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. Transfered sense of “well-dressed person” had emerged by 1920s.
early 15c.; see fashion (n.). Related: Fashioned; fashioning.
Also, after a sort. Somehow or other; not very well, as in John can read music, after a fashion, or He managed to paint the house after a sort. The first phrase, in which fashion means “a manner of doing something,” has been so used since the mid-1800s, when it replaced in a fashion. The variant dates from the mid-1500s. Also see in a way; (somehow) or other.
see after a fashion; in fashion.