Dressing The Part, Part 2

May 3, 2011

I would like to share with you a simple secret to dressing for success: What inspires you, share it with others! Integrate your inspirations into your personal style. This will not only serve to enhance your choices but also help people feel the true and authentic intentions that drive your choices. Just dropping a fortune on an expensive and/or vintage outfit does not a Dandy make!

So, a few choice tips:

  • Make a date with yourself. Go to some local thrift or menswear shops and try on outfits you’d never have thought you’d wear. You never know how something will look until you try it on.
  • Chat with the salespeople at your local vintage shops. Ask questions about pieces and styles but when the piece is on you, understand that the salespeople wish to make a sale and cannot be trusted to give sound advice.
  • Pick a movie you love and emulate a style from the film. Period films are a wonderful resource.
  • Study online fashion sites. I love to surf for images with the words Edwardian, Victorian, dandy, gentleman, fop, and so on.
  • In Europe or England? Hit up the fashion museums!
  • Learn the basics of various fashion periods so as to mix your pieces intentionally.
  • Websites such as www.dandyism.net have a plethora of resources and links.
  • When dressing, ask yourself: Does this outfit say “invitation” or “armor”?
  • Wear what makes YOU feel good, even if sometimes you might look completely ridiculous!
  • Beware ill-fitting vests and waistcoats: a good vest can make a good ensemble but a bad one can destroy it!
  • Think about what you’ll say when people ask you what “the occasion” is.
  • Wear outfits that honor seasons or persons you admire.
  • Plan the buying of ‘special’ pricey pieces, either choose ones that work well with your existing wardrobe or ones will contribute specifically to a new overall look.
  • Pre-assemble an outfit or two on a hanger to dash out to those last-minute invites.
  • A inexpensive suit can look really great if you get it custom tailored.
  • Do not be afraid of strange neck wear, watch fobs, sock garters, tie pins,cravat pins,spats,scarves and canes.
  • Embrace whimsy!

I’d like to throw down ‘mad dandy props’  to those in the 1990s who provided me and many others, many exquisite opportunities to explore and hone our Dandy styles: Autumn and The Dark Garden crew. Costumed film screenings and impossible fantasy picnics with The Dreamers of Decadence. Mary Shelley boating parties with The Costumers Guild. Waltzing with The Art Deco Society & Gaskill’s Ball folks. Geeking out with Fantasy-Sci-Fi gaming conventions. The Gentlemen’s Society. The pagan community. SF Queer Culture. Randy’s splendid SLICK events. Ron and Phyllis Patterson for creating the whole RenFaire/Dickens universe! And the list goes on… . To all of you and those i may have forgotten to include here, I salute you all!


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