Katie , on the subject of dressing, I think the final word belongs to St. Louis. The saint-king is quoted in Chesterton’s  Saint Thomas Aquinas  as saying to his courtiers: “Vanity should be avoided; but every man should dress well, in the manner of his rank, that his wife may the more easily love him.”

Update: Judith writes in the comments:

St. Francis de Sales said:
“Be neat, Philothea; let nothing be negligent about you. It is a kind of contempt of those with whom we converse, to frequent their company in uncomely apparel; but, at the same time, avoid all affectation, vanity, curiosity, or levity in your dress.”

I read somewhere that he also said that a Catholic should be the best-dressed in any company, but I forgot where I read it and couldn’t find a direct quote.


I believe she’s referring to  Introduction to a Devout Life , given to me by my sponsor upon my conversion in college. In the short and excellent chapter titled ” On Modesty in Dress ,” De Sales quotes St. Louis approvingly and says, among other things, “For my own part I should like my devout man or woman to be the best dressed person in the company, but the least fine or splendid, and adorned, as S. Peter says, with ‘the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.’”

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