Modern Fashion Wisdom, from the 19th Century

Margaret Oliphant was a Victorian era Scottish novelist (over 95 novels), essayist and biographer. Her contemporaries included Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Despite the talented competition, Mrs. Oliphant (her preferred writing name) was said to be the Queen’s favorite writer.

Her writing is expressive and intelligent, and her output was extraordinary. She had a reputation for asserting herself with her male editors and publishers, too. Her personal life was no picnic, and she outlived her husband and all of her seven children.

She still manages to speak to the modern woman. The quote above sounds so fresh, it could have been written by style icon Iris Apfel, or one of my fellow fashion bloggers. Rock on, Mrs. Oliphant, you had it right all those decades ago.

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  1. With all due respect, I doubt anyone here has read any of Mrs. Oliphant's work. She was popular in her lifetime, and her modern equivalent would be Barbara Taylor Bradford.

  2. Isn't it great to be comfortable in one's own skin (and in one's own clothes)?
    Great post as always.

  3. Oh Patti. Now you've got me going. I love this quote. I just wikipedia-Ed Mrs. Oliphant and now I have yet another author to add to my endless list of"books to read." Always a treat to check in with you!

  4. Love this. So true! I'm not familiar with Mrs. Oliphant's writing, but I can see that I will need to remedy that.

    I just ran across a quote from Iris today while at the hair salon. I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but it was on the question of making fashion mistakes. Her take was definitely make them. They can be good, because the next day your friends will say, "Oh, you look so much better!" 🙂

  5. Love the quote, Patti! I want you to know how frustrating it is for me that I cannot comment on your posts at work…in my off period I often read through the blogs. Please know that I am reading every word though sometimes a comment may not be there. Something about the school internet that prevents comments on some blogs. Have a great Saturday!

  6. Yes, It sounds very contemporary, doesn't it? What an interesting woman, I don't know anything about her, though I recognise the name. And she was absolutely right, wasn't she?! xxxx

  7. I love this, and, knowing that Mrs. Oliphant was a writer and being one myself, I think her words could apply to writing as well. And also to blogging of course! Apropos of that, I came across your blog just recently and I admire that you have such a clear and confident voice and are marching to the beat of a slightly different drum than most of the personal style blogs out there. Very refreshing!

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