Claudia De Salvo
Google men’s street style fashion and you will notice an intriguing trend. Men are frequenting their local barber more, they are leaving plain T’s at home and donning button down shirts and wool blazers, no more sneakers and hoodies, its time to bust out your moustache and shine your boots; it seems dandy is officially hipster. A quick search on hipster 101 for men reveals a new found attention to detail and pride in ones appearance is all the rage. That being said, it is important to note this particular façade of austerity does not entirely align with the true nature of dandyism, making it yet another part of the pastiche of subcultures which we recognize as the hipster.
If we observe Beau Brummel as the quint essential dandy, we soon see that it is the quality of dress and the attention to detail which helps to construct an authentic dandy image (i). In contrast to this notion, particular aspects of dandyism are being adopted left right and center by younger men of a lower social class. This can be seen in the resurgence of scarfs, blazers and coats (currently best sellers at top man) and the all important yle; a side part with short back and sides, and don’t forget that well groomed beard. However, rather than fully adopting the traditional dandy approach to style and dress, the modern man often uses specific garments to signify an interest in austerity, rather than actually live it. Often coupled with a mismatch of garments from other styles (such as ankle cut blue jeans clashing patterns) this new found hipster image lacks the continuity necessary to be synonymous with true dandyism (ii).
Davide Renoldi, Photographed in Milan
We see this time and again in the images of men’s street style fashion, often there is a single aspect of dress which gives them away. Such as the case with this gentlemen who dons sneaker with a well tailored vest and pants. When every other aspect of an outfit screams dandy, there will be a single clue that singles his choice of dress as merely a reflection of a passing trend, rather than the adoption of true austerity and attention to detail associated with the traditional dandy. These inconsistencies, do however, signify a movement towards a more narcissistic man. The argument could even be made that men have acquired a new found need to construct an individual sense of style; a look which simultaneously identifies with and disassociates with the rich well to do nature of dandyism. Indeed it is difficult to distinguish whether this is poor attempt to mirror traditional dandyism, or a whole new approach to the idea; a dandy with a twist, which we can add to the fashion history books.
(i) Berry, J 2009, Show Ponies and Centaurs: The male dandy revisited, viewed 15th of September 2014, Inter-diciplinary.net, http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/berrypaper.pdf
(ii) Cerankowski, K 2013, ‘Queer Dandy Style: The Cultural Politics of Tim Gunn’s Asexuality’, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol.41, no. 1 , retrieved 16th September 2014.