"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

Categories: Fashion | History | Society

The phrase from Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin" about London dandies is understood by few. This is not surprising, since the word "dandy" was not very common in our country, and such a lifestyle was condemned by the Soviet authorities for decades. But in Europe, and especially in the UK, such a phenomenon as dandyism is well known. So who are the dandies and how did they differ from everyone else?

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

For a long time there has been an opinion in the world that a real man should be brutal, and manicures and hairstyles are the lot of women. But not everyone thought so. At different times there were guys who carefully watched their appearance. In ancient Rome — patricians, in medieval Europe, Spanish grandees and French grandees, and in modern times — motley dandies in pomaded wigs. And in the 21st century, such men are called metrosexuals.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

It is especially worth highlighting the English dandies. They were not made fun of like modern metrosexuals. They were admired, imitated, and listened to. But the dandies themselves didn't care much about all this — they were engaged exclusively in their own personalities.

The emergence of such a phenomenon as dandyism was promoted by the revolutionary upheavals of the late 18th century. In England, due to the shortage of flour, a tax on powder for wigs was introduced. Gold-embroidered doublets began to be considered a sign of pride and bad taste. Short men's haircuts have become fashionable.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

The boundaries between the estates were erased and the image of an aristocrat characteristic of the 18th century was a thing of the past. But the dandies chose aristocracy as their way of life. They adhered to it in everything from the way they dressed, and ending with their attitude to others.

The founder of dandyism is considered to be George Brian "Bo" Brummell. Contemporaries called him "the prime minister of elegance." George's biography was exemplary. He received a prestigious diploma from Eton, was an officer of the Royal Regiment and even managed to make friends with the future monarch, George IV. He was known all over England and passionately envied his success.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

George Brummell was handsome, well-read, educated and rich. But people like him in There were a lot of England. The main talents of this dandy was the ability to find an approach to the right people and effectively present himself in high society. With everyone who was not so fond of fate, Brummell behaved arrogantly, but at the same time he was emphatically polite. Among other things, he was famous for his cynicism and sarcasm.

The dandies, choosing this peculiar guy as an example, strictly followed the basic rules of his life. They were not surprised at anything, always kept dispassionate, acted unexpectedly and aggressively, quickly lost interest in the object, having impressed him. Well, they certainly knew how to present themselves, and they spent a lot of money, effort and time on it.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

Brammell himself liked to say that he spends 5 hours a day getting dressed. Of course, his followers tried not to give in to him and preened themselves just as carefully. Cleanliness and neatness among the dandies was elevated to the status of religion. None of them could afford to appear in public in clothes of dubious cleanliness, badly shaven or in a rumpled coat.

To always look his best, the dandy had to change clothes several times a day. White shirts and gloves were stored by the dozens in the dandy's wardrobes. To give a lady a hand with a stale cuff for these guys was like an indelible shame. But with all the passion for sophistication and order, the dandies did not strive to stand out from the crowd.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

In the 18th century, men tried to outdo the ladies with the pretentiousness of their outfits, but by the beginning of the 19th century this was a thing of the past. The appearance of the dandy could seem modest — suits and coats of strict classic cut, restrained colors. However, there was a lot of interesting things hidden behind this simplicity.

All the clothes of these adherents of aristocracy were sewn by the best tailors from the most expensive fabrics. Even the lining of the coat was perfect, and the boots shone exactly as they should, not dimmer or brighter. It was believed that white gloves should be reflected in shoes and this rule was observed.

Special attention was paid to the vest. For this detail of clothing, a special fabric with a pattern was chosen, the pattern of which was carefully studied. The vest was the only bright item of a true dandy's wardrobe and one of the most important.

Also among these fashionistas there was a real cult of neckerchiefs. They often replaced ties in the 19th century and their correct tying was considered a real art.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

There were many types of neckerchief knots. In the bookstores of Britain there were whole shelves of manuals and treatises on tying handkerchiefs. Closer to the middle of the 19th century, the so-called "tie, a la Byron" came into fashion. It was a bright coral color and tied so as not to squeeze the neck. He was supposed to have a large loose knot measuring 4 inches.

The dandies were indifferent to accessories. A true representative of this subculture was supposed to have a cane, a tie pin and a pocket watch. Of course, all these details of the image had to be the best and flawless in appearance. Dandy jewelry was treated with contempt. They believed that jewelry could not decorate an already worthy gentleman.

The followers of dandyism stood out among others not only for their stylish clothes and manners, but also for their worldview. The dandy's value system was based on a rather complex system of philosophical and political views. The dandies tried to give the impression of carefree, idle people, for whom nothing is more important than visiting clubs and balls.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

They were regulars of theaters and expensive restaurants, well versed in literature and were keen art collectors. The dandies did not deny themselves gambling. In public, these people behaved freely and at ease, as if ignoring their impeccable appearance. But at the same time, their behavior was built in such a way that other people could not ignore the image created by the dandy.

It must be said that maintaining the image of the dandy was expensive. The fate of Brammell himself can be considered indicative. At a young age, he received an impressive inheritance from his father at that time — 20 thousand pounds. For 17 years, George led a dandy lifestyle, but then a black streak began. The money ran out and his house began to be besieged by creditors.

"How the London dandy is dressed...", or What we know about the metrosexuals of the past

As a result, the first dandy ended up behind bars because of debts. After leaving prison, Brammell hurried to move to France, where his persona was not so well known. The "prime minister of elegance" ended his life badly. He died of the effects of syphilis at the age of 61, in a psychiatric hospital. In the last years of his life, the once brilliant London dandy was in dire need of money.

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