Language as a metaphor for clothing is ubiquitous in writing on dress. But clothing isn’t a language. Speaking and dressing make very different demands of the body. And combining words and figures of speech is quite unlike combining shirts and shoes.
For twenty years, Patek Phillipe has sold watches using the idea that you never actually own one of them, but “merely look after it for the next generation.” This might seem a risky ploy: Patek sells new watches, and does not profit from such inheritance. But the watches worn in the ads are current models, and their promise is not an heirloom exactly, but a watch that is simultaneously a mark of family history and available to buy today.