Ancient connotations of dandies were rather negative. A famous dandy, Baudelaire, commented that the dandies had “no profession other than elegance…no other status but that of cultivating the idea of beauty in their own persons….The dandy must aspire to be sublime without interruption; he must live and sleep before a mirror.” Dandies lacked noble blood, connections, and any innate characteristics of aristocracy. They were like actors living out fantasies that could never come true, adopting outward characteristics that aided in this public and personal deception.
However, dandyism, I believe, is more than just Savile Row suits and colorful socks. Although the living out fantasies stuff, I’m totally up for! I wouldn’t call it a lifestyle, but it certainly is a way of looking at things. Aside from really taking care of yourself and spending time on your appearance, these are the things that I believe make the modern Dandy:
1. Finding joy in the ability to take on different personalities with your clothes. I remember in college, my friend Michelle
and I would have costume days where we would come to school dressed as cowboys, goths, or even as sales associates of a local boutique Tyler. Let me illustrate by way of my stuff. When I wear this, I imagine myself to be ________
plaid shirts from Hong Kong
The Dark Knight.
Martin Margiela cuff
A Native American, or my uncle in the early 90′s.
Bottega Veneta suede moccassins
2. Dandyism, though extravagant and all-out in nature, can also be subtle. Little unexpected pops of color or print add just the right amount of “crazy” that makes for a good conversation started, and that surely sets you apart. I say unexpected pops of color because that whole corporate pop of color thing where they do red pointy stiletto pumps with a black top and skirt, or umm yellow pointy stiletto pumps with a black top and skirt is sooo 2002.
A dandy has got to have his colorful socks.
Hermes Looping bracelet, my daily pop of orange juice.
3. A modern dandy appreciates good tailoring: sublime cuts, perfect fit. It is said that the Victorian British male has been described as a hidden consumer, his consumption of fashion undertaken away from the public sphere in the relative privacy of the tailor’s suite
. And nowadays, it seems that all my new clothes are coming solely from the tailor! This blog is witness to how tailor-crazy I have been nowadays, pictures of my newest projects coming up soon!
Sir Ian McKellen, a man with a great relationship with his tailor
4. And lastly, I think true dandyism is in the details. To people who come to me for advice on how to dress up, I always say well-chosen accessories, accessories that say a lot about the wearer, really bring depth to a look. (Shout-out to Chauss and her Bliss Lau body chain. I totally understand why you can’t part with it, I couldn’t imagine any piece of jewelry that would be more YOU!)
striped bowtie from Brooks Brothers and vintage floppy velvet bowtie
Martin Margiela necklace…
…which opens to reveal three dice inside, speaks of my inner gambler!