Shakespeare The Style Guru?

Categories Fashion

Ye olde Bard was verily fashion forward.

Everyone’s going to be commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death on May 3. We thought we’d get in early to salute the Bard for his wisest words on style and fashion.

Hamlet – “The apparel oft proclaims the man”

In this tragedy, Polonius gives one speech that contains some of the most frequently quoted Shakespeare truth bombs, such as “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” and “to thine ownself be true, and… thou canst not then be false to any man”. But before any of that, he says this: “For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” Basically the Bard is telling us that you tell the world who you are by what you wear. He prefaces this by saying,Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy”, which basically advises going for the quality you can afford over bling.


Much Ado About Nothing – “Fashion wears out more apparel than the man.”

This line, delivered by Conrade, tells us nothing about comfort or durability, but instead warns us that fashion trends go through clothes faster than people do. Follow every fashion trend and you’ll end up with a cupboard that’s filled with yesterday’s on-trend ruffled collars and leather codpieces.


King Lear –  “Through tattered clothes small vices do appear”

In this famous tragedy, King Lear seems to be dissing fellas who don’t take care of their clobber. But in fact he’s saying the law picks on those who are —or who look — like peasants. “Robes and furred gowns hide all,” he goes on to say. “Plate sin with gold and the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks. Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.”  Basically, the Bard’s commenting that the well-dressed and wealthy of the world get away with more. So, make sure you invest in some furred robes — or at least a sharp suit!