We like to celebrate and honour the great style icons of history, and there’s none greater or more stylish in the history of men’s clothing than Beau Brummel.
George Bryan Brummell, better known as Beau Brummell, was THE arbiter of fashion in Regency England and a friend of the insousiant Prince Regent. He led the trend for men to wear understated, but beautifully cut clothes, adorned with elaborately knotted neckwear. The exquisiteness of of English tailoring goes back to Brummel, for whom elegance was in the cut of the fabric.
Want to know who invented the modern men’s suit, worn with a necktie? It was Brummell, and it’s now the uniform for men the world over. Brummell claimed to take five hours a day to dress (no, he didn’t have a day job as such), and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. His style of dress came to define the style-conscious kind of masculinity we call ‘dandyism’. As inventing the suit wasn’t enough, he can also be credited with inveting the classic blue blazer (which every man ought to have in his wardrobe) worn with light colour trouers. The blue-blazer-with-khakis has its roots in Brummell’s Eton uniform.
BBC4 recently screened an adaptation of this icons life starring one of the actos of the moment James Purefroy, in which the contemporary Brumell stars in his own rock video. We also recommend Ian Kelly’s recent biography of Brummell which was the basis of the BBC drama. The book offers a brilliant portrait of the most stylish man ever, while also bringing to live the raucous life and times of early 19th century London.