Dandies and Dandizettes Dressing for the Easter Ball
14 x 9.5 inches
The fashion for gentlemen to dress in the "French Style" began towards the end of the eighteenth century and gathered momentum under the Regency when it became popular for men of a certain social standing to adopt an ever more flamboyant style of dress. The caricaturists were quick to pick up upon this and such men were immortalised in print and identified collectively as the Dandies. This delightful print depicts three Dandies preparing for an Easter Ball. Centre stage is a valet engaged in the Herculean task of reducing his master's waist to a minimum. It involves a great deal of effort and arouses comment from a fellow Dandy sitting upon the bed and still undressed: "make haste and finish his stays and then see if my shirt is come from the wash". Enlivening the scene still further are two ladies, also preparing for the dance and affectionately called Dandizettes. The ultimate Dandy was, of course, Beau Brummell (1778-1840), a close associate of the Prince Regent and the arbiter of men's fashion. He promoted the wearing of perfectly tailored suits and neckties throughout fashionable London. He was reputed to take five hours to get dressed in the morning and advocated the use of champagne for the cleaning of one's boots. Although his style of dress was both elegant and understated those who attempted to follow him were often lampooned in the press and identified as Dandies.