Don’t these guys look sharp? These fashionable gentlemen, who are overrunning our hoods and who are being popularized and glamorized through blogs such as Street Etiquette and Dapper Lou might seem like they are having a style evolution, however, the dapper/dandy look is not new.
In the cycle of fashion, what was once old is new again and nowhere is this ringing truer than in the dancehall community. Gone is the rudeboy look of yesteryear and in its place is an influx of tailored, colorful and refined gear that screams…GENTLEMEN. It’s both odd and a delight to see the men of dancehall in this dandy attire. Odd because dancehall lyrics are often times crass, and sexist which does not complement this style. A delight because dancehall heads are pushing the boundaries of style by veering from the stereotypical often times negative images of urban black men whose style, many believe is only confined to oversized denim and casual attire.
In the photos below, the men of Connecticut’s dancehall community are adorned from head to toe in attire that mixes pattern, color and texture. In place of the expected gold medallion we see bow ties and pencil thin ties, the kind that we see in old photos of our fathers and uncles (see black and white photo below) or the gentlemen shown in the photos of the Dandy Lion and the Global Dandy exhibits on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, MD. (See info here and here).
I personally love this style because it gives urban men a persona of refinement and approachability. Now if some of the dancehall women would just take note.
The images above are courtesy of Robert Cooper Photography
The two dapper gentlemen above, my uncle on the left and Pops on the right.