“You’re Only as Good as Your Last Haircut”: The Collected Fran Lebowitz on Fashion and Style

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The Internet’s favorite item this week, and with good reason, is Kathleen Hale’s Elle interview with professional New Yorker/noted Wolf of Wall Street actress Fran Lebowitz. For those who haven’t read it yet, it starts with Lebowitz refusing to talk on a cell phone and meeting Hale at Burger Heaven instead and only gets better from there. At 64, though, Lebowitz already has a treasure trove of style (and life) wisdom to her name, collected here now that we’ve been reminded we could all use a little more Fran in our lives.

“If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.”

“You’re only as good as your last haircut.”

“All God’s children are not beautiful. Most of God’s children are, in fact, barely presentable. The most common error made in matters of appearance is the belief that one should disdain the superficial and let the true beauty of one’s soul shine through. If there are places on your body where this is a possibility, you are not attractive — you are leaking.”

“Designer clothes worn by children are like snowsuits worn by adults. Few can carry it off successfully.”

“I loved [playing a judge on Law & Order]. But mostly I didn’t love the acting part so much — I loved wearing the judge’s robe. I loved to gavel… I wasn’t really acting. I really am like that. The reason I could do that is because that’s how I go around in life. I just don’t get to wear the robe, and they don’t give me a hammer.”

“Never relinquish clothing to a hotel valet without first specifically telling him that you want it back.”

“I do not believe in God. I believe in cashmere.”

“I never wear a tie, because I believe when a woman gets dressed for the evening, she should leave at least one thing to the imagination.”

“I should [know how to spell Anderson & Sheppard]. I write them enough checks.”

“One year when I was pretty young, maybe seven or eight, I insisted on going as Humpty Dumpty, which was this very elaborate, really unwieldy costume that I designed… And my father, he was an upholsterer, he made the cover for this, which covered like I was a sofa. I was a small sofa. Except without nails or tacks… Every single house I went to, out of a thousand houses, the mother of the house had to completely reconstruct my… Restuff me. All the pillows were falling out, it was raining, and because I was a very — I don’t know how to put this — kind of a dictator as a child, it meant that every time I stopped in the street to restuff myself, one thousand children that were following me also had to stop, even though they were wearing much more sensible costumes. That is my most memorable Halloween memory. That was the last time I was a fashion victim.”

“While clothes with pictures and/or writing on them are not entirely an invention of the modern age, they are an unpleasant indication of the general state of things. The particular general state of things that I am referring to is the general state of things that encourages people to express themselves through their clothing. Frankly, I for one would not be unhappy if most people expressed themselves by marching en masse into the nearest large body of water but, barring that, I wish they would at least stop attempting to tell all by word of jacket. I mean, be realistic: If people don’t want to listen to you, what makes you think they want to hear from your sweater?”

“There are two main reasons why we wear clothes. First, to hide figure flaws, of which the average person has at least seventeen. And second, to look cute, which is at least cheering.”