The female counterpart is a quaintrelle. In the 12th century, cointerrels (male) and cointrelles (female) emerged, based upon coint, indicating a person of beautiful dress and refined speech. By the 18th century, coint became quaint, indicating elegant speech and beauty. Middle English dictionaries note quaintrelle as a beautifully dressed woman (or overly dressed), but do not include the favorable personality elements of grace and charm. The notion of a quaintrelle sharing the major philosophical components of refinement with dandies is a modern development, one which returns quaintrelles to their historic roots.
So a dandy is a name for a man who pays great attention to dress and fashion and often dresses with a flamboyant style. The term was first used in the late eighteenth century, but became better defined in the early nineteenth century. At first, "dandy" referred to a group of trendsetting young aristocrats in
. Other names for dandies include
beaus, mashers, macaronis, fops, and exquisites. Although first used to refer
to a flamboyant dresser, by the nineteenth century a dandy was a man who
dressed with a careful stylishness. In the twenty-first century the term
"dandy" is still used to refer to either a fastidious or a flamboyant
Dandyism had its roots in the Macaroni Club formed in
, in the 1760s by a group of rich
young Englishmen who had just returned from a tour of London, England . The Macaronis championed elaborate
and exaggerated styles of dress. They loaded themselves down with layer after
layer of lace ruffles and gold embroidery and wore knee buckles, striped
stockings, and shoes with bright red heels. Some of them sported wigs that were
at least a foot high, topped by a tricorne, or three-cornered, hat. In fact,
the lyric from the famous American patriotic song "Yankee Doodle":
"Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni," refers to these
early dandy fashions. Italy
Accessories were critical to the dandy's style. The typical dandy carried a long gold-knobbed, tasseled walking stick and was never seen in public without his bejewelled snuff box, in which he carried chewing tobacco. To ward off bad odours he may have carried an artificial nosegay, a small bunch of flowers, or worn powder or perfume. Many dandies brandished swords with diamond handles and hung two fobs, or pocket watches, from their elegantly tailored waistcoats. These early dandies, many of whom adopted the name "Beau," developed a reputation for grace and coolness. Before long, dandy styles popularized by the English macaronis began migrating to the European continent. In
the Incroyables (the Unbelievables)
of the 1790s combined fashionable fantasy garments and English country clothes.
The most famous dandy of all, and the man who truly changed the course of men's fashion, was George Bryan "Beau" Brummell (1778–1840). The son of an English butler who was educated at
, a prestigious university in Oxford , Brummell resisted some of the more
flamboyant trends of his day. He dressed simply and plainly, preferring wool
and cotton fabrics, carefully tailored jackets, and ankle length, loose-fitting
trousers in dark or neutral colors worn with white shirts. A typical outfit for
Brummell consisted of a blue woolen tailcoat with brass buttons, buckskin
colored pantaloons (loose-fitting trousers), and immaculately polished boots.
And he didn't wear a wig or makeup. The only item of elaborate clothing he wore
was his necktie—a large bow-tied cravat, a scarf tied around the neck. England
Brummell's contribution to fashion was to set a new standard of elegance and ideal of perfection in male dress. He stressed the importance of neatness and cleanliness, as well as refinement and restraint. Brummell took up to five hours to dress every day, though his goal was to make it appear as though he had not. He was one of the first to take regular baths (a custom which was catching on quickly in nineteenth-century
Europe), priding himself on the fact that he did not
need to wear perfume. It was said that he had three separate hairdressers: one
for his forelock, or bangs, one for the hair at the back of his head, and one
for his sideburns. He sent his shirts out of town to be washed because he
didn't think laundresses could bleach them white enough. London
Beau Brummell's fame and influence long outlived him. Through his friendship with the future British king George IV (1762–1830), he left a lasting mark on English fashion. Though the dandies are long gone, and often mocked in comedies about the period for their excessive manner of dress, men in the West continue to wear trousers and somber colors and to dress themselves in the elegant style set by these fashion pioneers.
Oscar Wilde was much more than a witty wordsmith who created plays, novels and poems that still feel modern today. He was also a trendsetter, a party animal and a dandy from head to toe. He is probably the world’s most famous dandy, and could be seen walking down Piccadilly with his long hair, lavender-coloured gloves, velvet coat, white silk cravat and flowered waistcoat. Sometimes he even held a lily in his hand.
The butterfly Dandy: Joyaux of the fashion world
The romantic Dandy: The lover of elegance past
The esthete Dandy: The well-dressed artist
The decadent Dandy: The Philospher of fun
The Dandy striving after elegance and this is his ultimate and unique goal. Everything he does is designed to be social elegant presentation to make, so great care must be taken not only appear in his extravagant clothes but with a personality. A dandy is a man whose pursuit of elegance in dress, manners, etc. to highest target set.
The Butterfly Dandy: butterflies dandyism was Joyaux of the fashion world for most of the Victorian period and although they did not meet the rules for dandyism is inspired by Brummel and deeply marked in the world of fashion for men. Even until today
The Romantic Dandy loves elegance. Like the first dandy he knows this to embody and like the Decadent enjoys full of fun. He adores the past, and the elegance they contain and crying: how could such an elegance lost! The Romantic loves elegance and want to catch anywhere.
The Romantic is the Gothic temperament par excellence.
An esthete is an artist. His life is built around his art and he lives for his own creativity. A wardrobe esthete, manners, style, conversation will generally focus on the impressive, capturing attention, and entertaining to those to whom he speaks, he lives for the crowd.
The decadents are philosophers of fun. They look elegant, but not for himself as the first. The fashion for the Decadent is rich, colorful and inspires an almost tactile admiration. Decadents life for love elegance and beauty and dress accordingly.