Clothes and people

I just read this proverb: “Clothes do not make the man”.

This blog was really just an excuse to post a picture of Daniel Craig in a tuxedo :-), pic: http://www.nfts.co.uk

In and it by itself this is not a very interesting proverb and its meaning is rather blatantly obvious: what you wear does not define you as a person.  If you don’t wear nice expensive clothes you can still be a good, honorable, kind person – and the other way around.

What I find more interesting about this is that it exists in its opposite form, e.g. in German “Kleider machen Leute”, literally: Clothes make people.  But also the English, at least back during Shakespeare’s times seem to think that what you wear is who you are – or at least appear to be.  As the proverb “clothes make the man” is featured in Hamlet and allegedly traces its roots back to the Romans.

So, without getting to deep and philosophical here, we can conclude that people across the world and centuries are of two minds about the importance of fancy clothing.  with the American’s taking the moral high-ground and the Germans being rather blatant about their preference for nice outfits.

I liked this quote, that  I read on the subject by some Henry Ward Beecher, 1813 – 1887, he was a Liberal US Congregational minster (whatever that is):  “Clothes and manners do not make man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance. ”  Well said, Henry.

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