I am Dandy The Return of the Elegant Gentleman

I am Dandy – The Return of the Elegant Gentleman Book Review

Earlier today, I received a unexpected Fedex delivery, and when I opened the package I was positively surprised to see a copy of Rose Callahan’s  & Nathaniel Adams’ book I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman. I have followed this project very closely; I have always admired Rose’s fabulous photos at The Dandy Portraits since the inception of the blog.

I am Dandy Coffee Table Book

I am Dandy Coffee Table Book

Filled with stunning portraits of over 50 dandies from almost every continent, Natty understands how to highlight the very unique personalities and styles of these individuals while not losing sight of the common denominator: clothes & aesthetics. Personally, I think they did an outstanding job of introducing the reader to the manifold facets of style in the same way I have been trying to do with our series  Gentlemen of Style.

Kevin Wang with boutonniere, 3 piece suit and snap brim hat

Kevin Wang with boutonniere, 3 piece suit and snap brim hat

The presentation of the various gentlemen listed in the book by German publisher Gestalten doesn’t seem to follow a particular order. It begins with Sean Crowley, the man we wrote about recently, and features musicians, artists, lawyers (such as Ed Hayes, who I introduced to Rose), doctors, designers editors, stylists, and bohemians as well as writers and bloggers. Some of them have already been introduced in past Dandy Portraits, while others are entirely new to me. In any case, the picture selection in combination with the insightful text really explains the style of each dandy in a very personable manner.

Dr Keith Churchwell in printed scarf, bold overplaid and paisley silk pocket square

Dr Keith Churchwell in printed scarf, bold overplaid and paisley silk pocket square

Each man has his very own history and take on things, covered in just a few paragraphs to several pages. Some men are very slim and delicate while others are bold, tattooed and bearded; some wear frock coats, make-up and spats, while others just draw inspiration from the past and adapt it to the modern day. Regardless, all of these characters are inspirational and while there are a number of pieces shown that I would not wear, I adore most of them. For example, the ring collection and Art Deco furniture of Mr. Robert E. Bryan is marvelous, the suit fabrics of Gay Talese, the Churchwell bros. and Domenico Spano have amazing depth and texture, and Tony Sylvester’s white peacocks with mini bow ties simply incredible!

Robert E. Bryan with Art Deco furniture

Robert E. Bryan with Art Deco furniture

One of the aspects I really like about the photography is that most of them were taken in the subject’s stylish homes, clubs or some other such interesting location. Happily, this lets us see much more than just the clothing their wearing, such as photos, decorations, moiré wallpaper, stucco, memorabilia, rugs, closets, collections and so forth, providing more inspiration than you might expect. I would have been interested to know where many of these pieces came from, including the clothes, but that might be a subject for another book!

Altogether I think it is a remarkable coffee table book and I am sure I will reference it many times in the future. If I’d have to name two things I’d improve then it is:

  1. The addition of details and history of the clothes people are wearing
  2. More international balance of characters

Personally, I always think it is valuable to learn who tailored a suit, or what makes a piece so special in terms of cut, weave, color, origin etc. It would have been great to learn about the history of some of the garments and shoes of the individuals as well as their accessories.

The home of Massimiliano Mocchia Di Coggiola

The home of Massimiliano Mocchia Di Coggiola

Both authors are based in New York, and hence it does not come as a surprise that most characters featured are based in the US. During her trips to Paris and London, Rose and Natty were able to portrait a number of people from across the pond such as Nick Foulkes, Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola, James Sherwood, Marc Guyot, Hugo Jacomet, Ray Frensham and Winston Chesterfield but as a whole there are very few non-English Europeans (think of people like Giancarlo Maresca, Michael Alden or Herbert Stricker), Africans (just think of the Dandies of Brazzaville), Australians or Asian dandies. So, let’s hope this book turns out to be such a roaring success that Rose and Natty can travel the rest of the globe in the pursuit of capturing the Dandies of the World for a second book.

Dandy Wellington in white DB blazer, gigantic boutonniere, collar pin, tie bar and winchester shirt with boater hat

Dandy Wellington in white DB blazer, gigantic boutonniere, collar pin, tie bar and winchester shirt with boater hat

Ironically, most men in the book would not refer to themselves as dandy, yet the publisher insisted on the title I am Dandy – I guess they hope to sell more books that way. At the end of the day, I am happy to add this book to my collection!

Now, order your copy – and I am certain you will enjoy it immensely. If you happen to glance at page 236, you may even find a familiar face ;-).

Photographs by Rose Callahan from I am Dandy, Copyright Gestalten 2013

A List of the 59 dandies:

Review Date
Reviewed Item
I am Dandy Book by Rose Callahan & Nathaniel Adams
Author Rating
37 replies
  1. Daniel Gerson says:

    Dorian Grey meets Norman Bates – a beguiling chamber play ripe with trepidation, suspense and treaured miseries.

    At least that is the subtitle I would have chosen, judging by what one can tell from the pictures.

    I am sure it will be a rather fascinating read though.

      • Daniel Gerson says:

        I wasn’t chancing on being presumptious. All I did was verbalize certain expectations which were invoked by the rather consciously chosen cover, at least for me. 😉

        As I said, I don’t doubt that the whole range of individualistic expressions of style are represented, yet you want the customer to pick up the book in the first place and therefor you need to stir up interest with something that is highly attracting on either end of the scale.

        A job well done with this one, because you can’t deny that the cover has a rather disturbing memento mori vibe to it, topped off with a hint of Grey-ish narcissism.

  2. JC says:

    “Dorian Grey meets Norman Bates” Lol! Without the details about the clothes, I would probably pass on this one. I was put off by “Frock coats, make-up and spats” I wouldn’t mind spats coming back and I have nothing against frock coats, but I’ll definitely pass on the make up..

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Some of the characters talk about their own clothes, though there is no real consistent comment or background on the clothes. However I really recommend it because it deals with all facets of style.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      There are maybe 2 men who wear makeup, the same and maybe 2 others wear spats and I think there were also two frock coats. I mentioned these to show the range. Most of the outfits can be worn by professionals without an issue though the ensembles are more detailed than what you’ll usually encounter and Rose’s photography is outstanding.

  3. Reverend Richard de Meath says:

    This reminds me of my youth, a time when I did some modelling in London and on the Continent. As a lover of style, I enjoyed a large wardrobe, which is still of considerable size. The difficulty is the ongoing struggle to make space for new clothes, what to donate to charity shops/friends, what to keep.
    This is the moment when one looks at the packed rails and asks the question – what to do…what to do…?
    One is never too old for style, and certainly it is wonderful to see it is still alive in some sections of society.
    Richard de Meath

  4. Barima says:

    So, I’m on page 236, eh? I’d been wondering

    Rose and Natty are certainly keen on scouting out more widely-based dressers, should another book be on the cards. I gave them a couple of recommendations in Beijing; if we’re all lucky, they will get to use them some day

    I’m certainly looking forward to my copy



    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      You are on page 204 ;). I think the underlying problem of the restriction to a few countries was money. The publisher gave them a very short deadline so they could only do limited travels in addition to all the travels they funded on their own beforehand. That’s why it would be great to see this book succeed so they can write up follow up books with gentlemen from across the globe.

      • Barima says:

        Indeed. I think I’ll publish a review also when the time comes; perhaps Winston will as well

        From what Natty has divulged to me, the publisher will certainly make an effort to promote the book properly. He and Rose mentioned that Gestalten have supported them since Day One



  5. Dr. O.S. van Hees, MD, PhD, Forensic Path. (rt.) says:

    Dear Sven,

    This must be an absolutely smashing book and a joy for the eye and the mind. I ordered three copies; it will be a very good Christmas gift: for my two sons and one for me, of course!

  6. FG says:

    I’m sure that this volume will be a smashing success. It looks as if there is a wide range of styles represented here as well.

    • Rose says:

      The location of the shoot with Atters was in Brighton UK – and yes it looks like the same spot the video with Mr. B was filmed!

  7. leonard roger gresham jr says:

    Bravo! This has been long overdue for such a tome as this. I celebrate the Churchwell brothers who I’ve known since the late 90’s. I been saying for years that Dr Andre Churchwell is the best dressed gent in the USA and perhaps the world.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      I think with dressing, it is difficult to stipulate someone as best because styles vary so drastically. The execution in Mr. Churchwell’s case is certainly formidable though, and his smile is priceless. I hope I have a chance to meet both if I ever make it to Nashville.

  8. P.J. Weatherby says:

    Once again Mr. Schneider,
    I simply say to you thanks for edifying my thirst for becoming more fashion knowledgeable and more fashion conscience…each time I visit here at GG I’m taken on a truly wonderful journey of style albeit men’s clothing, grooming, home furnishing the list just seems endless and certainly my appreciation has been deepen.

    I look forward to obtaining my copy of the publication “I am Dandy the return of the elegant gentlemen” I anticipate a marvelous read and in conclusion as always thank you for all the hard work and fine efforts by you and your associates at GG!

    P.J. Weatherby

  9. Charles Allen says:

    Love all these guys and their comments. Funny, though…I live in Florida and even ‘”well dressed” here is different than in other areas. Weather does enter the picture!

    Keep the good stuff coming and the comments flowing!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] but not least, I would like to present a few fall outfits from the likes of Luciano Barbera, Dr. Andre Churchwell  and yours […]

  2. […] Gentleman’s Gazette review : Gentleman’s Gazette review […]

  3. […] La review de Gentleman’s Gazette : Gentleman’s Gazette review […]

  4. […] What do you think of James Andrew’s style in clothes and interior design? Do you find him inspirational? I think he would have been a perfect addition to the book I am Dandy. […]

  5. […] her blog was so successful, she contributed all the photos for the book I am Dandy, which is released in September 2013. I already got a copy and it is a fantastic […]

Comments are closed.