This week, I have been mentally straining myself in an attempt to send you off, fellow dandies, with something profound and wise. Your weekly copy of Cherwell taken away, who knows where progressive and avant-garde fashion advice can be found? I could, perhaps, recommend some other trendy fashion writers, yet I do not think there is any other who could satiate that Oxonian lust for clothing of the variety I would brand as ‘experimental traditionalism’. Those of you who know me, can, of course, email my nexus if you have any wardrobe queries over the long vac – just the standard ‘dante.okeefe’. However, for this issue, I shall address accessories. You now know the staples, the basics, but how are you really going to demonstrate and spread the concept of the Oxonian Dandy this summer, wherever you end up? It’ll be with the finer details.
There’s a never-ending list of accessory categories, and I’d thoroughly advise trying to master as many as you can, and perhaps make some more yourself. Has anyone yet thought of personalising sandals by removing the straps and replacing them with neon shoelaces, thus creating an individual and glow-in-the-dark look? No. Nor have I seen reverse-polarised sunglasses that reflect inwards rather than out. Accessories do not need to be functional: they ought to be stylish.
I am also a great believer in the school of thought, first put forth in the late 80s (a great era of pioneering fashion!), that the key to an accessory’s successful employment, is, as so often is the way, to use it in a suitably inappropriate fitting. One might think that a plaited belt might be best used on the waistband of a pair of trousers or shorts, however, it could also be successfully employed as a garter. Many adapt their handkerchief to form bandanas – summer festival favourites – but how about using it as a cravat? A scarf could easily transgress its winter confines by tying it round the waist, resplendent in a pseudo-piratical knot.
I hope, then, that I have thus shown that there’s a high likelihood that with a little imagination the accessory draw can be frequently opened, in any season, on any occasion. I shall now divulge some of my personal favourites that you’ll often see me don around town. I’m a firm advocate of the pocket-square, and have a collection whose fabric could line an entire room. They’re a classic Christmas present, and often can be purchased in sales at vastly reduced prices. While if you’re after something flamboyant, such as my blue and white dogtooth number, you’d want to get a silk pocket-square, if you want something stiffer you’d be best with cotton. White handkerchiefs should always be Irish linen. I also rarely put on a shirt without first looping my shark-tooth necklace over my slender neck. A man in the village pub sold it to me: it had been pulled out of a fisherman’s leg on the river Itchen after a violent maiming at the hands of a wild trout – I never knew they grew so large! I’m sure similar alternatives could be found online.
The accessory is often a fantastic finishing touch for an outfit. Whatever you do this summer, make sure you match your dandy personality with your dandy fashion.