Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Dandy - Women like guys who dress Up.

“It is, above all, a burning need to acquire originality, within the apparent bounds of convention. It is a cult of oneself, which can dispense even with what are commonly called illusions. It is the delight in causing astonishment and the proud satisfaction of never oneself being astonished.”
Charles Baudelaire, The Dandy.

The Dandy is one of the more colourful personas played by many successful men throughout history. Twenty-first century Dandies include Johnny Depp, Russell Brand, Austin Powers and Marc Hunter; artistes such as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Oscar Wilde and Rudolph Valentino were much loved proponents, whilst the originals, Lord Byron, Casanova and Count Dracula, had their roots in English aristocracy and the courts of renaissance Europe.

Dandies are known for creating their own image, often mixing styles comprised of both masculine and feminine fashions. They appear as fluid and ambiguous, appealing to both men and women through a style that is attractive but elusive, often stirring up repressed desires. They are non-conformist but graceful, domineering and flirtatious. Think pirates, musicians, courtesans, performers and magicians. Dandies are players.

The independence and creative detachment of the Dandy will often give him the upper hand in the pursuit of love and seduction. The Dandy is synonymous with sexual freedom, drawing out the playful and rebellious side of a conservative mate.

The wardrobe of a Dandy will usually include brightly coloured small pieces selectively worn to contrast an otherwise nonchalant outfit – a red vest, a green tie, a paisley shirt. Well chosen luxurious materials such as velvet, lace and silk convey an appearance best described as, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”   

In more audacious getups, Oscar Wilde was known for his green velvet suit, Andy Warhol his silver wig while Austin Powers was adored by slinky women for his groovy garb.

Deep rich colours and creative patterns in jackets and suits, plain long flowing shirts, layered with natural materials and rustic bling. Dandies layer and accessorise but not to the point of overdoing it – less is more. Carry one piece with an air of indifference: a belt, a ring, a necktie, a hat or glasses. Create a spectacle through your own approach to the world, not through over-exertion in front of the mirror. 

At the end of the 19th century, American dandies were called dudes ( In the 21st century, every man is a dude but the modern dandy is a man is who mixes mystery with style and passion with fashion. He cooks rare and drinks rich. 

Create your own style. Then find it. On Sizemikk.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Power Dressing

Given the appalling state of politics in Australia, in both style and substance, our public representatives could take a few lessons from our closest allies. US President Barack Obama is well noted for his sharp suits and clean cut, leader-of-men demeanour, but even the dearly defeated Mitt Romney presented a style that evoked power, trust and confidence. Whereas the man who so desperately wants to lead Australia, and some might say PM-elect, Tony Abbott, stylistically is best known for his man-of-action in red togs appearances.

So what makes for solid power dressing? For men, the essential item is a well-cut, dark coloured suit. Depending on your working environment and your natural colours, you might do well with a mid-grey but generally speaking, a light shirt contrasted with a dark suit will convey a sense of confidence, strength and good old-fashioned masculinity. A white shirt against a dark blue suit is a classic but other powerful combinations are sky blue on navy, light pink on dark grey or for a casual, understated power, use a dark shirt under a light grey suit.

Shirts should be flat (no stripes or checks), leaving any texture or patterns to the suit and tie.

As for ties, red has always been symbolic with power but only when it doesn’t clash with the other pieces. When you’re wearing a light blue shirt under a dark blue or grey suit, go for a tie that has shades of blue or grey in it. The texture or patterns in the tie is your chance to show some character and exude a bit of charm, just don’t go wacky. No cartoons, no motifs.

Rath and Co has a great blog for guys looking for style tips that work well in business, whether you are in a creative, conservative or leadership role. The article on style for CEOs is insightful.

To bring it back to the men of power, I’d love to know your thoughts on which Australian politicians are leading the style stakes?

Malcolm Turnbull dresses to his strengths.

Paul Keating raised the bar as the world’s best dressed treasurer.
Paul Keating: world's most sartorial treasurer? 

Who is leading the style stakes in the Australian halls of power?