Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Dandy Poem

Sunday, May 23, 2010
Loretta reports:

According to Beau Brummell, "If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed."  The leader of the Dandies was all about perfect tailoring and simplicity—understated style.   But not everyone got it—or wanted to—and the term "dandy" has probably been more frequently one of ridicule, as the following poem and accompanying illustrations indicate.


AT length a thing of whalebone, buckram, starch,
With mincing gait, half tip-toe dance, half march,
Unlike to woman, more unlike to man—
A thing ne'er heard of since the world began,
Till lately in the realm of Fashion found.
Adoring self with  reverence profound:
Since of its gender doubtful signs were shewn,
Its species e'en to naturalists unknown,
"Scorn'd by one sex, rejected by the other,
Its very sister laugh'd to call it brother;"
The languid looks this non-descript put on,
Its Gallic accent and its tender tone,
Its novel carriage—figure—raiment—feature,
Procur'd it notice—'twas so strange a creature. 
Almeira saw it shining at a fete,
And deem'd 'twould make her a convenient mate;
It thought the nymph a kindred soil, and seem'd
As—next to self— the damsel it esteem'd,—
They spoke! embrac'd! and—all due matters carried—
The loveless pair in Christian mode were married.

—From La Belle Assemblée: or, Court and fashionable magazine; containing interesting and original literature, and records of the beau-monde.  Publisher J. Bell, 1820

Illustration above left: "Dandies Dressing" by I.R Cruikshank, 1818.  Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Below right:  "Waist and Extravagance", by W. Heath, ca. 1830.


ILoveVersailles said...

I see these cartoons and suspect much liberty was taken for comic effect, as is often the case in fashion satire. I honestly can't imagine anyone, male or female, dressing to such a ludicrous extreme!

LaDonna said...

(trying again)

These are too funny! When did men give up caring about being fashionable? No dude today would ever want to be a dandy!

Blackbird Crafts said...

Well, there are many dandies today, it's just done differently. my friend Jack spends more time primping than I do, put lemon juice on his hair at the beach, always has a fancy pocket square in his his jack pocket, etc. I think he's the modern equivalent or near enough.
I do think the pictures are hilariously exaggerated.

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