Aesthetics Wiki

The Dandy was a stereotype and trope prevalent during the late-18th and 19th centuries in France and Great Britain that represented middle-class men who were heavily concerned with their physical appareances and sense of fashion, pretended to lead aristocratic lifestyles and used refined language. Other stereotypical traits associated with Dandies is insatisfaction, boredom and rejecting the styles of the poorer people. Authors like Charles Baudelaire described Dandies as "men who elevated aesthetics to a religious level".

The modern interpretation of Dandyism subculture as we see it today realistically originated in the 1790s, during the Revolutionary Period in Europe. Those who were described as Dandies or identified as such usually wore flamboyant clothing, similiar to those worn by French soldiers and the French high-class during the French Revolution. Some European artistic and cultural movements that fueled the prevalence of the Dandy stereotype include Aestheticism, Romanticism and Decadence.

Today, much like Metrosexual, Dandy is considered an outdated term, because nowadays it's normalized for men to wear whatever clothing they'd like without being judged, mocked or fetishized.


Although the concept of stereotypes towards sophisticated and well-dressed men has been around since at least Ancient Greece, the modern concept of a Dandy originated in England in the 18th century, during the Regency era. The word Dandy came to mean a "a person (particularly male) who paid a lot of attention to his appearance and social standing"[1]. One of the most prominent figures of the Dandyism social movement was George Bryan Brummell, also known as Beau Brummell. The Dandy movement also helped break traditional notions of gender expression in western Europe; remarkably coinciding with the more recent Metrosexual subculture.

Modern Dandies[]

The Dandyism movement evolved over centuries and although it is no longer as relevant, it marked an important era of masculine fashion. Modern Dandies usually wear these types of old-fashioned, possibly "vintage" fashion as a way of celebrating the timeless look and legacy of the movement and embracing classic elegance. There are subcultures that also grew out of the Modern Dandy movement, like Sapeurs and Swenkas.


The concept of men who wanted to always dress well was very influential in both fashion and works of fiction. Some aesthetics and subcultures that were inspired or simply share similiarities with Dandyism include Metrosexual, Swenkas, La Sape, Hipster, Preppy, Pijo, Dark Gatsby, Boystyle, Aristocrat.


Some elements prominent in Dandy fashion include:

  • Slim-fit or tapered leg trousers
  • Well-tailored two-piece or three-piece suits
  • Details like perfectly matched buttons, lapels and linings
  • Elegant dress shirts
  • Folded pocket squares
  • Cufflinks
  • Trench coats
  • Gloves and top hats
  • Waistcoats
  • Wingtip shoes or brogues
  • Perfectly tied bows or bowties
  • Elegant colours like navy blue, grey, black or dark brown
  • Perfectly made and detailed outfits
  • High-quality fabrics like wool, cashmere, silk and corduroy


Some personality-related stereotypes about Dandies include:

  • They are completely obsessed with their appareance.
  • They are superficial and vain.
  • They are flamboyant and eccentric.
  • They are elitists and very snobbish.
  • They are very creative with their fashion choices.
  • They are not afraid to stand out.


Fictional Characters[]

  • Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby
  • Orlando from Orlando
  • Algernon Moncrieff from The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Lord Henry Wotton from The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • France from Hetalia: Axis Powers
  • Old Mr. Turveydrop from Bleak House