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Fops vs. Dandies

A comparison of fops and dandies

Dandies were the Fops of the Regency, but not only were the two engaged in a fashion war during the late 18th century, they also maintained keen differences in attitude, as well as fashion. The key similarity is that both Fops and Dandies were obsessed with fashion to the point of spending hours dressing, preening before mirrors, being meticulous in wardrobe, and owning an impressive wardrobe. From there, the similarities end.

Attitude: Fops had the attitude of "Yes, I know I'm the best dressed in the room and you're terribly jealous of me." Dandies had the attitude of, "Oh, this old rag? I tossed it on thoughtlessly five minutes before leaving the house."

Hygiene: Fops doused themselves in perfume and painted their faces and powdered their hair/wig. Dandies bathed several times a day and preferred a natural look, unadorned by cosmetics, powder, or wig.

Fashion: Fops preferred the French fashion (before the revolution, obviously), opting for silks and satins, laces, vibrant colours, high heels, and embroidery. Dandies preferred an English egalitarian fashion (after the revolution), opting for black, white, and tan, linen, trousers or buckskin breeches, and Hessian boots.

Were all well dressed gentlemen Dandies (or Fops)? No. The term(s) referred to those fashionable gents who were obsessed with being the best dressed.

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