of Madison Square
    The last time we met was in utter despair
    Because she had nothing whatever to wear.
  • Around his form his loose long robe was thrown,
    And wrapt a breast bestowed on heaven alone.
    • Lord Byron, The Corsair (1814), Canto II, Stanza 3.
  • Dress drains our cellar dry,
    And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires
    And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
    Where peace and hospitality might reign.
  • Thy clothes are all the soul thou hast.
    • John Fletcher, The Honest Man's Fortune (c. 1613; published 1647), Act V, scene 3, line 170.
  • They stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours.
    • Genesis, XXXVII. 23.
  • A night-cap deck'd his brows instead of bay,
    A cap by night,—a stocking all the day.
    • Oliver Goldsmith, description of an Author's Bedchamber, in Citizen of the World, Letter 30. The Author's Club. (1760).
  • It's like sending them ruffles, when wanting a shirt.
  • The nakedness of the indigent world may be clothed from the trimmings of the vain.
  • Fine clothes are good only as they supply the want of other means of procuring respect.
  • Apes are apes though clothed in scarlet.
    • Ben Jonson, The Poetaster (1601), Act V, scene 3.
  • Let thy attyre bee comely, but not costly.
  • Brevity is the soul of lingerie.
  • Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
  • So tedious is this day,
    As is the night before some festival
    To an impatient child, that hath new robes,
    And may not wear them.
  • With silken coats, and caps, and golden rings,
    With ruffs, and cuffs, and farthingales, and things;
    With scarfs, and fans, and double change of bravery,
    With amber bracelets, beads, and all this knavery.
  • He will come to her in yellow stockings, and 'tis a color she abhors; and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests.
  • She wears her clothes as if they were thrown on her with a pitchfork.
  • Her polish'd limbs,
    Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire;
    Beyond the pomp of dress; for Loveliness
    Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
    But is, when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most.
  • She's adorned
    Amply, that in her husband's eye looks lovely,—
    The truest mirror that an honest wife
    Can see her beauty in!
    • John Tobin, The Honeymoon (1770), Act III, scene 4.
  • How his eyes languish! how his thoughts adore
    That painted coat, which Joseph never wore!
    He shows, on holidays, a sacred pin.
    That touch'd the ruff, that touched Queen Bess' chin.
    • Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725–28), Satire IV, line 119.
  • Their feet through faithless leather met the dirt,
    And oftener chang'd their principles than shirt.
  • Vestis facit virum.
    • English: Clothes make the man.
    • Latin proverb, unidentfied origin
    • Quoted in Halyard, Ned (1849). "The Owners". Sea Songs, Tales, Etc.. Palmer & Hoby. pp. page 263. Retrieved on 2008-03-13. 
  • O fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein,
    But every flowing limb in pleasure drowns,
    And heightens ease with grace.
  • Kleiden machen Leute: nicht Leute von Verstand.
    • English: Clothes make the man, but not the man of sense.
    • German proverb, unidentfied origin
    • Quoted in Weston, Stephen (1824). "Pecularities of the German". The Englishman Abroad, in Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. Oxford University. pp. page 101. Retrieved on 2008-03-13. 
  • Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us.
  • Thus, there is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we them.


Décolletage is a low neckline on a woman's dress, designed to emphasize but not quite reveal a woman's breasts.

  • When my modiste first tried it on me I asked if she was dressing me for an opera or an operation.
    • Nora Bayes, commenting on the gasps of friends over an extremely décolleté dress
    • Samuels, Charles and Louise (1974). Once upon a Stage: The Merry World of Vaudeville. Cornwall, NY: Cornwall Press. pp. page 87. ISBN 0-396-07030-2. 

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 31-33.
  • To a woman, the consciousness of being well dressed gives a sense of tranquillity which religion fails to bestow.
  • To treat a poor wretch with a bottle of Burgundy, and fill his snuff-box, is like giving a pair of laced ruffles to a man that has never a shirt on his back.
  • Beauty when most unclothed is clothed best.
  • Old Grimes is dead, that good old man,
    We ne'er shall see him more;
    He used to wear a long black coat
    All button'd down before.
  • Old Rose is dead, that good old man,
    We ne'er shall see him more;
    He used to wear an old blue coat
    All buttoned down before.
    • Old Rose. Song referred to in Walton's Compleat Angler, Part I, Chapter II.
  • Old Abram Brown is dead and gone,—
    You'll never see him more;
    He used to wear a long brown coat
    That buttoned down before.
  • John Lee is dead, that good old man,—
    We ne'er shall see him more:
    He used to wear an old drab coat
    All buttoned down before.
    • To the memory of John Lee, who died May 21, 1823. An inscription in Matherne Churchyard.
  • A sweet disorder in the dresse
    Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse.
  • A winning wave, (deserving note).
    In the tempestuous petticote,
    A careless shoe-string, in whose tye
    I see a wilde civility,—
    Doe more bewitch me than when art
    Is too precise in every part.
  • It is not linen you're wearing out,
    But human creatures' lives.
  • A vest as admired Voltiger had on,
    Which from this Island's foes his grandsire won,
    Whose artful colour pass'd the Tyrian dye,
    Obliged to triumph in this legacy.
    • Edward Howard, The British Princes (1669), p. 96. See also Boswell, Life of Johnson (1769). European Mag., April, 1792. Steele, in the Spectator. The lines are thought to be a forgery of William Henry Ireland's.
  • A painted vest Prince Voltiger had on,
    Which from a naked Pict his grandsire won.
    • Attributed to Sir Richard Blackmore. (Not in Works). Probably a parody of above.
  • They were attempting to put on
    Raiment from naked bodies won.
    • Matthew Green, The Spleen. Lines called out by Blackmore's parody.
  • After all there is something about a wedding-gown prettier than in any other gown in the world.
  • Still to be neat, still to be drest,
    As you were going to a feast,
    Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd.
    Lady, it is to be presumed,
    Though art's hid causes are not found,
    All is not sweet, all is not sound.
    • Ben Jonson, Epicæne; or, The Silent Woman, Act I, scene 1. (Song). Translation from Bonnefonius. First part an imitation of Petronius, Satyricon.
  • Each Bond-street buck conceits, unhappy elf;
    He shows his clothes! alas! he shows himself.
    O that they knew, these overdrest self-lovers,
    What hides the body oft the mind discovers.
  • Neat, not gaudy.
  • Dwellers in huts and in marble halls—
    From Shepherdess up to Queen—
    Cared little for bonnets, and less for shawls,
    And nothing for crinoline.
    But now simplicity's not the rage,
    And it's funny to think how cold
    The dress they wore in the Golden Age
    Would seem in the Age of Gold.
  • Not caring, so that sumpter-horse, the back
    Be hung with gaudy trappings, in what course
    Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul.
  • Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet;
    In short, my deary, kiss me! and be quiet.
  • When this old cap was new
    'Tis since two hundred years.
  • He was a wight of high renowne,
    And thosne but of a low degree:
    Itt's pride that putts the countrye downe,
    Man, take thine old cloake about thee.
  • My galligaskins, that have long withstood
    The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,
    By time subdued (what will not time subdue!)
    An horrid chasm disclosed.
  • Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
    Emblem right meet of decency does yield.
  • Now old Tredgortha's dead and gone,
    We ne'er shall see him more;
    He used to wear an old grey coat,
    All buttoned down before.
    • Rupert Simms, at beginning of list of John Tredgortha's works in Bibliotheca Staffordiensis (1894).
  • Attired to please herself: no gems of any kind
    She wore, nor aught of borrowed gloss in Nature's stead;
    And, then her long, loose hair flung deftly round her head
    Fell carelessly behind.
    • Terence, Self-Tormentor, Act II, scene 2. F. W. Ricord's translation.
  • So for thy spirit did devise
    Its Maker seemly garniture,
    Of its own essence parcel pure,—
    From grave simplicities a dress,
    And reticent demureness,
    And love encinctured with reserve;
    Which the woven vesture would subserve.
    For outward robes in their ostents
    Should show the soul's habiliments.
    Therefore I say,—Thou'rt fair even so,
    But better Fair I use to know.
  • La ropa no da ciencia.

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