IS DANDYISM STILL A THING?
Well, apparently (and I’ve just realised this) it is!! The only reason I know who a Dandy is, is because we were made to do an assignment on them in Second year at college. So, if for any reason you don’t know who a Dandy is, allow me to explain.
So this ‘Movement’ – if I can even call it that – perhaps lifestyle is a better term, n’est-ce pas? Anyway, Dandyism (the lifestyle) is said to have been pioneered by George Bryan “Beau” Brummell (1778 – 1840) who was an iconic figure in England. He was an arbiter of men’s fashion and a friend of Alberti (Future King George IV). He established the mode of dress for men that rejected overly ornate fashions for one of understated but perfectly fitted and tailored bespoke garments. This was the beginning of bespoke tailoring and Savile Row.
It reportedly took Brummell over 4 hours to get dressed each day and he also introduced the concept of regular baths and hygiene.
Now bear in mind, before this, men were wearing colourful stockings, heeled shoes, garments in velvets and brocades. I think Dandyism could be considered the first fashion movement that allowed men their own aesthetic and identity, which they didn’t have to share with women – for a while (that didn’t last, obviously).
The Dandy aesthetic basically consisted of impeccably tailored garments like a Tailcoat, waistcoat and pants, a button down shirt, a top hat, a cravat tie, a cane, a pocket watch and chain and more often than not, a smoking pipe.
This self-absorbed male was around until the early 1900’s, then war broke out, priorities shifted, men had to dress themselves and budgets were low. This caused the dandy to tone it down and look like the rest.
Personally, I thought this was the end of the Dandy, I never realised, that there were men who carried on living this lifestyle, who inspired, first their children and later their grandchildren. Their look and love of aesthetics became their legacy that they passed along to their progeny.
Of course the modern day Dandy is not what Beau Brummell was, due to the fact that the original aesthetics have been fused with some modern features. The modern Dandy can usually be seen sporting a well groomed beard, gauged earrings and some interesting tattoos.
Of course there are those who take it to the next level and are now being called Peacocks, this is because of their love of ‘strutting’ themselves in their attire. Twice a year, these Peacocks carry themselves to Pitti Uomo, the world’s largest menswear trade fair held in Florence, Italy. A variety of men, wearing every shade and every print can be seen displaying their style at this event, many of whom are advertising for their own clothing companies.
Well, it looks like the Dandy is here to stay, and every man is embracing and adapting it to suit their individual personalities. Now men can also express themselves with the use of fashion.
What is your take on the Dandy? I personally feel that it’s quite attractive when a man takes a serious interest in how he looks and the image he presents.