i’m reading a book set in the late 1800s, and i ran across “fashion plate” yesterday, but not in any way i’d ever heard it used. she wrote that the subject was as still as a fashion plate. which, when i thought about what a fashion plate probably was, then it made sense. so i had to etymologize it and see what the deal was.
Fashion plate (1851) originally was “full-page picture in a popular magazine showing the prevailing or latest style of dress,” in reference to the typographic plate from which it was printed. Transferred sense of “well-dressed person” had emerged by 1920s.
which makes sense now!
here’s a link to a fashion plate museum page with a history: http://www.charlestonmuseum.org/exhibits-fashionplates