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Coco Chanel Quotes

Coco Chanel (1883-1971)


Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel in 1929

Getty Images / Hulton Archive
Coco Chanel - 1930

Coco Chanel in 1930

Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Coco Chanel - 1962

Coco Chanel in 1962

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

From her first millinery shop, opened in 1912, to the 1920s, Coco Chanel (Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel) rose to become one of the premier fashion designers in Paris, France. Replacing the corset with comfort and casual elegance, Coco Chanel fashion themes included simple suits and dresses, women's trousers, costume jewelry, perfume and textiles.  Learn more (biography, facts): Coco Chanel

An outspoken woman, Coco Chanel talked about much, especially her ideas about fashion.  About her work, the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar said in 1915, "The woman who hasn't at least one Chanel is hopelessly out of fashion.... This season the name of Chanel is on the lips of every buyer." Here are some of her own most memorable words.

Selected Coco Chanel Quotations

• How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.

• My life didn't please me, so I created my life.

• People's lives are an enigma.

• The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.

• Not to feel love is to feel rejected regardless of age.

• A woman has the age she deserves.

• My age varies according to the days and the people I happen to be with.

• A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.

• You live but once; might as well be amusing.

• In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.

• If you were born without wings, do nothing to impede their growing.

• The best things in life are free. The second best are very expensive.

• One must not let oneself be forgotten, one must stay on the toboggan. The toboggan is what people who are talked about ride on. One must get a front seat and not let oneself be put out of it.

• When my customers come to me, they like to cross the threshold of some magic place; they feel a satisfaction that is perhaps a trace vulgar but that delights them: they are privileged characters who are incorporated into our legend. For them this is a far greater pleasure than ordering another suit. Legend is the consecration of fame.

• Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.

• Fashion changes, but style endures.

• A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion.

• Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

• A good woman with good shoes is never ugly.

• One shouldn't spend all one's time dressing. All one needs are two or three suits, as long as they and everything to go with them, are perfect.

• Fashion is made to become unfashionable.

• Fashion has two purposes: comfort and love. Beauty comes when fashion succeeds.

• The best color in the world is the one that looks good on you.

• [T]here is no fashion for the old.

• One ought to be a bit of a fetishist.

• Elegance is refusal.

• Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future!

• It's always better to be slightly underdressed.

• A woman can be over dressed but never over elegant.

• Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.

• Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.

• Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.

• Dress like you are going to meet your worst enemy today.

• Fashion has become a joke. The designers have forgotten that there are women inside the dresses. Most women dress for men and want to be admired. But they must also be able to move, to get into a car without bursting their seams! Clothes must have a natural shape.

• "Where should one use perfume?" a young woman asked. "Wherever one wants to be kissed," I said.

• A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future.

• Yes, when someone offers me a flower, I can smell the hands that picked them.

• Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.

• A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.

• If I have a certain preference for order, for comfort, for having things done right, for chests filled with linens that smell good ... I owe it to my aunts. [Note: she probably made up the aunts rather than admit to being raised in an orphanage]

• I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little -- if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.

• Hollywood is the capital of bad taste.

• Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.

• My friends, there are no friends.

• I don't like the family. You're born in it, not of it. I don't know anything more terrifying than the family.

• From my earliest childhood I've been certain that they have taken everything away from me, that I'm dead. I knew that when I was twelve. You can die more than once in your life.

• Childhood -- you speak of it when you're very tired, because it's a time when you had hopes, expectations. I remember my childhood by heart.

• (to a journalist) When I'm bored I feel very old, and since I'm extremely bored with you, I'm going to be a thousand years old in five minutes ...

• When you're my age you don't ask to see a gentleman's passport.

• It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him.

• I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.

• As long as you know men are like children, you know everything!

• Since everything is in our heads, we had better not lose them.

• There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.

• I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.

Related Resources for Coco Chanel

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Coco Chanel Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/quotes/qu_coco_chanel.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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