MHS junior not afraid to show off his dandy style
Luke Hutchinson | Online Editor
Some things never go out of style.
In the past, a dandy was a male who placed particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language and leisurely hobbies. Dandyism was the expectation for 19th century upper class Englishmen; it was a style marked with excessive refinement. For junior Daniel Caal, it is a lifestyle that fits within his daily routine. Caal said he started holding himself to a high regard as a seventh grader.
“In seventh grade, I began liking photos of people wearing nice stuff,” Caal said. “I tried it out with simple things like jackets with plain shirts, but it wasn’t anything big. It got bigger in eighth grade, and I transformed immediately. I’ve been developing my style over the years.”
The term ‘dandy’ has become mostly obsolete, but the refined behavior has stuck around, now being referred to as the ‘dapper’ lifestyle by modern fashion enthusiasts. Caal said he enjoys partaking in this new global trend despite being in high school.
“The dapper lifestyle is kind of a new thing that people do,” Caal said. “On social media these days, there are actually a lot of people from all over the world that dress dapper and they all seem to know each other. I know models from Melbourne, Australia who dress extremely nice and inspire me in my own place, because this is a strange place to do it.”
While the lifestyle is expensive, Caal said he learned to become a strategically discounted buyer as he expanded upon various brands to fit his wardrobe.
“It is an expensive hobby, but once you have been doing it for a while, you kind of get good at deals and bargaining; you know when to buy,” Caal said. “I kind of mix things around. I wear cotton from Guatemala and different brands like Calvin Klein and Van Heusen. You can try different things out, you don’t have to be partial to one brand.”
As decades are often characterized by the particular fashion, music and literature that lived on during their specific time, Caal said his favorite one to represent through his appearance is the 1920’s.
“I’m mostly into classic American literature from the 1920’s and all of style from that time,” Caal said. “Some of that style is gone, but some is still there. I try to bring back the time period through different things like wearing pocket watches on different vests, and collar pins instead of tie clips, because they are more flashy.”
Caal said his pocket watch can be worn in a single or double strand.
No matter the time period Caal is looking to style after, he said there are a countless number of combinations he can choose from, and that is what makes the hobby worth it.
“There are too many combinations of outfits,” Caal said. “You have to take in the informal pants, formal pants, different shoes, multiple jackets, casual jackets and ties. There is so much that you can do and it’s pretty insane. I’m always wearing something different.”
Music and fashion go hand in hand within the dapper lifestyle. Caal said another reason he cares about the 1920’s is because of the music genres that were introduced, but the 1970’s and 1980’s are in close second.
“Music is definitely part of the dapper lifestyle too,” Caal said. “I enjoy music from the 1920’s, like I love boogie-woogie and jazz on piano. Music can be paired to style so easily, and it’s just great to think about all those different things that go back in time. I also enjoy true cultural artists from the 70’s and 80’s like Michael Jackson and James Brown.”
While the lifestyle requires commitment and planning, Caal said he experienced the most trouble in the beginning, while he tried to feel comfortable around his peers.
“It took me a long time to get over the fact that people were judging me as I developed outfits gradually,” Caal said. “For so long there was always more people I would meet that would be like ‘Why are you dressed like that so often?’ but it suddenly went away. I hated the middle school environment, but I at least tried back then. I started switching up casual Friday into wearing full-on suits. Right now, I’m at the point where people are so used to seeing me this way that they don’t even ask. Now I see school as just going out and looking nice.”