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A Modern Day Dandy

James Andrew with street art by Eduardo Kobra

James Andrew with street art by Eduardo Kobra

Seems various media outlets covering WIJW like to refer to me as a Gatsby/dandy—and I don’t mind. In fact, Fitzgerald’s fictional character is one of my favorite dandies (though I’d like to think I’m a bit happier than our friend Gatsby!).

Certainly there are many great historical figures who fit the dandy profile—Oscar Wilde, Cecil Beaton, Count Robert de Montesquiou or, say, Jean Lorrain—these men made careers from their innovative fashion sense, eccentric mannerisms, wit, and what some might consider unabashed naughtiness. While they were often branded fey or effeminate, I’d say they showed great inner strength and conviction in the face of a good deal of cultural bigotry.

Street art by Eduardo Kobra

Street art by Eduardo Kobra

In today’s overly casual world, it’s as if all one has to do is wear a coat and tie to be called a dandy, but this really shows a lack of understanding. Being a dandy has more to do with celebrating personal style and pushing beyond stayed cultural/aesthetic bounds—not in some impulsive, sloppy way, but with real consideration and an understanding of the word elegance. Dressing “up” is a way of showing respect for those around one—and hopefully in doing so, it encourages others to do the same!

Many men still balk at the idea of wearing a pink or lavender suit, a floral print, etc.,—that somehow colors and patterns connote gender of sexual proclivity. I entreat our readers to have fun and explore their inner dandy. You might raise some eyebrows, but do go forward and be confident in your choices!

I thought Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra’s depiction of a vintage New York City scene would be a brilliant backdrop for today’s post. Dressed like a modern day dandy, I’m wearing a Tom ford era Gucci black cashmere topcoat, Turnbull and Asser white and black silk scarf, Paul Stuart dove grey suede gloves, a Tom Ford three piece suit in charcoal wool cashmere Prince of Wales plaid, pale blue woven herringbone cotton shirt with French cuffs, black and white silk pocket square and black and tan leather loafers, Charvet black and grey striped silk tie, vintage pearl and sapphire cuff links, Rolex watch, Swaine Adeney Brigg Bark Ash handleumbrella, and my fragrance is Creed Royal Oud.

Bye Bye Birthday Blues

James Andrew

James Andrew - photo by Gabriel Everett

Birthdays can give one pause to reflect on time—particularly on how little of it there seems to be—and one takes stock of the high and low points of the year, wishing and hoping for more of the high ones! Despite the anxiety and unrest that often comes with this not always so happy day, I reminded myself this past Wednesday, on the occasion of my birthday, that there are always more things to create and experience, and it’s nearly impossible to get everything done!

With a monumental birthday looming this coming year (hey, it’s tough turning twenty!) I’ve found some solace in what my friends Abraham-Hicks™ have to say about things:

“What is the perfect age? Well, it’s the age where I finally understand my freedom, and I finally understand that I am free to create, and it’s the age that I am at my most beautiful. And we say, by whose standards? In other words, who gets to decide the perfect age? And we say, rather than determining what the perfect age is, why not decide what the perfect state of being is—and then discover that you can find the perfect state of being at any age.”

And still of course time goes by and we get older, but I’m happy to say that age has its benefits—every year I find myself getting closer to the full realization that we determine our reality, and that we do indeed have the power to create anything we want in life and beyond! Why not make every day a joyous birthday celebration?

scott_mcbee

Scott McBee's glorious birthday card illustration .

Scott McBee made me the most marvelous card above. Do keep him in mind when looking for your very own bespoke greeting cards!

After a fairly introspective day mulling over my mortality, our beloved Scott treated me to a splendid dinner at the Four Seasons. We had martinis, oysters, lobster bisque, and pheasant accompanied by the most delicious Côtes du Rhône. Champagne toasts followed along with a great billowing cloud of cotton candy and a dreamy chocolate soufflé—a sure fire way to turn anyone’s birthday gloom to glee!

The brilliant photo at top was taken by the very talented Gabriel Everett – definitely has a bit Dorian Gray feeling about it.

I’m sporting a Tom Ford “Snowdon” suit in lilac rose silk wool linen melange twill, brown and white woven mini hounds tooth shirt with French cuffs, brown and purple silk polka dot pocket square and brown suede tasseled loafers, Gucci python belt with silver buckle, vintage moon stone cuff links, Swaine Adeney Brigg Whangee umbrella and my fragrance is Creed Original Cologne.

WIJW to you!

James Andrew - NYC - photo by Lars Stephan.

James Andrew - NYC - photo by Lars Stephan.

I was recently approached by Dolce & Gabbana’s blog, Swide, to be featured on their wonderful site – I’m thrilled, as you might imagine, and I’ll let you know when to look for it!

The people at D&G as well as many of you do seem curious about our process here at WIJW so I thought to introduce/re-introduce some of the players and give a quick glimpse behind the scenes.

WIJW in process - Turner photgraphs Stephan photographing me!

WIJW in process - Turner photgraphs Stephan photographing me!

While much of the original idea for a piece can be quite spontaneous, the bulk of what happens here comes from some fairly methodical planning on my part, which is done a good two to three weeks in advance. There are quite a few elements that need to be sorted out – from scouting a location; to formulating an original idea; finding the most intriguing aspect of the story; to wardrobe planning and securing photographers; etc. etc. – All these logistical aspects can certainly have one’s head spinning, so I do rely quite a bit on a good support team comprised primarily of accomplished artists.

Alexander Scott

Alexander Scott

I teleconference with my “silent” creative partner and online image manager Alexander Scott in Boston virtually every night (sometimes quite late!) and he edits my written thoughts and raw images, fashioning them into what you see (and hopefully enjoy) the next morning. I’ve always loved his art and design work, as well as his way with words – so bringing him on board was a no-brainer. He also continually applies his discerning eye and technical know-how to create the site’s look with the WIJW aesthetic in mind.

james_pics_nyFor photography and illustration here in NYC I rely heavily on the efforts of three artists whose efforts are integral to WIJW – Scott McBee, Lars Stephan, and
Nicholas Turner.

I thought it might be fun to share some of the behind the scenes goings-ons at WIJW so I got Nicholas Turner to shoot Lars Stephan shooting me! The concept is a celebration of New York City, so on a rather gray and dreary day we headed over to Brooklyn to take advantage of some of the grand views. I’m sporting a black cotton wide wale corduroy jacket by Gucci, Turnbull and Asser purple cotton shirt with contrast white collar and cuffs, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, Tom Ford cashmere/silk large scale check tie in black, white and purple, Alexander McQueen herringbone wool tweed cargo style pant, silver leather sneakers by Dior and umbrella by Swaine Adeney Brigg.