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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Beau Brummell

George Bryan "Beau" Brummell was born in London on June 7, 1778, the younger son of William Brummell, a politician.

Brummell was educated at Eton, where he first made his mark on fashion by not only modernizing the white stock, or cravat, that was the mark of the Eton boy, but adding a gold buckle to it

After inheriting a reasonably sized family fortune, fancy London resident George Bryan "Beau" Brummell dedicated his life to maintaining the lifestyle of a "gentleman of fashion."

His main claim to fame was that he got rid of the prevalent fashion for massive wigs, powder and face paint. Brummel wanted men to look manly again and one way he achieved this was to popularize the wearing of trousers, which sounded the death knell for breeches.

He formed ‘the body dandiacal’, a group of men who were trying to wipe out the foppish look.

Brummell was so petrified of soiling his shoes on the pavement or of having a hair blown out of place that he used to order his sedan chair to be brought inside his house so he could board there. He refused to raise his head to a lady because he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to replace it at precisely the same angle.

He only ever wore a maximum of three colors. During the day, he wore black, cream and buff-colored clothes. At night he only wore black and white, which gave rise, eventually, to the dinner jacket.

Shaving and proper grooming for men became a self-indulging and overly narcissistic pastime thanks to Brummell. Known for his impeccable grooming, manners and style of dress, Brummell  was said to have shaved his face several times a day and plucked out leftover hairs with tweezers.

Brummell, engraved from a miniature portrait

Glove wearing as a social requirement reached a height in the 19th century, illustrated by Beau Brummell's prejudice that a perfect gentleman must change his gloves at least six times a day.

Source Radio Times

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