How many of you know what a Dandy is? Well, I hope it’s a damn sight more than the amount of friends I’ve asked (approximately zero.) I have to admit that nowadays there is a slight lack of cultural knowledge when certain subjects are concerned.
The Dandy figure first made an appearance in the late 1700’s and is perhaps most famously symbolised by nineteenth century novelist and dramatist, Oscar Wilde. Wilde was a particularly elaborate man who sought out the finer things in life, most notably in the arts and other things of a more hedonistic nature.
The Dandy’s style and choice of clothing was the key feature and of most significance in defining just who this man was. Particular importance was based upon physical appearance and the pursuit of nonchalance, ironic considering a lot of pain and effort was made to look this way. Men who strove to achieve the image of a dandy were well-dressed with frightening attention to detail, specifically when it came to colour and accessories.
Quite terrifying is how this aesthetic and mode of thinking is ever present in men in the twenty-first century. Many strive to look uber stylish whilst simultaneously wanting it to appear effortless. Tailoring is everywhere and not just in the banking districts of Canary Wharf and London Bridge (the sort of men who perhaps wouldn’t think twice about elbowing you in the face in order to read their very important Financial Times on the tube.) Blazers have been paired with jeans and casual shoes for quite some time now, and more recently an emergence in smart brogues with jeans compensated with beautiful chunky knit cardigans has become ever more apparent. However, the menswear shows in June demonstrated that spring/ summer 2013 would be seeing tailoring pushed to ever more extremes and more closely to that very same Dandy figure, first seen over three centuries ago.
Many of the shows were truly stunning and I’m not just talking about the models that strutted in them. Hackett London’s whole show appeared to be entirely devoted to the Dandy with three piece suits in both neutral and bright tones, outfits that Oscar Wilde himself would have more than appreciated. Oliver Spencer, E. Tautz and A Child of the Jago similarly channelled the spirit of the aristocracy, all with wonderful glimpses of modernity.
Channelling the Dandy doesn’t have to mean dying of overheating from wearing three-piece suits. Look to brands like A Child of the Jago, where a neck tie and top or bowling hat adds that extra oomph your inner Dandy was craving. Of course if you’re feeling a bit traditional or super adventurous then go all out (go crazy!) and Hackett yourself up to the nines. The beautiful thing about bringing this look into the present is using colour, because we sure as hell know how to do that.