My day as a dandy

No, I’m not doing a Fred Astaire number, I’m all dandied up in preparation for a lesson in cravat-tying from the dandy historian Ian Kelly.  Why did the high collar and the tight cravat become so popular in the Regency?  Partly to hide the double chins of the Prince Regent, and partly as a result of a new, classically-inspired, monochrome, pared-down aesthetic in men’s dress.  People get the wrong idea about dandies, thinking they are colourful, effeminate, foppish characters – not so.  Beau Brummel and his fellow dandies were in fact rather macho, definitely heterosexual, and tried avoid attracting attention through their clothes.  If people called a man well-dressed, said Brummel, he WASN’T well dressed.  We finished our ‘dandy day’ by going out dandy-spotting with our camera on the streets of St James’s in London, where we observed plenty of dandies both contemporary and historical.

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