Who’s The Dandy? Manton vs. Will

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Recently a reader left a comment suggesting that no one should be allowed to dispense sartorial criticism without first offering himself up for scrutiny.Since he couldn’t possibly have been referring to us, we hereby present for your edification, entertainment and target-practice, two of the most exacting and opinionated micro-celebrities of the Internet men’s clothing world: manton and Will.

Writing under the username “manton,” former Republican speechwriter Michael Anton has posted over 10,000 times on the minutiae of men’s dress on the sites Style Forum, Ask Andy About Clothes and The London Lounge. His obsession with precise measurements led us to dub him “the quarter-inch dandy.”Under the pseudonym Nicholas Antongiavanni, Anton authored “The Suit,” in which he presumes to tell the world what dandies like and don’t like:

Because of its smartness and rarity, a single-breasted jacket with peak lapels is greatly favored by dandies.

Dandies like ticket pockets for the extra panache they impart.

Dandies enjoy silk, but only the the rough, matte-finished weave known as dupioni.

Dandies take great care in selecting their socks.

Above all, no dandy wears solid socks, for that is stylistic surrender. The dandy’s favorite sock pattern has always been the clock.

For the record, Anton uses the term “dandy” far more broadly than we do. Furthermore, speaking authoritatively on behalf of all dandies is something that only the Junta is entitled to do, and then only when we speak ex cathedra. We’ve given our imprimatur, though, to a few of Anton’s better pronouncements.

More avuncular in advice and modest in ambition is Will, who writes the blog A Suitable Wardrobe. Will has offered his opinion a mere 7,000 times on the three main men’s clothing sites. A professional consultant and public speaker, his blog is a fond discourse on classic clothing, heavily annotated with splendid illustrations from Apparel Arts and Esquire of the 1930s. He is one of D.net’s competitors in the Fabby Awards.

Both Anton and Will are certainly masters of the basics — the grammar, if you will — of how to dress. But just as a sentence can be grammatically correct but ineloquent, so to a man can be correctly dressed and inelegant.

And so we ask you: Who’s The Dandy?

First up for your inspection is Anton:

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Now here’s Will:

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33 Responses to “Who’s The Dandy? Manton vs. Will”

  1. Miguel Antonio Says:

    None. Although I prefer Manton.

  2. the new edwardian Says:

    I see a couple of nicely dressed men, but I’m not seeing a dandy. From the written description of both they do sound as if they may both possess dandyish characteristics, but from looks alone I don’t believe either ascend to the heights of, “the dandy.” Anton looks to be well groomed, but he doesn’t strike me as not too different than the average well dressed businessman. The topmost photo of Will shows a bit more panache than the other photos on offer for him. He too looks like a well groomed businessman or maybe a banker, but I’m just not getting the dandy vibe. Again, both are nicely dressed which is a plus, but both appear to miss that certain dandy flair, or as the French say, that je ne se qua. If someone were to place a gun to my head and demand that I choose one than I believe I would select…ummm…hummm…oh, go ahead and pull the trigger!

  3. chatterton Says:

    actually, none of those gentleman. They seem rather mediocre and boring.

  4. chatterton Says:

    Gentlemen, of course.

  5. Beau Brown Says:

    I would have to agree with New Edwardian; they may be well-dressed, but they are certainly not dandies. However, if I were to choose from one or the other for personal taste, I would probably pick Anton, despite that Will does look a bit more “neat.”

    Chatterton: I think “trite” would be a possible third to the list.

    -Beau Brown

  6. Christian Says:

    You’re all so accustomed to D.net’s orthodoxy and dogmatism, we’re going to have to change the name of this series, since the question you’re answering is whether or not they’re dandies.

    In this instance, we mean it a bit more loosely.

    So let’s just ask you this? Who’s better dressed? Whose style do you prefer?

  7. the new edwardian Says:

    Whose style do I prefer of the two you ask? They really are both similar in that they have that well put together business look however; one is obviously older with an older style while the other has perhaps more of a youthful look. Being younger myself I would perhaps lean towards a younger style, but there is much to say for the way an older man dresses and carries off that look. Plus, Will looks to me to have more originality in his dress, or at least in two of the photos up there whereas Anton looks as if he may have fallen out of a Hickey Freeman catalog. Don’t get me wrong, Anton is well dressed, but simply lacks that individuality which dandyism calls for. I like a little eccentricity or panache in my style or something which express more about the person, so Will has perhaps more of himself in at least two of the photos offered. The one photo of Anton in something which could pass as original is the one photo of him sitting, but it isn’t working for him. I’m going to swim against the stream of public opinion thus far and chose Will, but it is a close call since they both could pass as Wall Street Brokers.

  8. D Says:

    A dandy can wear plain colours, so the blue, grey and brown suits worn by these two are acceptable, I suppose. What is not acceptable is the cut of these suits– baggy, slouchy, too much room in the arms, shoulders and waist. Blah, it looks very 80s Armani. Both men should know better, especially Anton, since he is a thin man. I say, get thee to a Fred Astaire movie, to see how a suit should drape the torso. If forced to choose, Will is the winner, as his suits fit better, but both look like bankers– I see no dandyish flair.

  9. Ashley Yakeley Says:

    Normally the thinner man has an advantage, hasn’t he? But Mr. Anton looks lost in the folds of his jackets. He’s also bland (Republican?) in his colour choices, perhaps showing some flair with a polka-dotted tie, but ultimately lacking confidence.

    Will looks like a grown-up.

  10. Laguna Beach Trad Says:

    I’m not sure I would call either chum a ‘dandy’ (not that I could even define the term to the Junta’s collective satisfaction), but I prefer by a long shot Will’s style and taste. Those photos (save one) do not do him justice. The third Will pic, the one with the tweed suit with the 3/2 roll jacket and the EG oxfords in antique chestnut, is a classic, IMVHO. I am not familiar with this ‘Manton’ character, apart from his snide comments littering the forums (oops, fora).

  11. Ashley Yakeley Says:

    Mr. Anton is dressed for success. Will is dressed to enjoy life.

  12. JES Says:

    I prefer Will. More joie de vivre. Manton looks constipated. And for all his vaunted obsession with measurements, his suits don’t fit him.

  13. M Says:

    I like Will’s first outfit, the sporty one with the two-tones, and and Michael’s light brown single-breasted number.

    They’re both dandies in their own ways — Will the more jaunty and sporty, Michael the more precise and formal.

  14. John Says:

    I have been reading ASW for a while now, and have to say that there are some great shots of Will that were not chosen for this forum. For example his March 5th photo is a masterpiece along with Feb 24, Jan 1, Dec 23, Dec 3, Nov 28, Aug 20 and on and on….

    Will inspires me a good deal with his taste and style. He’s also helpful and generous with advice.

    I do not know enough about the other fellow but read his book one night in a Starbucks, and enjoyed it. I do like his polka dot tie in the top middle photo.

    My vote is for Will. I agree with Ashley, Will seems to dress to enjoy life.

  15. Will Says:

    Will definitely has it all over that other fellow.

  16. G~ Says:

    I have to agree with the general consensus. Anton’s suit is baggy,and he lacks swagger and style. Will’s clothes fit him, but he lacks that sprezzatura. It looks almost like someone else dressed him in all except the shot with the tweed [they actually look very posed- photo shoot looking], so, frankly, neither one is a dandy. I prefer Will’s style over all, the darker jewel tones and broad cut do him justice [although the shoes with the tweed have to go! Too loud and they don't match the tie]

  17. Ferrando Says:

    Those brown shoes make the tweeds tweed-eriffic! (See the Ephemera post “Brown Is the New Black”).
    Will shows how elegant a classic black tie outfit can be. And you can tell he tied that square-edged tie himself. Very nice to see a gentleman of, shall we say, maturity, looking snappy without being forced.
    A very suitable wardrobe indeed. I do second Manton’s nod towards the peaked-lapel, single-breasted jacket, though.

  18. G~ Says:

    tweed-eriffic!
    *still in pain from that phrase!*
    That man looks almost made up! He may have tied his own tie, but those shots are not “in his native habitat” unless he lives in a photo studio.
    He does indeed look good in those photos, and would look better if he were in society dressed like that. Unfortunately he’s in a photo studio, so one hopes he knows how to dress better than his *wince* tweed-erific out fit.
    Off to have a nice BIG glass of claret**

  19. M Says:

    Shoes should match the tie? What? Where is that rule enshrined? It ain’t a great tie but it’s a fine one. Fellow looks damned fine. You don’t imagine him in black shoes, I hope?

  20. G~ Says:

    In that photo he’s wearing a tweed suit which is “complimented” by reddish accents, the shoes and the tie. Now the shoes are a bright reddish brown, and the tie is a duller red. There was a rule created by a member of the Junta [which I was unsuccessful in finding despite doing some searching] that states in relation to ties “if the eye is forced for one second to concentrate upon the tie, it’s too strong for the ensemble. Now are you going to argue with me that the shoes/tie ensemble grabs the eye and distract from the over all composition?

  21. M Says:

    I don’t need to argue with you.

    “Match” was not the correct word. If the shoes and the tie matched, then you would be left only ever wearing black and brown ties, or wearing shoes that are red, blue or lavender, depending on the color of the tie. And that would just be silly.

    I don’t see that Will’s shoes in this photo particularly detract from the overall ensemble. So what if one element stands out a bit? It’s called sprezzatura.

  22. Christian Says:

    ‘Twas I who pontificated on the balance between light and dark, located here: http://www.dandyism.net/?p=763

    There are many in Online Menswear Land who advocate brown shoes with virtually everything, since black shoes with navy and charcoal grey, for example, is said to reveal a lack of style and imagination. In many cases, from what I’ve seen, however, they upset the balance of light and dark in the process.

    In this sense, G is right (by right I mean that my take on neckties applies equally to shoes). I find the shoes in the ensemble above too light for my taste, or rather too light for that particular outfit, as they do draw too much attention to themselves.

    Of course, one could say the same about spectator shoes, that they will always draw attention to themselves. But I think specs are perhaps in a class by themselves, or at least can provide the same amount of balance between light and dark, which is why spectator shoes always seem to look best with white trousers.

    But that’s the Gatsby in me.

  23. M Says:

    I’m wearing specs now.

  24. manton Says:

    Where the hell did you even get those pictures?!? I have crazier stuff, if that’s what it takes to be a dandy.

    But as I have explained here once or twice, and to Christian on the phone, I am a “clothing only” dandy. No absinthe, opiates, lobster walking, betting 3x my assets on one hand, etc. Too nerve wracking.

    If you want a dandy like that, you want LabelKing. I’ve always wondered why he does not post here.

  25. Nick Willard Says:

    Where the hell did you even get those pictures?!?
    We have a mole.

    If you want a dandy like that, you want LabelKing. I’ve always wondered why he does not post here.
    Probably he has good sense.

  26. Pat Says:

    Will gets my vote. Even in these rather mediocre photos, his eyes sparkle, and there is a spring in his step. He KNOWS how great he looks. A true dandy!

  27. Alan Says:

    Will wins by virtue of his hats.

  28. w. adam mandelbaum esq. Says:

    Not much sprezzatura here in either case. They are rather boring dressers, as far as I’m concerned–presentable, but predictable.

  29. aRTie Says:

    I believe this column should be titled, “Who’s Dandier?” as it seems people have a hard time settling on whether any of those proffered for scrutiny is or isn’t a dandy. That being said, i go with Will. Smart enough to know a double-breasted befits his frame, and willing to try something outside the confines of the suit-and-tie racket.

  30. Afro Trad Says:

    I like them both, but enjoy Will’s fit and choice of colors more. Saying that I wouldn’t call them Dandies.

  31. Tuczek Says:

    @G

    although the shoes with the tweed have to go! Too loud

    Thank you for the confirmation. Besides, the proportion between the width of the pants and the shoes is “wrong”. They look far too “short”.

  32. Andreas Gerads Says:

    Anton is the real dandy in my opinion!

  33. photos.sandeechan.com Says:

    photos.sandeechan.com

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