I am inclined to believe it is the young man second from the left because of the ring on the little finger of his left hand. Although, my first inclination was to say the young man second from the right sitting very effeminately…
I wonder what became of these young men. How many joined the Military? How many returned home? How are they today? The Dandy I would say, is the young man revealing some sock. His attire and grooming is a little crisper than his classmates. He may be as bored as they, but he maintains an elegance they do not.
On second thought, the young man in the dark suit, in the back, against the wall, intrigues me. Which raises a question; would a Dandy sit in the front row, or the back? I am inclined to say front row. A Dandy would never arrive to class early, and frequently the only seating available would be in the front row. So many seem to have an aversion to sitting in the front row of a class. A Dandy would never hesitate, unless of course the lecturer was a spitter.
I was tempted to nominate the chap with the waistcoat, which his classmates appear to have forgotten. Then there is the fellow far right with the dreamy expression — but no dandy, realizing a camera was present, would neglect to remove his left hand from his waistband. No, on closer examination I side with the others who suggest the young squire with the visible sock. Reasoning: Although a dandy might arrive late, he would not be sitting in the back row if a camera were present. While all the young men appear bored, this young man has contrived to look thoughtful as well (not sleeping, like the two on the left). And while we have no way of knowing if ALL these students sport flash anklewear, our nominee has contrived to LIFT his leg into camera so as to show off not only his sock but a bit of his shoe. This is a dandy.
Plaid tie, displaying his socks. Fully aware of the camera, just not showing it noticably (for others than fellow dandies). Looking, seemingly caraless, slightly in another direction, still showing a favourable side to the photographer.
A young man that wears his suit with elegance, unlike the others wearing the suits because mum or dad made them.
This photograph presents no challenge because the dandy fairly leaps out at one and he is the one most of you have pointed out: the young man with plaid sock that picks up plaid tie without strictly matching, which would be stultifying. His pose suggests a bored and slightly disruptive presence (due to the elegance of the crossed legs, a pose not considered feminine in those times when good male friends were sometimes seen walking arm in arm, at least in England), and so one who could conceivably bend sartorial rules without breaking them. Finally, he looks adult and dresses like one.
Forgive my un-dandyish, because obsessive, observations and allow me one more: the arrangement of the young man’s fingers of the hand on which his face leans is unique, and every true dandy aspires to inimitability. Each finger is elegantly curled and separated, a somewhat precious and decidedly dandyish pose. Enough said from me. I too love this photograph and concur with the comment that all of these young men would be considered dandies today in this world of ubiquitous sportswear.