I'm writing a story for my English class. Does the following sentence effectively mean that she had a good figure behind her dress?

She hid quite a figure behind the Wardrobe.

Does it apply to both male and female?

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    Not unless she was wearing a wardrobe for a dress :) Hiding one's figure behind a wardrobe does not really make sense. – Marv Mills Dec 17 '15 at 13:04
  • I'm sure clothes designers would weep! They think good dresses (and good clothes in general) are supposed to accentuate and show off a good figure, not hide it. – FumbleFingers Dec 17 '15 at 13:07
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    @MarvMills Unless her name is Lucy Pevensie, then it's a whole world she hid behind her wardrobe. – P. O. Dec 17 '15 at 13:16
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    @P.Obertelli 'behind' or 'within'? :) – Marv Mills Dec 17 '15 at 13:18
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    @FumbleFingers - Those who have good figures could show off by wearing good skin-tight dresses; but, if one has a bad figure, one may hide one's figure by wearing a loose dress. – Dinesh Kumar Garg Dec 17 '15 at 16:23

Wardrobe means both the set of clothing that a person owns and a particular piece of furniture to put clothing in. When you say "behind the wardrobe", I picture the furniture because it implies you mean a physical place.

She hid quite a figure with her wardrobe.

Would be a clearer way to phrase it, although it's still a little confusing. Adding the possessives makes it feel more like you are talking about her person, and with tells us that her wardrobe is a manner of hiding, so I'm more likely to think you are talking about clothes since it would be difficult to use furniture for that purpose, although really it could mean that she is hiding amongst the fur coats inside her wardrobe. Still, this would only really apply if all of her clothes we designed to hide her physical form. If you are describing her entrance into a scene rather than generally describing what kind of person she is, I would be more specific about what she was wearing.

She hid quite a figure with her loose shift.

Or something.

You could use this for a man, but we don't talk about a man as having a figure. You would probably use the term physique instead.

He hid his brawny physique with frumpy wardrobe choices.

Now that you've clarified that you want to say she had a nice figure no matter what she wore, I'm going to suggest that you change the sentence entirely. Hiding suggests intent, so you want to change that to something more neutral:

She had quite a figure despite her wardrobe.

Would convey precisely what you are looking for.

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  • Thanks, but I really wanted to say readers that she had a really attractive figure despite her dress. It doesn't matter how bad or good her dress is, Any suggestions on that? – Klags Dec 17 '15 at 13:16
  • @Klags That's quite a crass and possibly lascivious thing to put in a story. Perhaps it is something you should allude to in a more subtle way? – Marv Mills Dec 17 '15 at 13:20
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    @Klags ...such as 'Her dress was often incapable of fully concealing the allure of her glorious figure...' – Marv Mills Dec 17 '15 at 13:26
  • Hi Klags - did you mean "beneath" or "behind" ? – Fattie Dec 17 '15 at 17:58
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    Hi Marv, your comment "that's quite a crass and possibly lascivious thing to put in a story" seems incredibly extreme. (And I'm a puritan.) Could it be you misread something? The sentence, "She hid quite a figure behind her wardrobe.", I would read to my 8 yr old, even though I'm a puritan. – Fattie Dec 17 '15 at 17:59

Actually, the fact is it does make sense. (With a couple minor repairs.)

A sophisticated reader would understand that by "wardrobe" you, uh, effectively mean "her clothing collection" (not the wooden piece of furniture which holds that clothing collection).

Note though that you should definitely change "the" to "her". It is much clearer then.

(I can see some obscure preamble situations where "the" or perhaps "that" (or "the other" or "the second" or "the new" etc) would work .... but as a general thought it should certainly be "her wardrobe" for clarity.)

Further, as Kit has nicely explained, you could go with "with her wardrobe" rather than "behind her wardrobe".

However, I do feel it makes complete sense, to any sophisticated reader, as

She hid quite a figure behind her wardrobe.

Nice sentence.

Note - there's no capital "w".

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  • I think your version makes sense, when the sentence ends with behind her wardrobe (as opposed to the O.P.'s original, which read behind the Wardrobe). Without those modifications, I'm afraid the sentence is "on the right track" at best. – J.R. Dec 17 '15 at 20:43

The word wardrobe refers to her clothing. An added qualifier would improve this sentence, e.g.

She hid quite a figure behind her drab wardrobe.

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