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"I Am Dandy"

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by dhermann1, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. I recently met a lovely young lady (TRAGICALLY married. Her husband is a great guy), named Rose Callahan, who did the photos for a spectacular book that has just come out called "I Am Dandy". It's a celebration of dandyism in all its diversity.
    Several of the chaps shown in the book are friends of mine, which pleases me.
    Here are some links and reviews:





    Looks like a wonderful book. I'll be getting my copy soon.
  2. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    I noticed that BG had a window dedicated to the book. Gotta pick up a copy.
  3. the publication of this book ...


    ... made me wonder if any of you Loungers think of yourselves as 'dandies' ?

    i personally don't, yet the book includes several people who i wouldn't class as dandies either; Ray Chu who looks more collegiate. Gustav Temple (of The Chap) who although smartly attired has more of a 40s 'man about town' look than a 'dandy'.

    so, do we have any dandies among us ?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  4. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Depends on the definition really. But I don't think I am an dandy just because I am interested in clothes. There is always a certain hedoism and snobism to it that I don't like. Oh, I don't mean the guys in the book of course. But between Gabriele D’Annunzio and say Jean Gabin I know what I would choose as an inspiration.

    I will buy a copy of the book because I liked the blog. To see the homes of this people is a nice idea. Much more interesting and insightful than just the clothes.
  5. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    One thing to keep in mind is that in a world that associates being casual and dressing down as the norm that any man who "dresses up" or is interested in clothes is considered a dandy by most of the world, whether or not one thinks one is a dandy. The fact that I wear a flat cap or fedora everyday, and a sport coat most days that means I'm a dandy to most people. I don't think I'm a dandy I'm normally too rumpled to be one.

    Dandy, gangster, pimp, etc. all the same to most people: it means a guy who dresses up. I get called all these names at least a couple of times a month.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  6. for me, there has to be a level of ostentatiousness reached before you enter the 'dandy' zone. so this chap on the left is definitely dandy:


    whereas Ray Chu, even though he has a flouncy handkerchief and untied bowtie, isn't.

  7. But isn't dandyism a lifestyle, not just an eccentric style of dress?
    So the guy with the perfectly luxurious interior to complement his impeccable suit is more of a dandy than someone who is just into clothes.

    I agree with FFF in that I like the more down to earth looks, but on the other hand the 'dandies' do push the boundaries and show you what is possible.
    So even if I only use 20% of the details from an outrageous dandyfied outfit I see, I can't deny that I learned something from it.

    Ps: Doesn't that guy with the blue Houndstooth look like a Dr Seuss character?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  8. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Ray is a dandy. Anybody who takes an extreme interest in what they wear, no matter the style, is a dandy.
  9. A.C. i have a more than average interest in clothes. heck, i even make clothes. but i still don't qualify as a dandy.

    there has to be some distinction between having an interest in clothes , dressing well and being a dandy.
    i don't even think Gary Cooper was a dandy. he was just a very well dressed man with good taste in clothes.

    Thomas Carlyle in Sartor Resartus (1833) said the dandy is " a man whose existence consists of the wearing of clothes. Every faculty of his soul, spirit, purse and person is heroically consecrated to the wearing of clothes wisely and well: so that as others dress to live, he lives to dress."
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
    Keep Dandyism Alive likes this.
  10. a dandified interior certainly helps with the whole look, but isn't essential. Beau Brummell remained a dandy in the dress sense after he drifted in poverty.
  11. scrawlysteve

    scrawlysteve One of the Regulars

    There are other connotations to dandyism too, particularly regarding sexual orientation. This was exemplified in an episode of The Wire where the generally scruffy McNulty said something like this to the always impeccably turned out Bunk :

    "You know what they call men who take such a lot of care over their clothes, don't you?"

    Bunk : "Yes....grown ups. "
  12. Scrawly, sure lots of dandies will be gay. but many also look gay and have 'effeminate' mannerisms but are straight.
  13. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

    For me, 'Dandy' suggests a certain measure of ostentation that goes beyond just being deeply interested in ones appearance. It suggests a lifestyle in which one doesn't ever have to look a bit off because you are mowing the lawn or washing the car (not that i ever wash my car - I've washed a car four times in my life and I've been driving since 1991 - life's too short to wash cars - that's what we have rain for).

    'Dandy' suggests the peacock 'look at me in my bright silks'. That isn't me. Bedford Cord and dull rayon is not 'dandy' by any stretch of the imagination. I like to dress well but can sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable when people stare in the street (the other week I noticed two blokes staring and laughing at me in a tube station - I was wearing a plain dark blue three piece suit, grey flat cap, light blue shirt and red tie. It was hardly an ostentatious outfit).

    Although I have never liked the word, I think that 'dapper' might be more appropriate for many of the FL members.
  14. scrawlysteve

    scrawlysteve One of the Regulars

    Yep, no doubt about that . I just wanted to shoehorn in a couple of lines I liked in The Wire....
  15. TT, agreed.

    for me the term doesn't just mean 'having an excessive interest in clothes' - (someone may have an excessive interest in t-shirts, jeans and trainers but they're not a dandy) -
    it's an aesthetic, a 'look' in itself; monocles, cravats, canes, opera pumps, waxed 'taches are all part of the dandy look. the Fedora Lounge doesn't seem to attract many of that ilk (as mentioned in another thread, sometimes we're closer to 'dowdy' than 'dandy').;)

    i'm still interested to know if anyone other than A.C. Lyles thinks of themselves as a dandy ?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  16. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I don't think Dandy always means "Peacock" but maybe that is the most common modern interpretation.
    The german architect and designer Adolf Loos also wrote some articles and books about clothes. There we get the notion that a dandy is always perfectly dressed to every occasion but not overdressed, too fashionable and flashy.
    Adolf Loos admired the british style and shunned then austrian/german way to dress which (in his eyes) either dresses too dull or too peacocky. The "occasion" bit is also explained thoroughly. For example the perfect morning dress attire with stiff collar and all would be inappropriate when worn in the evening. Then there is town versus country and so on.
    Of course it is not only about fitting in but to be prepared and master of "effortless elegance".
    Even in that regard I wouldn't be a dandy. :p
  17. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

    And of course, there is a significant element among those who might like to consider themselves a modern dandy who are happy to wear make-up.
    That's not for me, thank you vey much.
  18. Flo, it will always come down to a debate over the correct definition in the end.
    the Adolf Loos definition is interesting, but i don't see how any of it differs from simply being 'tastefully well dressed'.
  19. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here

    True. I just mentioned Adolf Loos to show a very different definition. I am sure it is not the only valid one but has to be seen in context of it's time.
    Adolf Loos was one of the main advocates of early modernism which wanted to get rid of all decorative elements and towards a true from. So of course he would favour simple and elegant over flashy and peacocky. He even argued against too much brogueing on shoes since it doesn't have much of a function anymore. This was shortly after art nouveau...one could see it as a countermovement.
    Today the dandy does set himself apart against the casual sportswear which dominates the menswear world. Go figure...
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  20. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

    HBK: as you know, I am very intrested in writing on menswear etc. For me, the worship of 'the dandy' as style icons exists as a barrier. Similarly, the standing of Savile Row (about whose tailors plenty has been written) is another barrier.
    Imagine me going to a publishers and saying 'I've got a great idea for a book on menswear, it's about provincial tailors and brands like Hepworths and the Kays catalogue."
    They reply "are there any dandy figures in it?" Sorry, no dandies.
    "What about Savile Row tailors" Sorry, no. But look at this suit from Caslaws in Sunderland - how fantastic is that label?
    Exit TT through the door marked timewasters.

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