101 Fashion Quotes So Timeless They’re Basically Iconic

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Life becomes easier when you have mantras to turn to—words of wisdom so reliable you can refer to them time and time again, trusting them to deliver apt advice no matter what stage of life you’re in. These tidbits (in this case, famous fashion quotes) push us forward when little else seems to do the trick. They illuminate even the most clouded of situations and remind us of what we believed when things were easier to sift through, to parse, to understand. Though mantras make obvious sense for big-picture dilemmas and life-changing moments, their usefulness far exceeds this application. We humans grapple with all kinds of stuff—what to eat for dinner, when to move to a new city, what the next step in a relationship should look like.

Though some questions deserve more deliberation than others, all of them warrant some level of thought, which is why building up an arsenal of sage advice—especially sage advice rendered in approachable pithy phrases—can be such a useful practice.

Since your box of heuristics is just beginning, we suggest you start simply: with clothing. Here, you’ll find 101 fashion quotes so timeless they’ve practically become iconic. Sift through this list until you find sentiments worth coming back to, and add those to your collection of know-how. Will the renowned Anna Wintour inspire you? Or will it be the great Christian Dior, the incomparable Yves Saint Laurent, the fictional Carrie Bradshaw or someone else entirely?

There’s only one way to find out—keep scrolling.

1. “You either know fashion or you don’t.” – Anna Wintour

2. “You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes. Too many women think that they are unimportant, but the real proof of an elegant woman is what is on her feet.” – Christian Dior

3. “I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.” – Diana Vreeland

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4. “Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” – Lauren Hutton

5. “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking.” – Miranda Priestly

6. “One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress.” – Karl Lagerfeld

7. “The customer is the final filter. What survives the whole process is what people wear. I’m not interested in making clothes that end up in some dusty museum.” – Marc Jacobs

8. “I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” – Alexander McQueen

9. “Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally.” – Christian Louboutin

10. “I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.” – Carrie Bradshaw

fashion quotes best famous

11. “She can beat me, but she cannot beat my outfit.” – Rihanna

12. “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” – Karl Lagerfeld

13. “Can you please spell Gabbana?” – Andrea Sachs

14. “I have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.” – Yves Saint Laurent

15. “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe

fashion quotes best famous
16.  “It pains me physically to see a woman victimized, rendered pathetic by fashion.” – Yves Saint Laurent

17. “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” – Bill Cunningham

18. “When you hear designers complaining about the challenge of their profession, you have to say: Don’t get carried away—it’s only dresses.” – Karl Lagerfeld

19. “Always dress like you’re going to see your worst enemy.” – Kimora Lee

20. “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” – Ralph Lauren

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21. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel

22. “Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” – Marc Jacobs

23. “We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.” – Yves Saint Laurent

24. “Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.” – Sir Francis Bacon

25. “Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys, they’d just walk around naked at all times.” – Betsey Johnson

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26. “Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing, and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.” – Vivienne Westwood

27. “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” – Miuccia Prada

28. “When I first moved to New York, and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more.” – Carrie Bradshaw

29. “Fashion should be a form of escapism and not a form of imprisonment.” – Alexander McQueen

30. “Over the years, I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” – Yves Saint Laurent

fashion quotes best famous
31. “We don’t need fashion to survive, we just desire it so much.” – Marc Jacobs

32. “In a machine age, dressmaking is one of the last refuges of the human, the personal, the inimitable.” – Christian Dior

33. “Clothes are like a good meal, a good movie, great pieces of music.” – Michael Kors

34. “The joy of dressing is an art.” – John Galliano

35. “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace

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36. “Fashion, somehow for me, is purely and happily irrational.” – Hedi Slimane

37. “I don’t want a politician who’s thinking about fashion for even one millisecond. It’s the same as medical professionals. The idea of a person in a Comme des Garcons humpback dress giving me a colonoscopy is just not groovy.” – Simon Doonan

38. “I think that because I’m overweight, [my] fantasy was lightness. So I project my fantasy to the clothes, and now all I do is light, light clothes because it’s the one thing I don’t have. That is why I’m too afraid to lose weight because then I might make heavy clothes.” – Alber Elbaz

39. “When you go to a nice restaurant, you want to be relaxed and have a drink and everything, you want to look at people who look well. You don’t want to look at some slob with an open shirt and a hairy chest—at least I don’t.” – Iris Apfel

40. “Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” – Bo Derek

fashion quotes best famous
41. “Fashion has to reflect who you are, what you feel at the moment and where you’re going.” – Pharrell Williams

42. “You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody.” – Diana Vreeland

43. ”What you wear is such an expression of who you are. That’s like someone picking out who I’m going to date!” – Diane Kruger, on not working with a stylist

44. “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.” – Coco Chanel

45. “I’m a very down-to-earth person, but it is my job to make that earth more pleasant.” – Karl Lagerfeld

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46. “In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.” – Elsa Schiaparelli

47. “I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance, you can only admire it.”– Elizabeth Taylor

48. “Conformity is the only real fashion crime. To not dress like yourself and to sublimate your spirit to some kind of group identity is succumbing to fashion fascism.” – Simon Doonan

49. “I know what women look good in. I don’t think the rules ever change.” – Michael Kors

50. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. – Coco Chanel

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51. “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color.” – Wednesday Addams

52. “Make it simple, but significant.” – Don Draper

53. “A great dress can make you remember what is beautiful about life.” – Rachel Roy

54. “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

55. “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” – Harry Winston

56. “When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.” – Iris Apfel

irisapfel 101 Fashion Quotes So Timeless Theyre Basically Iconic

57. “Buy less, choose well.” – Vivienne Westwood

58. “Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” – Ralph Lauren

59. “My mother was right: When you’ve got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust.” – Jane Birkin

60. “Too much good taste can be very boring. Independent style, on the other hand, can be very inspiring.” – Diana Vreeland

61. “I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.” – Lady Gaga

62. “If I can have any impact, I want women to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion.” – Michelle Obama

63. “You can have anything you want in life, if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

64. “The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.” – Hubert de Givenchy

65. “Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself on purpose.” – G. Bruce Boyer

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66. “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” – Jean Cocteau

67. “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe

68. “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel

69. “Fashion changes, but style endures.” – Coco Chanel

70. “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.” – Orson Welles

71. “I don’t believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be the same person every day.” – Stephanie Perkins

72. “Style; all who have it have one thing: originality.” – Diana Vreeland

73. “Clothes have nothing until someone lives in them.” – Marc Jacobs

74. “I can’t concentrate in flats.” – Victoria Beckham

75. “Playing dress-up begins at age five and never really ends.” – Kate Spade

76. “Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick to the same menu.” – Kenzo

77. “Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?” – Yves Saint Laurent

78. “Style is primarily a matter of instinct.” – Bill Blass

billblass 101 Fashion Quotes So Timeless Theyre Basically Iconic

79. “Style is very important. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style lasts forever.” – Ralph Lauren

80. “Women who wear black lead colorful lives.” – Neiman Marcus

81. “We have this saying, Christy and I. We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.” – Linda Evangelista

82. “You can have anything you want, if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

83. “I feel that flip-flops are the downfall of many relationships. It’s like, first it’s the flip-flops, and then it’s the sweatpants… it’s the gateway drug to no sex.” – Lady Gaga

84. “A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” – Diana Vreeland

85. “I design for the woman who loves being a woman.” – Diane von Furstenberg

86. “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” – Karl Lagerfeld

87. “When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.’”– Caitlin Moran

caitlinmoran 101 Fashion Quotes So Timeless Theyre Basically Iconic

88. “I am anti-pants.” – Lena Dunham

89. “I have four bedrooms in my house. One is for guests, the other three are for closets.” – André Leon Talley

90. “When you don’t feel to dress means that you are depressed. You need a fashion shower.” – Anna Dello Russo

91. “There was a photo of me with weird sunglasses on and a green sweatshirt, some striped thing, with tights and cowboy boots… I just saw that photo and thought, God, I look crazy.” – Mary-Kate Olsen

92. “I really would not call myself a fashion icon. I would call myself somebody who gets dressed by professionals… I would call me more of a monkey.” – Jennifer Lawrence

93. “Fashion is all about happiness. It’s fun. It’s important. But it’s not medicine.” – Donatella Versace

94. “I was at school when Britney Spears’s ‘Baby One More Time’ came out. I changed my uniform to look like hers. I just looked slutty after that, so thank you, Britney.” – Alexa Chung

95. “Fashion wasn’t what you wore someplace anymore; it was the whole reason for going.” – Andy Warhol

96. “A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes.” – Vera Wang

97.  “I like Cinderella; she has a good work ethic, and she likes shoes.” – Amy Adams

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98. “What’s becoming very obvious to me is that fashion is art.” – Lupita Nyong’o

99. “Fashion is part of the daily air, and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” – Diana Vreeland

100. “I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit.” – Michael Kors

101.  “I was like, ‘What’s Margiela?’ back then.” – Kim Kardashian, on a pair of Maison Margiela boots Kanye bought her back in 2008


A version of this article was originally published in April 2016. 

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