Friday, 20 May 2011


I’ll tell you a well guarded secret! I am incredibly turned on by a well rounded, firm pair of male buttocks! Those tight, tight jeans, that enhance the male bottom. And to moving around to face him, my eyes wander and linger on the sun bleached denim; creased and delightfully stretched over heavy genitalia.

Do I have a fetish or am I just a letch?

Whatever it is, I know that I’m not alone in this. And it is on display. And yes, I am being defensive. I bet that there are men and women of all walks of life, who long to part those firm buttocks; bounce, jiggle and test the weight of that enticing genitalia in the palm of their hand. The fashion for men not leaving a lot to the imagination, started over two hundred years ago and the man responsible was Beau Brummell.

He was, perhaps, the first celebrity. Certainly a celebrity in the terms that we understand it today. He had a cult following. He was his own “In Crowd.” All of the Regency guys wanted to look like Beau, walk and talk like Beau, they craved Beau’s panache.

Even the fact that Beau had a slightly crooked nose -- well it was part of his style, giving him a masculine air. He was no pretty boy. Marlon Brando had the same defect after a sparring match with a stage hand. Brando was all male; so was Beau Brummell. And their appearance, their look, was for male and female consumption. He’s there for the homoeroticist, the exhibitionist and the voyeur. Whatever your orientation, there is something to look at. Or maybe you just fancy dressing up in those tight, body hugging trousers.

Beau Brummell was a trendsetter and he was definitely -- Cool.

“Beau Brummell, born as George Bryan Brummell  7 June 1778 – 30 March 1840, was the arbiter of men's fashion in Regency England and a friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV.

Brummell was born in London, the son of William Brummell, of Donnington Grove in Berkshire. He was fair complexioned, and had "a high nose, which was broken down by a kick from a horse soon after he went into the Tenth Dragoons...." His father died in 1794, leaving him an inheritance of more than 20,000 pounds. He was educated at Eton and at Oriel College, and later joined the Tenth Light Dragoons. It was during this time he came to the attention of George, Prince of Wales. Through the influence of the Prince, Brummell was promoted to captain by 1796. When his regiment was sent from London to Manchester he resigned his commission because of Manchester's poor reputation and atmosphere and the lack of culture and civility exercised by the general populace.” WIKI

He made the art of dressing into hard work, yet at the same time made it appear effortless. Quite frankly, I think Beau Brummell made men sexy. Male and female eyes fixed on him when he entered a room. He inspired the fashion for those skin tight trousers, delineating every curve, every movement, every muscle of the buttocks. Tight, genitalia enhancing crotches, making women, and men aware of what’s underneath. You couldn’t help but notice could you -- well could you? Coats were cut away at the front, framing that just discernable swelling around the crotch. Skin tight trousers delineating powerful thigh muscles. I’ve read somewhere that Beau advocated “definitely no underwear” to eliminate a visible panty line.

He established the mode of men wearing understated, but fitted, tailored clothes including dark suits and full-length trousers, adorned with an elaborately-knotted cravat.

Beau Brummell is credited with introducing and establishing as fashion the modern man's suit, worn with a tie. He claimed to take five hours to dress, and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. His style of dress is often referred to as dandyism

Brummell was lucky enough to be built in a manner that was then considered fashionable for a man’s body. All of these factors, his theatricality, never knowing if he was serious or in jest, personal hygiene, and physique helped make him the rock star of his age.

“Brummell took a house on Chesterfield Street in Mayfair, and, for a time, avoided extravagance and gaming: for example, he kept horses but no carriages. He was included in Prince George's circle, where he made an impression with his elegant, understated manner of dress and clever remarks. His fastidious attention to cleaning his teeth, shaving, and bathing daily became popular. When asked how much it would cost to keep a single man in clothes, he was alleged to have replied: ‘Why, with tolerable economy, I think it might be done with £800’.” Times Online

Although dandyism was already taking hold even without Brummell, he had a gift for theatrically performing its details better than everyone else. It would be interesting to know whether it was sincere behaviour on his part, or artifice. I suppose one could say that that is the ultimate question about the man. But in matters of personal hygiene, the Beau was both fastidious and fanatical.

His personal grooming was very modern. He kept himself clean, which most people did not do in his day.

"Every day, his toilette would take more than two hours and would involve brushing his teeth, shaving, a thorough wash and scrub; followed by brushing his body all over with a stiff brush and finally pursuing any errant remaining hairs with a pair of tweezers. He prided himself on never needing scent because he was so clean". WIKI

“This kind of care was not of its time, but it is a part of  culture today. He was a perfectionist in his choice of clothes. There's a story of someone who visited him, and met his valet coming out of the room with a huge load of cravats. “These are our failures”! said the valet. Brummell said of himself ‘I have no talents other than to dress; my genius is in the wearing of clothes’.” Times Online

Men of influence and wealth, gathered at his town house daily just to watch the ritual of Beau Brummell dressing.

A look into Beau’s psyche might shed some light on why he became so extreme at what he liked. What for instance shaped the Beau’s behaviour? It has been suggested that he suffered severe razor rash from constantly shaving too close. This leads me to believe he was not as comfortable as some may have believed and that a certain degree of obsession might have driven the Beau towards fastidiousness.

“Beau’s downfall began at a masquerade ball, in July of 1813, at which the Prince Regent greeted two of the patrons of the ball, but then "cut" Brummell by snubbing them, staring him in the face, but not speaking to him. This provoked Beau Brummell's famous remark, "Alvanley, who's your fat friend?". This finalized the long-developed rift between them, dated by Campbell to 1811, the year the Prince became Regent and began abandoning all his old Whig friends. Normally, the loss of royal favour to a favourite was doom, but Brummell ran as much on the approval and friendship of other rulers of the several fashion circles. He became the anomaly of a favourite flourishing without a patron, still in charge of fashion and courted by large segments of society.”

But his debts caught up with him as debts always do. In 1816 he fled to France to escape debtor’s prison and remained there for the rest of his life. While friends helped him to secure the position of British consul in Caen briefly during the 1830s, he gradually slipped into decline brought about by the syphilis that he’d contracted years before. He spent time in a French debtor’s prison until, impoverished and, by now insane, he died in an asylum in Caen in 1840.

“Without Brummell there would be no suit, for men or, indeed, women, or tailoring in the Savile Row, Wall Street or the Chanel sense. The tailored look that has developed out of his style, however, he created in an unorthodox way — it has even been said, in a very British way: he was a maverick who created rules. He became a symbol for a new mode of urbane masculinity, while it was precisely his masculinity that was possibly the most complex, troubled and compelling aspect of his personality.” Times Online

He helped establish Jermyn Street and Savile Row as arbiters of good taste in the males that they dressed.

“In the absence of colour and dazzle, tailoring would be noticed as never before. Although corsets and calf-muscle stocking-implants were not unknown, the new look was achieved mainly in the subtle remoulding of the body achieved by cutters, tailors and effects such as the sculpted W collar that remains on jackets to this day.

The real power of Brummell’s genius — or the genius of the style he made famous — is the ubiquity of its elements beyond the close confines of the Savile Row suit. They are resilient constants in every supposed revolution, from the New Look of the 1950s to the New Romantics of the 1980s to the New Men of the 1990s and the recurrent, patrician styles of American menswear, as created by Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Tom Ford. In New York or Hong Kong, at every gathering of world leaders, businessmen, lawyers and doctors, not to mention actors on red carpets, the basic forms of Brummell’s look are delineated.” Times Online

Beau Brummell, whose life has since inspired numerous books, plays and films, can be seen standing on Jermyn Street where a statue of him by Irena Sedlecka was erected in 2002. His legacy to fashion lives on. The classic man’s grey, three piece suit and tie.


  1. Fascinating post. When I was a teenager, I assumed the Kinks' 1966 song "A Dedicated Follower of Fashion" was about Beau Brummel, but according to Wiki, it was about the general Carnaby Street scene of the 1960s.

  2. I well remember the song and even at the time, and my age, about 15, recognised the satire. I also remember Carnaby Street -- it has incarnated into something completely different, from the 1960's. It's just a tourist spot now, in the 60's it was "where it's at!" My friends and I felt such country bumpkins when we first went there, in what we thought were the coolest clothes and our subtle makeup. The next time we went to Carnaby Street, our skirts were a good 6 inches shorter and our makeup was plastered to our faces!

    But yes, the song could have been about Beau! He just started it all. He told men they had the right to want to look cool!