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The Men Who Define Modern Dandyism

November 16, 2010

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘metrosexual’ – we use it to describe friends who pay slightly more attention to their appearance than the average male. If you own some form of skincare, may have gone for a facial or two, actually wear clothing that fit well and own a man bag (or “murse”), more often than not you would have been labeled a metrosexual.

By August Man standards, it’s definitely a badge to be worn proudly, so give yourself a pat on the back for that.

But in this post, I would like to salute the men who have taken their style to the next level.  These are men who live and breathe style to the point of effortlessness, yet they are hardly slaves to fashion. Their ensembles are always delightful, occasionally eccentric, but never badly fitted and always synonymous with their name. Often times it would seem that fashion follows them rather than the other way around.

They are the modern dandies.

Origins of Dandyism

The origins of dandyism can be traced back to the 1790s where a breed of men started to appear in London and Paris. They were always immaculately coiffed and clad, displayed aristocratic manners, but were more often than not from middle-class backgrounds.  They also adopted consciously-designed personalities and spent their time devoted to social and leisurely pursuits like art and music.

Beau Brummell (pictured), often called the “dandy of dandies,” was a prominent English figure in the 1800s. He was famous for his sartorial panache with a reputation of practicing great personal hygiene (a rarity in those days).  He is credited with establishing the modern man’s suit as a modish style in men’s wear.

“Empires had risen and fallen while he experimented with the crease of a neck-cloth and criticised the cut of a coat.” – Virginia Woolf on Beau Brummell.

The Modern Dandy

Unlike the old days where dandyism was commonly associated with the foppish and effeminate (partially through prejudice for displaying their apparent vanity), the modern dandies have been able to bridge the gap between the macho and metro as evidenced by the 20th century men in the gallery below.

Most of them have devoted themselves to artistic pursuits like film directing, fashion design or acting;  fields that are constantly evolving without the shackles of constraints or the need for pigeonholing which is  a philosophy that runs central in dandyism.

From David Bowie to Thom Browne, these men prove that dandyism isn’t a fad or a trend. It’s an attitude.

via The Men Who Define Modern Dandyism |

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