Friday, November 13, 2009
Dandies At Large
My friends Matt and Enrique over at Fine and Dandy.com recently put up an online catalogue of their new offerings and I think it's great. Fine and Dandy sells accessories – ties, scarves, cuff links, hats, etc. for guys with style. Matt grew up in a small town upstate and came to New York City to make a life in art and fashion; I can relate! Enrique hails from Canada. Together they opened their online shop about a year ago, and this is their first look book, which was photographed by Patrick Roxas:
Everyone needs a black derby hat!
Newsboy cap, a tartan scarf and a solid grey tie; all easy to add to a wardrobe for a handsome update.
A bow tie and a pocket square with a double-breasted jacket is a great way to dress up jeans.
I said to Matt, I wish everyone dressed like this. Well, The New York Times did a story yesterday on how nineteenth century designs are becoming popular in men's fashion so maybe we'll see more of an elegant style. Congrats to Matt and Enrique for doing their part. Be sure to go to their website to see the complete catalogue and do some holiday shopping.
Thinking about dandies got me going through some images of my favorites.
Here we have the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini circa 1900...in a black derby hat! And a fantastic coat.
This is a painting from the home of French interior decorator Jacques Grange. I like the sitter's combination of white shirt, brown jacket, and light grey trousers.
Here we have Major General John Liddell painted by George Duncan Beechey. His white vest and pants create one long elegant line.
The lines of this uniform flatter the body and lead the eye from head to toe. And I love this room – with its floral wallpaper and soft furnishings.
Here is the painter John Singer Sargent in his studio. You already know that he is one of my very favorite painters. I like his long coat and his long pants – they almost look like boot-cut jeans.
Sargent drew this sketch of Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Yeats grew up in Sligo, Ireland, which is where my great grandfather Dan O'Donnell was from. The poet sports a big floppy bow tie.
Here is Yeats later, in 1932, photographed by Edward Steichen in a silky bow tie and tailored overcoat.
Bringing the dandy into the modern age is Cary Grant, he of the fluid grey suit, the white shirt with a proper cuff showing, and the polished brogue shoe. It kind of looks effortless but you know it isn't.
In putting these pictures together, I see a common thread. There is a sophistication but there also is a relaxed, comfortable feeling of ease. Attention is paid to details, but the result is not highly structured or overwrought. This is a languid, graceful style; there is a sense of natural refinement which comes from within. It's an easy elegance.