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1. A rag.
2. An old or ragged garment.

[Yiddish shmate, from Polish szmata.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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After all, he's no vegetarian, So it can't be the rabbit food at lunch, Nobody sensible should play that hunch; Perhaps to preserve standards sartorial, His role at the school from time immemorial; Or just to plague the associate dean, The one he always refers to as green, Whose red schmatte makes him vent his spleen, (10) And whose moot courtroom threat makes him chortle with glee About getting Brown to revoke my degree.
Fashion, like many other creative professions, has long been a haven for all varietals of misfits and non-conformists in need of a place to turn their eccentricities into strengths, and how can I ignore the enormous contribution of my co-religionists Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Zac Posen, Isaac Mizrahi, and Sonia Rykiel to the schmatte business (although it's interesting that their clothes are often lauded with adjectives like "wearable," "form-flattering," and "democratic"go figure)?
Corporate America still maintained a strong glass ceiling--so-called gentlemen's agreements barred entry into fields like medicine and the law--but in the schmatte business, the only ceiling was creativity and sweat equity, savvy and timing.
I did at last find schmatte (American Heritage, Encarta)--a rag or worthless thing, but what's the point?
Although his family hoped to enlist him in their schmatte business, Shatner turned to acting and eventually transformed a short TV gig (the original Star Trek TV series ran from 1966-69) into the creation of an internationally recognized icon.
That he appears with his unruly hair tied up in a super-undressy schmatte comes off as an emblem of freedom.
In early 1940, when the German invasion looked imminent, Vera's father, a well-off textile merchant (ah, the schmatte business) wanted to go to England or Switzerland, where he had business contacts, but her mother, a nurse, refused to leave Amsterdam and her elderly parents behind.
Though Caspar's verbalized accusations of Bernie rather than Mink or the Dane suggest that his suspicions are a matter not of sexuality but ethnicity--"the Schmatte," he calls him, "the Sheeny"--his characterization of Bernie as unethical (explicit) and queer (tacit) is more significant in what it allows Caspar.
People know they can come in for it." Visionaire customers hail from all walks of life--art, film, design--and are not just members of the schmatte set.
Britain's Got New Talent [British Vogue] Related: Out of Focus [Tablet Magazine] A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac [NYT Magazine] Schmatte Chic [Slate]
I hope he won't mind my pointing out that most of the founders of the film industry went into showbiz to get out of the schmatte business.
Since the market became official in 1959, Cannes has been a major bazaar for low-budget fare, with buyers and sellers hawking low-end movies the way Garment District schmatte makers spin dresses off the rack.