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Do Clothes Make the Woman?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her plaisters

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society”

Some attribute the source of this quote to Mark Twain (1835–1910), but he wasn’t the first to observe the human propensity to dress for the occasion.

Twain, likely quoted William Shakespeare (1599), who wrote in The Tragedy of Hamlet:

“The apparel oft proclaims the man.”

Shakespeare, in turn may have cited Peter Idley (1474), who wrote in his Instructions to his Son:

“Ffor clothyng oft maketh man.”

Idley, in turn probably quoted Erasmus (1500-1508), who wrote in his Collectanea Adagiorum and Adagiorum Chiliades The Encyclopedia of Proverbs (Adagia 3.1.60):

“vestis virum facit”– clothes make the man

Erasmus, in turn, quoted the Roman poet Quintilian’s (35 CE–100 CE), who wrote in his Institutions (oratory–8 pr. 20):

“To dress within the formal limits and with an air gives men, as the Greek line testifies, authority.”

Quintilian, in turn, likely paraphrased Homer (484 CE–425 CE), who wrote in the Odyssey  (6.29–30):

“From these things [clothes and personal care], you may be sure, men get a good report”

My take on the concept of “Clothes make the man” is that the dress code should match the  occasion. From a sampling of 30 outfits from AOC’s vast wardrobe catalog, it looks like Cortez, the high priestess of the progressive movement and the friend of the little workingman/woman only leaves the house in ± $1.5K outfits.

Image 1: Comrade Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, her entourage in trendy white outfits, the staged photo shoot, and the traumatic experience of standing in front of an empty parking lot at the Tornillo CBP center

Image 2
: He/She comrade Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s working class outfit made up of a Blazer with Pants by Gabriela Hearst, Victoria Secret undergarments, and Manolo Blahnik pumps.

This obviously begs the question of how is it that a former waitress/bartender who only earned ± $27K in 2017 (and still owes about $50K in student loans) managed in less than a year to amass over $50K in clothes, shoes, bags, and bling?

Image 3
: He/She comrade Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s and her working class wardrobe

Yes, clothes can help enhance a person, but without the exercise of discretion and independent judgment, they amount to little more than putting lipstick on a pig.  Or as Proverbs 11:22 puts it:

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a fair woman without discretion.

Image 4: Self-explanatory

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William Shakespeare – Hamlet
Peter Idley’s – Instructions to his Son 
Erasmus of Rotterdam – Adagiorum Chiliades 
Quintilian – Institutes of oratory; or, Education of an orator
Homer – The Odyssey
Alexander Atkins “Clothes Make the Man”

Copyright 2019 Yaacov Apelbaum, All Rights Reserved.

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