Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Etiquette and Beau Brummell

Beau Brummell influenced royals, and set trends in Regency England, including that of regular bathing. An iconic figure of the Regency Era, he was the arbiter of men's fashion, and a friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV – “Beau Brummel’s fashion ideals favored simple, classic and largely unadorned beauty. He eschewed the bright colors, wigs and showy fabrics of the previous generation, promoting clean lines, understated hues and impeccable tailoring. Brummell took a similar approach to bathing and grooming, refusing to douse himself with the stifling scents and lotions prized by young men and women of his day. Many of his followers would eventually adopt this simpler ethos, relying on a healthy soak in the tub rather than copious amount of perfume to smell fresh and clean.” – 

Of all the famous men of fashion and devotees of the most strict in the art of manners, Beau Brummell stands at the lead, and his name has become so synonymous with the name “dandy.” that it has almost passed into the English language. George Brummell he was Christened, but “Beau” Brummell was applied to him at a very early age, and he lived up to the name through his entire life, setting the fashion of the English not alone in dress, but in deportment, in manners and etiquette. His reign as the arbiter of fashion in the early part of the nineteenth century was as extraordinary as that of any other tyrant in history. Not even Earls and Dukes were exempt in his dominant power over fashion and not even the Prince of Wales, who afterwards became George IV, dared offer any advice against his dictation in his particular field. His depotism in this respect was partly by chance and partly by nature. In the former, he had the favor of distinguished personages. 

His aunts, who were well-bred, but unfortunately having reached redticed circumstances, were given employment as gatekeepers in the comfortably furnished lodge at Greenwich by George III and were allowed to keep cows in the park and sell milk. The Prince of Wales was accustomed to frequently visit the lodge to see the gatekeeper’s cows milked. Upon one of these occasions, Brummell, who had but recently returned from Eton, had the pleasure of meeting the Prince. They struck up considerable of a friendship, and the latter used his influence to make Brummell a Cornet of Hussars in a desirable regiment. George was an exceedingly handsome youth when he got out of Eton; by no means a mere dandy, but he became so much interested in clothes and how to wear them to the best advantage, that he was shortly looked upon as the best-dressed gentleman of the day. Neckcloths were his greatest victories. At his neck they were starched. He was fastidious in trying them. “These X.” solemnly said his valet, bearing forth a pile of crumpled linen, “these are our failures.” – From 7 Famous Beaux, 1911

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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