I have to hand it to my friend Hari Sakka, a member of long standing of the Pairov Institute, for reminding me of the ridiculous list of baseball player names made up in an attempt to sound American for a 1990s Japanese video game. Among them, Willie Dustice, Sleve McDichael (which itself sounds like one of the nine billion names of Dave Ryder) and Bobson Dugnutt.
Desiree Desierto of the University of Rochester and Mark Koyama of George Mason University have recently released a working paper on these laws, known as “sumptuary laws,” in pre-industrial Europe. Along the way they find some delightful language from various medieval laws, such as the 1485 French law that restricted the use of gold, silver, and silk cloth to “nobles living nobly who are born and extracted of good and old nobility.”
Most books on dandies attempt to suggest they are all of many conflicting concepts of the word, so that the very least of the dandies they feature is not just an eccentric who fetishizes dressing well, but also, supposedly, a political revolutionary, an intellectual incendiary, and a retrograde elegant gentleman to (champagne-polished) boot. Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, by Shantrelle P. Lewis, is not one of those books.
In 2020, I resolved to buy fewer clothes for myself. The problem is that I have a lot of opinions about clothes and over the years, have developed a roving eye, always searching online for new stuff, popping into stores to chat with my favorite salesmen (shoutout to the Drake’s Boys), and scanning the blogs to see what’s new.
The theme of sustainability and ethical consumption has now reached the #menswear magazine and blogging world. In brief, it manifests as a call to buy better and to buy local. This is laudable – it’s harder and harder to avoid shocking headlines like the one about the 15 largest ships in the world (all or almost all container ships that move the world’s merchandise around) emitting more nitrogen and sulfur than all of the world’s cars combined. However, as with so many other aspects of clothing, complications lurk under the surface