Posts Tagged ‘fonzworth bentley’

The Dandy: Self-made, Well-dressed, Well-mannered, and Traditional or Flamboyant.

Dandy. When I hear that word a slew of things come to mind, a few of them being: the phrase “well, isn’t that just dandy”, the image of a flamboyantly dressed gentleman somewhere in Europe, the childhood song “Yankee Doodle”, the book “Great Gatsby”, and a few stylish men- one being Fonzworth Bentley.
Though I’ve learned about dandies here and there throughout life, I’ve never just sat down and researched dandies and dandyism myself. So, I decided to, and this is what I found…

(pictured left, the first dandy George Brummel)

According to Webster:

Main Entry: 1dan·dy
Pronunciation: \ˈdan-dē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural dandies
Etymology: probably short for jack-a-dandy, from 1jack + a (of) + dandy (origin unknown)
Date: circa 1780
1 : a man who gives exaggerated attention to personal appearance
2 : something excellent in its class
So basically, a dandy is indeed a well-dressed man. To go further he is, “a man who places, particular importance or physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies.” The history of the dandy is rather interesting, being that he’s often defined in several ways:

1. a self-made person, who rejected bourgeois values, adapting a carefree, indolent lifestyle while emulating aristocracy

2. a person of middle class background, who imitated aristocratic style

-or simply-

3. a refined, elegant man

I find that, historically, most dandies were either very wealthy or middle class. The wealthy ones would dress extravagantly and were either flanuers- men who wanted to quintessentially experience life and observe beauty and art -OR- men who played many games (billiards, hunting, etc), lived at the cafes, dined at the inns, and were seemingly idle. The middle class dandies were often men who were innately stylish, causing them to be fawned over by the aristocrats, and their elegance and style made them extremely influential in their societies.

A famous dandy, Baudelaire, commented that the dandies had “no profession other than elegance…no other status but that of cultivating the idea of beauty in their own persons….The dandy must aspire to be sublime without interruption; he must live and sleep before a mirror.”

So elegance is his job? Hmmm… let’s have a closer look into “dandyism”.
(excerpt from thedandy.org)

“Dandyism was born “officially” in the early 1800′s. At this time there was a lot of change going on politically [the French had recently made their king a bit shorter- by a head], and socially as England was quickly surpassing France as the major cultural influence in Europe and America. What happened in short was this. A young man whose name was George Bryan Brummel, the son of a undersecretary made friends with the Prince Regent, and became one of the most influential, and even powerful men in the nation, not by his birthright, or education, or military prowess, or scholastic accomplishment…but by being well dressed.
George made quite an impression on English society, and caused many powerful people to abandon their gaudy Baroque-ish outfits and adopt Mr. Brummel’s clean, elegant, simple toned manner of dressing. George Brummel’s perfection of style gained him access to the highest of English society: the Dandy was born. The Dandy was a gentleman first, any other title HAD to come second. The fact that he was of noble blood of any rank, whose job had traditionally been to dress well as a sign of social standing, could be an obstacle to being a Dandy if he relied on his title, and not his style. Thus any gentleman through a command of the dress and manners of good society, could gain access to the social influence of the aristocracy. Thus, an aristocrat could only be a Dandy if his pride was his appearance and manners, not this title. Nor could a nobleman of any rank be a Dandy if he dropped in his title in conversation in order to impress, or took more pride in his heritage than his style. If ever he relied on his title, he lost his Dandyhood. This new standard had a dramatic effect on the English landscape, and wasn’t long before heading across the channel to France. We’ll stop with the history, and explain a bit more about the characteristics.
A Dandy pursed elegance, it was his ultimate and unique goal. Everything he did was designed to make his social presentation more elegant, thus great care had to be taken not to appear too extravagant in his dress, and of course never slovenly. A Dandy was also not a man who wares flamboyant clothing. His outfits are designed to please and add elegance and swagger to his presentation; not make him stand out a mile away, so Oscar Wilde was NOT a Dandy- in the strict definition of the term.
Oscar Wilde is not a traditional dandy

This trend of using elegant dress to influence people, while not being a novel one, nevertheless was an important one, because as there were Macaronis, Hell rakes, Fops, and other sorts of fancy figures in the history of Europe and America, they never were able to cross that line into real social power unless they had been born there. The Dandy was the first. This meant that as the 19th Century progressed, it was not a narrow aristocracy of birth that ran society, but a collection of well dressed, well mannered gentlemen who all obeyed the same set of rules, and for whom- any of whom, regardless of birth, to break the rules of etiquette, meant banishment form society. Influence and power was based around being well bred, not of noble birth… [The] Dandy is a man whose pursuit of elegance, in matters of dress, manners, and speech gains him a respect that nothing else can give. “

So flamboyant doesn’t define a dandy at all, not the original dandy anyway. Using one’s style and speech to achieve social status… that’s an everyday thing in this century, though many fail with their pedestrian attempts. But still, this isn’t far-fetched… there are a ton of phrases that emulate this way of thinking, “Dress for the job you want” “Dress for success”. There are many versions of those phrases, and I’d have to agree with them all for the most part. Your appearance is important, they say people make their first impression within three-seven seconds of meeting a person. It sorta sux that people judge so quickly, but that’s life… and three to seven seconds isn’t enough time to carry out an intellectual conversation, but if you look good then you’re off to a nice start. ( this is random, but Will Smith’s movie, Six Degrees of Seperation comes to mind)

Okay, so we’ve covered the definition, history, and modern adaptions of dandy philosophy, now I think it’s appropriate to figure out who the modern day dandies are.

Alright, so I did a well-rounded best-dressed list back in June 2008 that included- Kanye West, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Pharrell Williams, Andre Benjamin, Fonzworth Bentley, Johnny Depp, etc. And I think all of these guys could possibly be dandies, depending on the definition given. But obviously everyone can’t be a dandy… here’s my dandy check-list:

A dandy must:

1. place importance on being well-dressed
2. be well-mannered and elegant in speech and living -OR- be flamboyant in his “acts” of elegance.

I think there are two types of dandies: the traditional dandy and flamboyant dandy or maybe I should say the intrinsic dandy and the extrinsic dandy. I find that many people these days are moreso extrinsically dandy than intrinsically dandy, either one is okay, but I have a preference for those who are intrinsically dandy.

Fonzworth Bentley is indeed a dandy

Okay, so if I had to categorize the gents of today, then who would be what… well from the best-dressed list two guys instantly stand out- Kanye and Fonzworth. These are the main two guys from the list that I feel places great importance on being very well-dressed, and from those two I’d have to say Fonzworth Bentley is the intrinsic dandy, while Kanye West is an extrinsic dandy. Mr.Bentley doesn’t over do it, he doesn’t wear “loud clothing” or proclaims himself best-dressed, atleast I don’t think he does. And he, much like George Brummel and other traditional dandies, wasn’t born into an elite family, but rather found favor with the wealthy elite because of his style and mannerisms. Bentley was a maître d at a New York restaurant and was “discovered” by Diddy… the rest of the story you know. Mr. West on the other hand, though I love his style, he can often go overboard and places Too much emphasis on designer labels, when that is Not what style is about. The perfect example of the two types would be Kanye’s emphasis trip to Paris earlier this year


I honestly think it’s hard to place celebrities in one of the dandy categories because many of them dress nice, ONLY because of their fame. It’s hard to figure out who just has “it” and would still have “it” if they were working a regular 9-5. For that reason, I feel photographers, writers, artist and such are better people to give such a title too. Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist himself, is a given traditional dandy to me… he observes people, beauty, style and (from what I can tell) is an intrinsically elegant man. I’m sure many of you have atleast one person in mind that could be either of the two types of dandies….

Scott the Sartorialist

It’s easier for me to group celebrities of the past as dandies… Fred Astaire is often categorized as a dandy, I think the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford) were dandies of their time, I’d have to be candid and say a good amount people of color in entertainment in the 50s, 60s, were intrinsic dandies- being extremely elegant was the only way many of them would even be given the opportunity to entertain despite their musical genuis (so Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, etc etc).

Rat Pack
Nat King Cole

Fred Astaire

Perhaps in a decade or so we’ll look back and call Michael Jackson a sort of dandy- who knows… I think dandyism is still very much in play today, it’s just a little harder to point out. Who would you all consider a (modern) dandy?

Andre Benjamin... I’d call him a southern dandy

sources: mytholoke.com, thedandy.org

Who is Kanye’s Crew?

from left to right

Don. (aka deadstock don)
Taz Arnold. (a rapper/artist, has a line called Ti$a)
Chris Julian. (Owner FRUITION in Las Vegas)
Kanye West.
Fonzworth Bentley.(host of from g’s to gents)
Virgil Abloh. (a creative force/ PASTELLE designer of sorts)
Ferrai Murakami. (his barber) (not featured here)

there’s more depending on the day, the time, the moment.

*These guys pretty much refer to themselves as the G.O.O.D. Music/ Pastelle Fam. So basically everyone you see him rolling with is pretty much helping him with the label in some way or another.

Kanye and friends have been in Paris just “ackin a fool, stuntin’ on em” , but seriously though many of you all HATE the looks being worn by Kanye & Crew, I however have to applaud in many aspects— okay, yes they may seem to be trying to hard, but really they aren’t.

Taz, well if you know anything about the dude he just dresses over the top- that’s him. Fonzworth he’s staying true to himself and continues to make us proud by looking like a true dapper southern-bred gentleman (Georgia-bred to be specific). And Kanye, well he just has a love for labels and that’s just how some people are, but I’m pretty sure with age he will transcend the labels. And the other guys, well I don’t really know their history per se, but from what I’ve been learning about them they seem to just be “doing them”. They all may be turning it up a few degrees for fashion week, but hey Kanye’s trying to launch a label so they’re getting ALOT of publicity from this… and from what it seems they will surely have a superb line.

Sidenote: seriously though, these guys have style in their own way… I’ll do an individual profile on each of them later.

Fonzworth Bentley: PAGE SIX & Paris

Mr. Fonzworth Bentley is not just stuntin‘ with Ye’s in Paree, he’s stuntin‘ on the inside of Page Six as well. He talks about how Donna Karan and Diddy are quintessentially Mr. and Miss New York, click the image to read more.

But seriously though guys, with your Louis and MCM Bags, Gucci boots, Gucci shades, Rayban wayfarers, Gucci suits, and MCM coats…. but really though guys, can I be the chick in the crew next time- puh-leeez…. with cherries on top.

From G’s to Gents: Episode 2

Marcellus Reynold and Fonzworth Bentley
I love Bentley’s casual look- perfect.

The bad acting continues. . .

In a nutshell: The episode starts with a “B*tch calling contest”, a few of the guys call each other and their mothers the B-word. After getting dressed they go down and read The Daily Gent, which is a newsletter about the activities of the day. The Daily Gent lets them know that the day is going to be about fashion. The guys drive down to Beverly Hills to meet with celebrity stylist, Marcellus Reynolds at the Reiss store. He gives them a few tips and pointers about fashion and style. After the visit to Reiss the “G’s” find out that the next challenge is going to be a fashion show.

Britsh men have impeccable style,
Ozwald Boateng has dressed Jamie Foxx and Will Smith

For this event celebrity stylist Ozwald Boateng was the guest judge. The guys were divided in a group of 4 in which one guy had to be the spokesperson while the other 3 dress up for a particular event/occasion: 1. Spokerperson at a Country Club 2.) Skybox Party 3.) Charity Event aboard a Yacht. Stan, Zenel, and E6 win simultaneously, which left group A as the winners with immunity (Stan & E6′s team).

Male stripper Stan wins the Country Club look

When it came down to elimination. D-Boy had 1 black ball, Zenel had 2, Mikey P had 2, and Kesan had 7. In the end Mr.Bentley sent Zenel and Mikey P home because he felt like they were already doing pretty good for themselves as actors and/or models. (Even though Kesan is a actor as well and a rapper, but whatever, lol. . .this show is too fake).

Zenel and Mikey P loose their Gentleman’s Club Membership

Lesson 2: Fashion
Fashion is a non-verbal language. You notice it as soon as a person enters the door, so it’s a part of the first impression you give off. It’s all about dressing appropriately for everywhere you go. The suit is the international uniform for business.

Every man should know how to a tie a tie. When tying a tie make sure you have a dimple in it; the dimple is also known as the “Wall Street Clevage”.

Urban Gent view: Fashion is obviously very important, hence this blog, lol. And a dimple in your tie is a must.

Fonzworth Bentley and his guest judges looked superb all episode.

Morehouse Fresh

A few years ago I began calling the fashion style of some guys “Morehouse Fresh”. It’s my patented phrase! Some non-Morehouse males don’t like the phrase, they say it’s biased. But I find it very appropriate because it describes the fashion sense of many men of the prestigious college. The style is distinctive and easy to point out in a crowd; it usually consists of a sweater vest, bow tie, plaid shirt or polo, oxford style shoes and maybe even loafers. You may think “Well, that’s just called prep”- my retort is prep only describes clothing; Morehouse Fresh describes style and swagger.

Derek Watkins aka Bentley Fonzworth

There are many men that embody the Morehouse Fresh style, a perfect example is Morehouse Alum Derek Watkin aka Bentley Fonzworth. He’s previously known as Sean Comb’s butler, but he’s now a successful business man who has his own book and cd.

Andre Benjamin can often be found looking Morehouse Fresh, showing that you don’t have to attend Morehouse to dress the part. His new fashion line, Benjamin Bixby, is perfectly Morehouse Fresh. Check out some of his pieces:

Spring 2008 Benjamin Bixby Collection

Wanna be Morehouse Fresh?
Well, the best way to get the look is to make sure you own 2 or more of these items:

- unique classic blazer (ex. brown jacket w/ navy elbow patches)
- vest (button and sweater)
- bow-tie or classic-colored tie
- quality oxford shoes
- a designer accessory (Armani shades, Gucci belt, LV computer case, etc)
- glasses (they can be fake. . . you can get some from Urban Outfitters, this is optional)

Best Brands/Stores for the “Morehouse Fresh” look:

- Ralph Lauren

- Brooks Brothers

- Heritage 1981

- Lacoste

- High-End Thrift Stores

Check out these Morehouse Fresh Items:

Bright Classic-Fit Ralph Lauren Polo

Slip-on Leather shoes from Zappos.com
(these can easily be dresses up or down)

Linen Plaid Sport Coat from Brooks Brothers

Multi-colored Paisly bow-tie from bowtie.com

Red/Burnt-Orange Cardigan from Urban Outfitters

*Note that not all Morehouse men dress “Morehouse Fresh”

The Best Dressed Men in Hollywood

No men’s fashion blog would be complete without a list of the best-dressed men in Hollywood. I based my list off People, Esquire, and my own personal preferences.

There are many guys that shine at award- shows or in videos, but there are only a few that are notable fashion gurus on and off the camera. Many of these guys have completely different styles, but they look good and wear their clothes well:-)

1. Kanye West
2. David Beckham
3. Andre Benjamin
4. Brad Pitt
5. Pharrell Williams
6. George Clooney
7. Johnny Depp
8. Fonzworth Bentley
9. Terrence Howard
10. Clifford “T.I” Harris Jr.

Check back for Fashion Icon articles in which these men will be featured, one-by-one, throughout the next few weeks

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