A dandy is a fashion trendsetter who places a high degree of importance on physical appearance, always staying fashionable, well-groomed and elegantly dressed. Almost to the point of religion, a dandy follows a strict set of aesthetic principles and lives his life in accordance with them.
Historically, dandies were very conscious of how they were perceived by others, refining their mannerisms, body language and voice to maintain a nonchalant demeanour.
They strived to become more aristocratic in their language, hobbies and values and were always well dressed.
Dandies would put on a smile even when blasé or in pain. According to writer Charles Baudelaire, these calculated mannerisms and styles of dress were used to display the superiority of their minds. It was a revolt against everyday mediocrity.
Definition of dandy: “A man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of self.” (Wikipedia)
Synonyms for dandy include:
- Sharp dresser
- Man about town
- Well dressed man
HISTORY OF THE DANDY
Know the song Yankee Doodle Dandy? The lyrics of this song refer to early dandy fashions which eventually spread across Europe.
The term dandy was first used in 18th century England to describe flamboyantly-dressed members of the Macaroni Club, a team of aristocratic young Englishmen that flaunted the latest fashions from France and Italy around posh parlours. They dressed in elaborate layers and fashions consisting of ruffled clothing, luxurious vests, tailored waistcoats, knee buckles, stockings, brightly coloured shoes and oversized wigs.
Accessories were also a critical part of the fashion and regularly consisted of flowers, pocket watches, bejewelled chewing tobacco boxes, diamond-encrusted swords and walking sticks adorned with gold.
But by the early nineteenth century, dandy began to take on its current meaning as a fashionable man who dressed with care.
Dandy is perhaps short for jack-a-dandy (or Jack Dandy), an archaic term with a similar connotation that’s derived from the given name Jack plus dandy. It’s earliest use was in the early 17th century by poet John Taylor.
EXAMPLES OF DANDIES & DANDY FASHION
- Julius Caesar
- George Bryan “Beau” Brummell
- Lucius Sergius Catilina
- Russell Brand
- Oscar Wilde
- Andy Warhol
- Andre 3000
- Lord Bryon
- Beau Brummel
RELATED AND SIMILAR WORDS
QUOTES ABOUT DANDYISM
“Dandyism is not even, as many unthinking people seem to suppose, a immoderate interest in personal appearance and material elegance. For the true dandy these things are only a symbol of the aristocratic superiority of his personality.”Charles Baudelaire
“The dandy should aspire to be uninterruptedly sublime. He should live and sleep in front of a mirror.”Charles Baudelaire
“The all importance of clothes has sprung up in the intellect of the dandy without effort, like an instinct of genius; he is inspired with clothes, a poet of clothes.”Thomas Carlyle
“One should either be a work of Art, or wear a work of Art.”Oscar Wilde
It may be an old fashioned term, but if you’re a man who’s overly concerned about his clothes and you prioritize physical appearance, you might just be a modern day dandy.