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Thomas Jefferson on Fashion

Posted By: Thomas Jefferson 4 February 2009 3,931 views 3 Comments

No robe and slippers here.

No robe and slippers here.

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”   — Thomas Jefferson

“The Sage of Monticello” cultivated an image that earned him the other nickname, “Man of the People.” He affected a popular air by greeting White House guests in homespun attire like a robe and slippers. Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison (Jefferson’s secretary of state), and Jefferson’s daughters relaxed White House protocol and turned formal state dinners into more casual and entertaining social events.

Given the fact that he was a statesman,  parliamentarian, historian, surveyor, philosopher, scientist, diplomat, architect, inventor, educator, lawyer, farmer, breeder, manufacturer, botanist, horticulturalist, anthropologist, meteorologist, astronomer, paleontologist, lexicologist, linguist, ethnologist, Biblicist, mathematician, geographer, librarian, bibliophile, classicist, scholar, bibliographer, translator, writer, editor, musician, gastronome and connoisseur of wine…


Maybe fashionista was one he could leave off his resume…or perhaps he was only trying to shift the “current”. I think his exposure to fashion and style in his travels to France could have taught him not only about trends in fashion but most importantly the necessity to be able recognize and possibly create trends in an attempt to better understand the social climates/trends amongst the people.


I can’t find any portrayals of him in a robe and slippers…anybody? That would be a great pic.