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Fiction/Literary sartorial quotations and extracts


Distinguished Member
Jul 2, 2006
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My favourite would be from The Thought Gang, by Tibor Fischer.
As I don't have my copy here with me presently, I'll give the most accurate recounting I can now and amend when I get the book:

Hubert and the Prof are turning over a small-town book shop in the French provinces- they've resorted to robbery because the dire stock of philosophy texts offends Hubert, the one-armed, one-legged anti-hero, who resorts to personal insult directed at the terrorised shop assistant:

'What's that jacket you're wearing? My grandfather, who never ventured further than the borders of his tiny village in his entire life, wouldn't have been seen dead in a jacket as laughable as that.'

Your turn.


Stylish Dinosaur
Dubiously Honored
Apr 21, 2005
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Gatsby, of course:

Recovering himself in a minute he opened for us two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing-gowns and ties, and his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high.

“I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall.”

He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher—shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”
If only my girlfriend reacted that way...

Beyond that, the Jeeves and Wooster novels come to mind. Interesting to see the fashions of the day, and Jeeves' reaction to them.


Senior Member
Apr 25, 2004
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Jeffrey Eugenides in Middlesex talks about the pleasures of EG: "Since it was the weekend, I tried to dress down. It isn’t easy for me. I wore a camel-hair turtleneck, tweed blazer, and jeans. And a pair of handmade cordovans by Edward Green. This particular style is called the Dundee. They look dressy until you notice the Vibram soles. The leather is of a double thickness. The Dundee is a shoe designed for touring the landed estates, for tromping through mud while wearing a tie, with your spaniels trailing behind. I had to wait four months for these shoes. On the shoebox it says: “Edward Green: Master Shoemakers to the Few.” That’s me exactly. The few."


Senior Member
Dubiously Honored
Apr 18, 2005
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He went into his room where his things were as neatly laid out as if he had an English valet, undressed, and, walking down the stairs to the bath-house, sluiced himself with cool water. The only concession he made to the climate was to wear a while dinner-jacket; but otherwise, in a boiled shirt and a high collar, silk socks and patent-leather shoes, he dressed as formally as though he were dining at his club in Pall Mall. A careful host, he went into the dining-room to see that the table was properly laid. It was gay with orchids, and the silver shone brightly. The napkins were folded into elaborate shapes. Shaded candles in silver candle-sticks shed a soft light. Mr. Warburton smiled his approval and returned to the sitting-room to await his guest. Presently he appeared. Cooper was wearing the khaki shorts, the khaki shirt, and the ragged jacket in which he had landed. Mr. Warburton`s smile of greeting froze on his face.

"Halloa, you`re all dressed up," said Cooper. "I didn`t know you were going to do that. I very nearly put on a sarong."

"It doesn`t matter at all. I daresay your boys were busy."

"You needn`t have bothered to dress on my account, you know."

"I didn`t. I always dress for dinner."

"Even when you`re alone?"

"Especially when I`m alone," replied Mr. Warburton, with a frigid stare."
-- W. Somerset Maugham, The Outstation


Stylish Dinosaur
May 24, 2002
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I hate air travel. Not because I'm afraid of flying. But there are no porters. I used to travel with 20 suitcases. You need books, and I always brought clothes for hot weather and cold weather. What can you bring now? A little canvas thing.

Paul Bowles

Vintage Gent

Distinguished Member
Mar 12, 2003
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"I grow old... I grow old...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."
- T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

"I was hungover again, another heat spell was on--a week of 100 degree days. The drinking went on again each night, and in the early mornings and days there was The Stone and the impossibility of everything.

"Some of the boys wore African sun helmets and shades, but me, I was about the same, rain or shine--ragged clothing, and the shoes so old that the nails were always driving into my feet. I put pieces of cardboard in the shoes. But it only helped temporarily--soon the nails would be eating into my heals again."
- Charles Bukowski, Post Office


Distinguished Member
Mar 12, 2006
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Heres a famous Chinese ancient saying

"People respect you for what you wear, before they respect you"
(xian jing luo yi hou jing ren)

Sorry for my poor chinese - english translation.


Senior Member
May 3, 2006
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Manners are especially the need of the plain. The pretty can get away with anything.

Evelyn Waugh

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