I Wish I’d Said It

“You can either buy clothes or buy pictures,” she said. “It’s that simple. No one who is not very rich can do both. Pay no attention to your clothes and no attention at all to the mode, and buy your clothes for comfort and durability, and you will have the clothes money to buy pictures.”

“But even if I never bought any more clothing ever,” I said, “I wouldn’t have enough money to buy the Picassos that I want.”

“No. He’s out of your range. You have to buy the people of your own age-of your own military service group. You’ll know them. You’ll meet them around the quarter. There are always good new serious painters. But it’s not you buying clothes so much. It’s your wife always. It’s women’s clothes that are expensive.”

I saw my wife trying not to look at the strange, steerage clothes that Miss Stein wore and she was successful. When they left we were still popular, I thought, and we were asked to come again to 27 rue de Fleurus.”

Ernest Hemingway writing about Gertrude Stein, A Moveable Feast