It is entirely possible that among the historical aficionados of the internet, a dandizette is a well known term, but despite a prolific seven years of historical study the term has only just come to my attention in the past few weeks or so.
Allow me to backtrack a moment. I have attempted many starts at lacklustre blogs of varying subjects over the years, but I have never put my mind to the test when coming up with a blog title. To some it must come easy, and to others (the category which I fall) it required significantly more soul searching.
This is a blog about costuming. But what is it I wish to say about costume; about history? Who am I, even, and what part of these subjects adds to me and my view of the world? Well, I am a dandizette…
If the term dandizette is uncommon knowledge, its predecessor the dandy surely occupies far more real estate in the average person’s mind.
The dandy represents the crème de la crème of fashionable men. He is not, although commonly believed to be, synonymous with the fop. A fop is a dandy at the extreme level, taken to outrageous trends in fashion that often stray into the realm of gaudy and bizarre. The dandy is entirely more subtle in his presentation, he chooses the finest fabrics and cuts, his tailored appearance is immaculately presented to the smallest detail, lest it should capture anyone’s notice. It is noble indeed to attempt to achieve attention through subtlety.
“Dandy: Term used from the early nineteenth century onwards, for men who were deeply concerned about the smartness of their clothes and appearance.” (FASHION by the Kyoto Costume Institute, 2006)
“The dandy was not the decorated fop of the eighteenth century, but exemplary of modern man informed by classicism and the heroic model set by Nelson and Wellington. Cut and fit were everything, creating a codified language for those in the know … Wealth was whispered in the skill of the tailor, not the precious fabrics…” (Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah Jane Downing, 2010)
The dandizette herself is merely a dandy with a gentlewoman’s biology.
It is not without some trepidation as well that I declare myself a dandizette. A perfectly tailored garment is an anomaly in this era of stretch, where nearly every item in a lady’s wardrobe consists of a knit. In the pursuit of costume, particularly historical costume, however, an effort can be made.
Through the study of both history and costume construction, I hope to better myself; to deserve the status of dandizette. I hope this blog can be a tribute to my personal growth and also my connection of a vibrant online costuming community.
And lest I’ve scared anyone away with a sense of pretension, I like to cosplay too!