C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Fashion is aristocratic-autocratic.

J. G. Holland.

The fashion wears out more apparel than the man.


Fashionability is a kind of elevated vulgarity.

George Darley.

Fashion is the bastard of vanity, dressed by art.


As soon as fashion is universal, it is out of date.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

Lie ten nights awake carving the fashion of a new doublet.


He is only fantastical that is not in fashion.


Ridiculous modes, invented by ignorance, and adopted by folly.


Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.

O. W. Holmes.

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.


Fashion, a word which knaves and fools may use, their knavery and folly to excuse.


Silks, velvets, calicoes, and the whole lexicon of female fopperies.


While fashion’s brightest arts decoy, the heart, distrusting, asks if this be joy.


A woman would be in despair if Nature had formed her as fashion makes her appear.

Mlle. de l’Espinasse.

Fashion seldom interferes with nature without diminishing her grace and efficiency.


A fashionable woman is always in love—with herself.

La Rochefoucauld.

Fashion is the veriest goddess of semblance and of shade.


  • The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
  • The observed of all observers.
  • Shakespeare.

    Fashion is, for the most part, nothing but the ostentation of riches.


    Women cherish fashion because it rejuvenates them, or at least renews them.

    Madame de Preizeux.

    Fashion is a potency in art, making it hard to judge between the temporary and the lasting.


    Change of fashions is the tax which industry imposes on the vanity of the rich.


  • Be not the first by whom the new is tried,
  • Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
  • Pope.

    The secret of fashion is to surprise and never to disappoint.


    Though wrong the mode, comply; more sense is shown in wearing others’ follies than our own.


    Fashion’s smile has given wit to dullness and grace to deformity, and has brought everything into vogue, by turns, except virtue.


    New customs, though they be never so ridiculous,—nay, let them be unmanly,—yet are followed.


    There would not be so much harm in the giddy following the fashion, if somehow the wise could always set them.


    Nothing is thought rare which is not new, and followed; yet we know that what was worn some twenty years ago comes into grace again.

    Beaumont and Fletcher.

    Fashion is gentility running away from vulgarity, and afraid of being overtaken by it. It is a sign the two things are not far asunder.


    As good be out of the World as out of the Fashion.

    Colley Cibber.

    Be neither too early in the fashion, nor too long out of it; nor at any time in the extremes of it.


    Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.


    He alone is a man who can resist the genius of the age, the tone of fashion with vigorous simplicity and modest courage.


    Ladies of fashion starve their happiness to feed their vanity, and their love to feed their pride.


    It is the rule of rules, and the general law of all laws, that every person should observe those of the place where he is.


    Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity (so it be new, there is no respect how vile) that is not quickly buzzed into the ears?


    Those who seem to lead the public taste are, in general, merely outrunning it in the direction which it is spontaneously pursuing.


    As the eye becomes blinded by fashion to positive deformity, so, through social conventionalism, the conscience becomes blinded to positive immorality.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    The coat of the buffalo never pinches under the arm, never puckers at the shoulders; it is always the same, yet never old fashioned nor out of date.

    Theodore Parker.

    We laugh heartily to see a whole flock of sheep jump because one did so. Might not one imagine that superior beings do the same, and for exactly the same reason?


    When I would go a-visiting, I find that I go off the fashionable street,—not being inclined to change my dress,—to where man meets man, and not polished shoe meets shoe.


    One would not object to the prevalent notion that whatever is fashionable is right, if our rulers of the mode would contrive that whatever is right should be fashionable.


    Custom is the law of one description of fools and fashion of another; but the two parties often clash; for precedent is the legislator of the first, and novelty of the last.


  • And as the French we conquer’d once,
  • Now give us laws for pantaloons,
  • The length of breeches and the gathers,
  • Port-cannons, periwigs, and feathers.
  • Butler.

    Thus grows up fashion, an equivocal semblance, the most puissant, the most fantastic and frivolous, the most feared and followed, and which morals and violence assault in vain.


    Fashion is a great restraint upon your persons of taste and fancy; who would otherwise in the most trifling instances be able to distinguish themselves from the vulgar.


    We are taught to clothe our minds, as we do our bodies, after the fashion in vogue; and it is accounted fantastical, or something worse, not to do so.


  • Our dress still varying, nor to forms confined,
  • Shifts like the sands, the sport of every wind.
  • Propertius.

    Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is, how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?


    The Empress of France had but to change the position of a ribbon to set all the ribbons in Christendom to rustling. A single word from her convulsed the whalebone market of the world.

    J. G. Holland.

    Fashion builds her temple in the capital of some mighty empire, and having selected four or five hundred of the silliest people it contains, she dubs them with the magnificent and imposing title of “the world.”


    Fashion being the art of those who must purchase notice at some cheaper rate than that of being beautiful, loves to do rash and extravagant things. She must be forever new, or she becomes insipid.


    Fashion is the veriest goddess of semblance and of shade; to be happy is of far less consequence to her worshippers than to appear so; even pleasure itself they sacrifice to parade, and enjoyment to ostentation.


    Fashion is a tyrant from which nothing frees us. We must suit ourselves to its fantastic tastes. But being compelled to live under its foolish laws, the wise man is never the first to follow, nor the last to keep it.


  • I’ll be at charges for a looking-glass,
  • And entertain some score or two of tailors,
  • To study fashions to adorn my body:
  • Since I am crept in favour with myself,
  • I will maintain it with some little cost.
  • Shakespeare.

    Fashion is the abortive issue of vain ostentation and exclusive egotism: it is haughty, trifling, affected, servile, despotic, mean and ambitious, precise and fantastical, all in a breath,—tied to no rule, and bound to conform to every whim of the moment.


    Avoid singularity. There may often be less vanity in following the new modes than in adhering to the old ones. It is true that the foolish invent them, but the wise may conform to, instead of contradicting, them.


    I have seen many men and women of fashion die, and I never saw one of them die well. The trappings off, there they lay on the tumbled pillow, and there were just two things that bothered them, a wasted life and a coming eternity.


    Fashion is an odd jumble of contradictions, of sympathies and antipathies. It exists only by its being participated among a certain number of persons, and its essence is destroyed by being communicated to a greater number.***Fashion constantly begins and ends in the two things it abhors most,—singularity and vulgarity.


    The mere leader of fashion has no genuine claim to supremacy; at least, no abiding assurance of it. He has embroidered his title upon his waistcoat, and carries his worth in his watch chain; and, if he is allowed any real precedence for this it is almost a moral swindle,—a way of obtaining goods under false pretences.


    I have been told by persons of experience in matters of taste, that the fashions follow a law of gradation, and are never arbitrary. The new mode is always only a step onward in the same direction as the last mode; and a cultivated eye is prepared for and predicts the new fashion.


    We ought always to conform to the manners of the greater number, and so behave as not to draw attention to ourselves. Excess either way shocks, and every man truly wise ought to attend to this in his dress as well as language, never to be affected in anything, and follow without being in too great haste the changes of fashion.


    Manners have been somewhat cynically defined to be a contrivance of wise men to keep fools at a distance. Fashion is shrewd to detect those who do not belong to her train, and seldom wastes her attentions. Society is very swift in its instincts, and if you do not belong to it, resists and sneers at you, or quietly drops you.


    Something clearly is wrong with fashionable women. They accept the thinnest gilt, the poorest pinchbeck, for gold. They care more for a dreary social pre-eminence than for home or children. They find in extravagance of living and a vulgar costliness of dress their only expression of vague desire for the beauty and elegance of life.

    Mrs. L. G. Calhoun.

    Fashion is not public opinion, or the result of embodiment of public opinion. It may be that public opinion will condemn the shape of a bonnet, as it may venture to do always, and with the certainty of being right nine times in ten: but fashion will place it upon the head of every woman in America; and, were it literally a crown of thorns, she would smile contentedly beneath the imposition.

    J. G. Holland.

  • Mark yonder pomp of costly fashion,
  • Round the wealthy bride;
  • But when compar’d with real passion
  • Poor is all that pride,—
  • What are their showy treasures?
  • What are their noisy pleasures?
  • The gay, gaudy glare of vanity and art—
  • The polish’d jewels blaze
  • May draw the wond’ring gaze,
  • But never, never can come near the worthy heart.
  • Burns.

  • Fashion, leader of a chatt’ring train,
  • Whom man for his own hurt permits to reign
  • Who shifts and changes all things but his shape,
  • And would degrade her vot’ry to an ape,
  • The fruitful parent of abuse and wrong,
  • Holds a usurp’d dominion o’er his tongue,
  • There sits and prompts him with his own disgrace,
  • Prescribes the theme, the tone, and the grimace,
  • And when accomplish’d in her wayward school,
  • Calls gentleman whom she has made a fool.
  • Cowper.

    Beauty too often sacrifices to fashion. The spirit of fashion is not the beautiful, but the wilful; not the graceful, but the fantastic; not the superior in the abstract, but the superior in the worst of all concretes,—the vulgar. The high point of taste and elegance is to be sought for, not in the most fashionable circles, but in the best-bred, and such as can dispense with the eternal necessity of never being twice the same.

    Leigh Hunt.

    Without depth of thought or earnestness of feeling or strength of purpose, living an unreal life, sacrificing substance to show, substituting the fictitious for the natural, mistaking a crowd for society, finding its chief pleasure in ridicule, and exhausting its ingenuity in expedients for killing time, fashion is among the last influences under which a human being who respects himself, or who comprehends the great end of life, would desire to be placed.