A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Cultural History of the Dandy @ Slate.com

Leonardo DiCaprio (with Tobey Maguire) as Jay Gatsby,
looking quite dandyish in a pink pinstriped suit with turnback cuffs.

Here's an interesting article by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell titled "The Man In The Pink Suit," which I took to be a reference to the Great Gatsby. I thought the passage on Gatsby was interesting in that it alludes to his "gangster" style, which, as I've been saying, was really just the lastest styles as worn by dandies who just so happened to be criminals in the 1920s and 1930s.

For Gatsby, the consummate performer, life is a stage, and Daisy is his audience of one. If clothes make the man, then this archetypal self-made man owes everything to his wardrobe. In the film, his bedroom looks like an outpost of Brooks Brothers; his straw boater stays in place even when he’s tearing around Long Island in his tricked-out yellow convertible. But the subtext is clear: Sharp-dressed men can’t be trusted. Their flashy suits are disguises, distractions. Gatsby’s style is more gangster than gentleman; it’s hard to picture him rocking Nick Carraway’s floppy bow ties or Tom Buchanan’s riding breeches. “An Oxford man!” Tom bellows. “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.” Though no Oxford man, Gatsby bears a striking resemblance to the Arrow Collar man looming over Times Square—a historically accurate detail not spelled out in the book. His tailored perfection is too good to be true, a two-dimensional façade. Like the detachable shirt collar itself, Gatsby is dapper but doomed.

All in all, the article is entertaining and illuminating. And I was not aware that Michael Jackson was fond of quoting Napoleon, which is an eye-opener unto itself.



  1. Here's a link to a current RISD exhibit mentioned in the article:


    Nick D.