Catalogue for the Dandy Traveller

First of all, a big cheery hello to you all. I have missed you so. This being such an addiction and all that thrown into the miss-you mixture.

It was bank holiday and our itchy feet took us north into Yorkshire, into heart of the green dales which you have been introduced to in my posts Up and Down the Yorkshire Dales and Crackpot Hall on the Dales. Three days of walking did wonders for our souls. There’s nothing like a spot of walking, meeting strangers, exchanging random notes – often about furry mates because the Englishman and his dog shall not be parted – then sitting in a pub with a pint and a hefty plate of roast meat or pie with a fire crackling  in the backdrop.

Now when Adi sits down with a plate of lamb leg and Yorkshire pud in front of him, I make him squirm. ‘Imagine the lamb you have been cooing to. You petted his tiny woolly head at Ed’s (the farmer we stayed with in Cornwall) and he looked at you with those trusting pretty eyes. And then bam, here you are, sinking your teeth into him.’

Adi has decided to give up lamb. That is, he told me, after he finished his plate of lamb. Wily creature.

I shall do a post about it all later because there were hair-raising climbs thrown in too into this holiday. I survived them and sit here clacking away on Bertie (my Macbook) and sometimes thunk heavens for normalcy.

But I thought I should share this wonderful little vintage Victorian catalogue from 1905 that appeared in our box from T.M. Lewin since my husband is a dedicated customer of the British gentleman’s dress shirt retailer. Just like he got it today, in 1905 the retailer sent its catalogues to customers all over the world.

Now cast your imagination back to a time, ladies and gentlemen, when men wore three-piece lounge suits, collars starched and in place, ties knotted perfectly and jackets narrow with small, high lapels. A bowler cap, and sometimes, a flat cap completed the picture. Young men had short hair and trimmed moustaches. Beards were not so popular with the young as is the trend with the natty young men of today. They were the realm of the older men to keep and preserve, thank you.

Do you know of the Regency dandy Beau Brummell? He used to be a fixture in my Georgette Heyer reads during the teenage years, so I was introduced to him quite young. I will not pontificate about him. The link between T.M. Lewin and Beau Brummell is that they both stand on Jermyn Street in London, home to resident shirtmakers of the likes of T.M. Lewin, Turnbull & Asser, Hawes & Curtis, Charles Tyrwhitt and a few traditional shoe- and boot-makers too. Apart from these ‘propah’ shops where you get everything a gentleman might want, from hats, shoes, shaving brushes and braces to collar stiffeners, stands dandy Beau in brass looking down his fine aquiline nose upon you. If you are not dressed well enough for him, he shall hang you by your breeches.

No breeches? Beau is gobsmacked.

Also there are a few pages from the catalogue with notes for the traveller of those days. 

Beau Brummell 6.jpg
Beau Brummell, the arbiter of fashion in times gone by
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The details of how you fixed your business deals with the shirtmaker
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Matters of conversion; taking stock of the wardrobe
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The Rules to getting your shirt right
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Notes for the traveller
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Spun silk, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing less shall do.

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

34 thoughts on “Catalogue for the Dandy Traveller

  1. You had me at Georgette Heyer and Beau Brummel! I used to work in St James’s Place by the way, just a spit from Jermyn Street …. it is such fodder for an imaginative mind and I was forever an 18th Century beauty waiting for some handsome buck to sweep me off in his Phaeton.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you got me with the 18th century beauty and the buck image. Sigh. I was in that state of mind perpetually while growing up. You must be as fiery and gutsy as her heroines so you would slip in effortlessly, Osyth. Did that make you want to time travel back to St. James’s Place – even for a wee while? xx

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      1. To that thought, let’s take a few hearty sips of wine and a big chunk of cheese. I can quite imagine a Georgette Heyer heroine arriving in the modern world today and doing both of the above with gusto 😉

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      1. I’m from the UK so I’ve travelled all over, but I used to live in Liverpool and Leeds – both really cool cities!

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    1. Cheila, the rule: Beauty shall not go unnoticed. Really, do not tell me you commit the cardinal sin of not admiring a good butt and the rest 😀 Yes, I do bully him at times, I confess, but he gets his back on me too, so he is no underdog, I promise ya. Btw I spy a lamb meat lover in thee, my dear 😉 😉

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      1. Hahahaha I do admire many butts!! Women’s butts, to compare and see how fat my butt is. Men, I admire the whole thing usually in movies or series and I tell Mr. R “See, THAT is a man” hahaha There’s bullying going on here as well. Nope, I hate lamb, I just think your poor husband needs a diet defense lawyer 🙂

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  2. Forgive me if I am not a fan of this particular dress. I shudder at what the women were expected to wear. Tight things and balloon dresses that took an hour and many strong hands to lace up. It’s interesting to see the rules of fashion from a hundred years ago.

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    1. Imagine not being able to eat enough thanks to a constricting corset. That is my first concern regarding the thought of being a female in those times. But I do love the frills and laces a bit too much 😉 I tried on an old dress with a metallic hoop skirt (which stuck out of the hip considerably and looked like I was wearing a boat) at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London recently. Her tiny daughter looked at me in amazement (because it was bloody odd). But we have to thank our lucky stars that what with things coming back in fashion, the hoop skirt has had such a makeover.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh very. I could barely move and it felt so awkward. Women, for the sake of beauty and feminine charms, did weird things. I can see from where sister suffragette came in to the picture.


    1. Imagine saying that to those men with perfectly trimmed moustaches, waistcoats and silk shirts 😀 I think if they wore monocles, they would surely fall off at the thought! But oh lord yes, we are blessed to rest easy in our modern takes on fashion.

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