The Philosophy of Dress - Oscar Wilde (1885)



This is his article for The New York Tribune in 1885. What intrigued Wilde was Pre - Raphaelite art which depicted natural and classical subjects. "Good dress" should drape in robes of simplistic design. Here are some of his words of wisdom:

1. Fashion is merely a form of ugliness so absolutely unbearable that we have to alter it every six months!

2. The beauty of a dress depends entirely and absolutely on the loveliness it shields, and on the freedom and motion that it does not impede.

3. Beauty is always organic, and comes from within, and not from without, comes from the perfection of its own being and not from any added prettiness.

4. Fashion rests upon folly. Art rests upon law. Fashion is ephemeral. Art is eternal.

5. A fashionable dress there is far too much "shaping"; the very wealthy of course will not care, but it worth while to remind those who are not millionaire that the more seams the more shabbiness.

6. A well – made dress is a simple dress that hangs from the shoulders, that takes its shape from the figures and its folds from the movement of the girls who wears it, and what I mean by a badly made dress is an elaborate structure of heterogeneous material, etc.

7. That each separate article of apparel is to be suspended from the shoulders always, and never from the waist.

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