Beau Brummell – Inventor of the Dandy

When Barney says „suit up“, guess whom he owns it to? No, I don’t mean the writers of How I Met your Mother. I mean the guy who made wearing suits fashionable: Beau Brummell.

Brummell was born in London in 1778, served in the British Army and had inherited a decent amount of money from his father. He became a friend of the Prince of Wales due to his elaborate sense of style and grooming. He soon became famous for his daily routines of cleaning his teeth, shaving and taking a bath (which was not usual procedure at the time). Putting on his attire could take him up to five hours, as he was painstakingly meticulous with every single detail (as you can see in the video below). He also advised to have his shoes polished with Champagne. 

„Once tied, the necktie should never be altered in the hope of improving its appearance; if it is ill-tied, one must start again with a fresh cravat.(…)  The tying of a cravat involves the rigorous removal of human agency from the final appearance of the fabric: the knot is intentional, but the folds are entirely fortuitous.“

Dillon, Brian. Inventory/ A Poet of Cloth. In Cabinet Magazine.  http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/21/dillon.php

Unfortunately, his small fortune was quickly consumed both by his expenses on clothes and accessories, as well as on his gambling habit. He died in in France (where he had to flee to because of his debts) in 1840 as a poor and disease-ridden man.

Further Reading:

Ian Kelly, Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Dandy. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005

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