Much akin to their Traditionalist counterparts, the NuDapper’s style is primarily informed by the classic gentleman’s wardrobe – except that it is far less rigid in its dogma and instead champions experimentation within the general confines of classical menswear. The question the NuDapper asks would therefore be: what would a new-age gentleman wear in this occasion? Not to say that Traditionalists aren’t modern. But the NuDapper is more exploratory in their attitude, willing to break rules and mix them about, but always finishing off looking debonair. The NuDapper doesn’t mind picking up cues from current trends, but they always fit them into the template of what is acceptable to a gentleman.
The traditional definition of “gentleman” has been buffeted by a growing emphasis on a man’s physicality and sexual vigour on one hand, and by the rise of the sensitive beta-male and the extreme popularity of “pretty boys” on the other. The NuDapper can be seen as a response to this constantly changing ideal of what a man should be and should look like, opting to break away from tradition yet not completely divorcing it, and to take on what is in vogue without losing the appeal of a well-dressed, respectable individual.
A NuDAPPER’S PROFILE
The NuDapper is typically someone very self-assured about his sense of style, and enjoys expressing himself with the way he dresses – sometimes in a jocular fashion. Although he is certainly knowledgeable about putting a decent gentleman’s outfit together, he does not feel obliged to follow the given rules, but take them as boundary markers within which he can experiment and create.
At first glance they may seem similar to the Traditionalists, but a closer look would show that the NuDapper is less “stuffy” and formal, and most probably more snazzy and laissez-faire. Their suits are most likely tailored to fit snugly from shoulders to ankles, not minding the feminizing effect it can sometimes have. They can be wild when it comes to colors, picking untraditional hues of blue, pink or green; sometimes they match clashing patterns and don’t mind paying homage to modern art with their prints. They wear oxfords with no socks, a printed tank top under a suit jacket, or a bowtie with polo shirts – as long as the general idea still looks somewhat traditional, its components don’t matter. Often there is a tongue-in-cheek element in their dapper ensembles that’s playful but very self-aware.
A great example of the NuDapper can be found in the New Orleans jazz age style, where folks use the good old template of a formal jazz band’s dress code and throw colors and prints into open suits with rolled-up sleeves, suspenders and bowler hats. Despite the throwback to early 1920s’ swing and jazz eras, the look is always fashion-forward and exciting to look at. Similar to this style is the dandy La Sape movement in ex-colonial Africa, where men dress in the elegant style of their colonial predecessor dandies as a way of resistance.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This archetype is definitely for someone who has some insight into men’s fashion and also a sense of humor and courage. If you know a thing or two about how a gentleman should dress, yet love to leave an impression as someone fun and creative, get on this NuDapper trend and you’ll never look back. It’ll get you brownie points for charm, yet make people take you seriously – as a stylish gentleman or otherwise.
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Know your rules first – if not you wouldn’t know the premise in which you can break them. Once you know the space you can work within, go wild. Don’t see the experiment as a means to an end of looking dapper – often it’s the experimenting itself that’s fun and rewarding. Break up items that traditionally go together, and mix them up with other items. You’ll be surprised how your existing wardrobe can go a long way.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- Paul Smith
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Louis Vuitton
- Michael Bastian
- Maison Margiela