Dandy Of The Year 2013: Nathaniel Adams


For services rendered to the understanding and misunderstanding of dandyism, as well as perpetually cutting a dashing figure, Dandyism.net is pleased to award Nathaniel Adams the distinguished title of Dandy of the Year 2013.

D.net founder Christian Chensvold recently presented him with his award, a silver and porcelain fleur-de-mal kindly donated by Boutonniere London:


We’d asked for a green carnation or blue hydrangea, but alas the start-up’s floral choices are presently limited. Still, the boutonniere came in a beautiful presentation box and was properly inscribed:


The selection of Adams was not a difficult one. He has proven himself an original thinker on the topic of dandyism, and is fond of quoting Epictetus, 1st-century Greek sage and Stoic philosopher:

I aspire to be the purple stripe, that is, the garment’s brilliant hem. However small a part it may be, it can still manage to make the garment as a whole attractive. Don’t tell me then, ‘be like the rest,’ because it that case I cannot be the purple stripe.

That saying not only appears at the very beginning of Natty’s introduction to “I Am Dandy,” which is already getting a second printing, but its opening phrase is also stitched into the underside of the jacket collar of one of his 30 bespoke suits. (Personally, if we could be any article of clothing, we’d be Kate Upton’s bikini).

Natty comes to his dandyism quite naturally: he is descended, on his mother’s side, from the Maharaja of Indore, Yeswant Rao Holkar, whose elegance was immortalized in oil by Bernard Boutet de Monvel. But Natty also nurtured his dandyism. He emerged from an adolescent latency period taking cues from John Steed:


… then later Oscar Wilde:


While an undergraduate at NYU Adams essentially majored in dandyism, then received an advanced degree in that subject from Columbia, where he won a prestigious Lytton Fellowship. He used the funds from the Fellowship to travel the world to visit such dandy shrines such as Savile Row and the Congo, where he spent a week with the Sapeurs. The ultimate result of Natty’s travels was “I Am Dandy,” which in 2013 raised worldwide understanding and misunderstanding about dandyism through favorable coverage in such prestigious media as The London Times, CNN, and I Am A Dandy Cat.


As if that were not enough, Natty has found for himself the epitome of a dandy profession. He is just ending an illustrious stint as general manager of the Against Nature atelier in New York City.  He doesn’t perform any manual labor, such as sewing a button. As far as we can tell, his remit seems to limited to designing the details of his personal bespoke suits — such as his signature double breasted and lapeled waistcoats — and having his photograph taken with celebrity clientele, such as Bond Girl Alan Cumming from “Goldeneye.”

We take an avuncular pride in Natty’s success. He started his descent into dandyism here at D.net, writing a review of the play Beau Brummell starring Ian Kelly, Brummell’s most recent and complete biographer, and a post covering a panel discussion about dandyism (with the term “discussion” used loosely).

Natty, though, certainly has his peccadillos. He composes and performs chip music, a type of synthetic music generated from the sound chips of vintage computers, video game consoles, and arcade machines. At least he has the good taste to wear a tie and a vest while performing. A card-carrying atheist, in the afterlife Natty will undoubtedly burn eternally in hell. But he’ll have the consolation of being one of the best dressed men at the roast, seated at the right hand of Brummell.

So here’s to you, Natty Adams, Dandy of the Year 2013. While most men are content to accept mediocrity and walk around in a purple haze, you are the purple hem. Now please go and conduct yourself with the reckless disregard and selfish irresponsibility befitting the office. — NICK WILLARD & CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

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35 Responses to “Dandy Of The Year 2013: Nathaniel Adams”

  1. Barima Says:

    I’d have been disappointed in most other choices, comparatively speaking

    Natty has become a real pal to me over the past two years, and not just because Rose, Winston and he secured my inclusion in the book. He’s introduced – or reintroduced – me to some interesting people, he’s ceaselessly charming and he is manifestly good enough at what he does to make others take real notice of him

    In his introduction, he wrote of a “[an] exalted realm of elite dandyism” that “only a handful of the men in this book rise into.” He wasn’t referring to himself, of course, but it couldn’t be any more applicable. Even if he does have a curious taste in Bond Girls

    Best for 2014,


  2. Michael Mattis Says:

    An excellent choice.

  3. Salvatore Says:

    A great balance between accessibility and extreme, flagrant eccentricity. Good choice.

  4. Natty Adams Says:

    A true honor and a privilege, gentlemen. I promise to celebrate with a thorough debauch tonight. And I plan on spending the large cash prize on shirt studs, sealing wax, and women.

    Immediately after Mr. Chensvold surprised me at work with the honor I received a phone call from an organization genuinely offering to fly me to Disneyland for an “I am Dandy” book event in February. So, when asked what I’m going to do now I can say, with all honesty, “I’m going to Disneyland!”

    Thank you for the award. Here’s to a very dandy New Year!

    Ever yours,

  5. Christian Says:

    Dandyism 2013 and Disneyland are a perfect fit.

  6. Ville Says:

    Well, now, here’s a choice that’s sure to be reprehensibly…perfect. A toast of alcohol-free, Kosher, Halal and politically correct wine-like beverage!

  7. John M. Gilheany Says:

    Any further details of Mr. Adams’ excursions into electropop? I’m sure some of those sounds should be most pleasing to the non-natural ear.

  8. Principe Says:

    Well, I join the many readers of the book and the Site in congratulating Mr Adams upon his election to such an august honour. Bravo, sir!

  9. G. Bruce Boyer Says:

    And the award could not have been given to a nicer or more erudite gentleman.

  10. Jessen Says:

    Congratulations, Natty! I went to an electronic music show “awards ceremony” Natty hosted a few years ago. The audience was asked to dress up for the occasion, and most did with a suit and tie. I remember thinking, “Heh, Natty doesn’t have to do a thing–he’ll just show up with what he usually wears.” Wrong. He took it up a notch with a tuxedo jacket and two tone shoes. Brilliant! I think he wore the same outfit at Blip Festival 2009 when he accompanied Glomag and The C-Men onstage for their cover of the KLF’s “Last Train to Transcentral”: https://vimeo.com/8492648

    An accomplished electronic chip musician, you can hear him on the I/O Chip Music compilation here: http://iochipmusic.bandcamp.com/album/i-o-chip-music-compilation-vol-1 and see more photos of his excellent live, be-suited, performance like the one above here: http://www.chiptography.com/?p=1406

  11. Cané Says:

    The dandy of the year is actually a dandy this time… that’s refreshing.

  12. Ariete! Says:

    Who, praytell, were the DOYs previously?

  13. John M. Gilheany Says:

    Indebted, Jessen *raises glass* and I for one have downloaded those delectable tunes. An acquired taste, admittedly, yet reassuring to know that the future of futurist soundscape rests in such innovative and capable hands.

  14. Cané Says:

    To Mr. Ariete:
    Previous dandies of the year included this ridiculous playboy:
    And this raunchy clown:
    So, as you can see, Mr. Adams is not only a step, but an entire staircase up from these people.

  15. Ariete! Says:

    Hmmm, yes. Mr Horseley seems like an interesting character but definitely a bit too outré, too louche; it seems synechdochine to refer to him as a “dandy”. As for Mr Elkann, some might quetion his sense of elegance.

  16. John M. Gilheany Says:

    Well, whatever his legacy may or may not be to modern dandyism, I found Mr Horsley’s ‘unauthorised autobiography’ splendid with nothing not to enjoy in his radio interview for ‘Q TV’ from around the time of publication.

    And that’s not all ~ anyone even vaguely sympathetic may derive an element of pleasure from my own homage, however misguided, and forever bestowed “from one successfully failed artist to another” …


  17. Perfect Gentleman Says:

    I don’t wish to disparage or subtract from Mr. Adams’s victory, but I’m curious about the bottom photo. Is it the award ceremony, a private after-celebration, what? It seems that among a crowd of hipsters, who are nothing more than anti-dandies wearing T-shirts and jeans and drinking beer out of the bottle, anyone wearing a collared shirt and able to stand up at no more than a 22.5-degree angle might be considered a dandy. How does one qualify for this award? Is it like a MacArthur genius grant, where you don’t even know you were nominated until you’ve won? Or may one submit nominations, including oneself? (Since the death of Sebastian Horsley, I think submission has regained its former meaning.) Please advise.

  18. Nick Willard Says:

    The last photo captures Natty Adams performing at a chip music concert.

    The Dandy of the Year is awarded on caprice.

  19. John M. Gilheany Says:

    As far as I’ve gathered, so far; dandyism is not simply concerned with clothes, or even their style but the difference displayed in their wearing ~ which leaves me wondering if there may be a further sphere of dandiosity and if this type of performance would meet with much approval:


  20. John M. Gilheany Says:

    I surmise that’s a ‘no’.

  21. Christian V.R Says:

    I am surprised by the entire notion of having a ‘Dandy of the Year’. It seems Mr Adams is a man of supreme elegance, but am I the only one who finds this entire notion a joke? Dandyism is the cult of oneself not the labeling of oneself. On a separate but not entirely unrelated note, reading ‘I am Dandy’ proved to be an amusing experience. Since when did trying far too hard and sheepishly following past trends become traits of dandyism? Had it been titled ‘I am a Fop’ I would have been more prepared for its disastrous contents. Indeed Mr Adams was right in saying only a handful in the book rise to the level of elite dandyism.

  22. Nick Willard Says:

    We consider selecting the Dandy of the Year one of the most important things we do here at D.net.

  23. Christian V.R Says:

    I wasn’t questioning the importance of the award, which you should be able to realise yourself if you had read my post.

  24. Ariete! Says:

    Perhaps Mr V.R. can provide us with more esteemable examples of dandyhood?

  25. Christian V.R Says:

    The only names I could mention that would have any relevance to you would be the obvious examples of the past. Apart from that, others are those rare individuals I may meet throughout my life, unknown to you or many people outside their circle because they are subtle people.
    Anyways, I only answered your question out of politeness, considering it has nothing to do with what I was trying to say. I am by no means trying to offer a alternative option to this ‘dandy of the year’ award, nor do I intend to insult Mr Adams who looks like an extremely interesting character. I am just questioning the point of this dubious title and the site in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a little chart, giving out stars to everyone who does a ‘dandy action’ or something equally ridiculous. It definitely wouldn’t seem out of place next to the ‘How dandy are you?’ quiz.

  26. Cané Says:

    Another man who ranked as an Affected Provincial, I gather…

  27. Christian V.R Says:

    Indeed, someone who would like to offer a different perspective on this ridiculous notion must be a bitter, jealous man who didn’t get the chance to be recognized by vulgar Americans.

  28. Cané Says:

    Well, I cannot conceive any other reason why someone would care to offer a different perspective on any ridiculous notion.

  29. Christian V.R Says:

    In an attempt to enlighten or in the very least broaden one’s opinion on said notion.
    But alas there is no point fighting an uphill battle. Please continue to parade and peacock around and further label an already misunderstood phenomenon.
    I’ll leave you with this quote, which you should have heard before. Hopefully you may find incentive in subtlety.
    ‘To be well dressed, you must not be noticed.’

  30. Ghurron Briscoe Says:

    Hi Dandyism, net,

    It’s ghurron briscoe: Our dandy of the year Nathaniel Adams is inspiring to us!

  31. Cané Says:

    My dear Christian, I cannot star to conceive how wearing suits and loafers can be considered peacocking and parading. But if it is the cross I must bear, then so be it…
    And, just so you know, I am not one of your “vulgar Americans” and I, too, ranked as an Affected Provincial.

  32. Christian V.R Says:

    It seems my point must have been missed, my apologies for not making it more clear. I don’t believe I said wearing beautiful clothes made you a ‘peacock’ at all. In fact if you read back, you would find I haven’t even mentioned anything about clothes per se. Indeed I would love more people to wear well-fitted suits and loafers. But I am trying to get at the other side of things. The self-labeling, the attempts to rank people according to their ‘dandyness’ (for lack of a better word), the fact there is a quiz that is meant to tell one how dandy they are. More so, pathetic attempts at trying to make oneself seem ‘effortlessly elegant’ really just come off as trying too hard. Looking too hard to be recognized as a ‘dandy’ makes you loose the sense of what the original dandies really stood for, nonchalance, wit and elegance. Not wearing 19th century garb or makeup or outfitting your house in Victorian era furniture. Also what is an affected provincial? You keep mentioning it, and I am slightly confused.

  33. Christian V.R Says:

    Also let me please say I am not trying to put others down and self-proclaim myself as some sort of dandy king. I do not consider myself a dandy, nor am I particularly interested in trying to emulate one (in fact, the only things I share with a dandy is a liking for nice clothes and a luxurious lifestyle). I am merely interested in the era.

  34. Michael Cooper Says:

    True Dandies, none of whom I see in these pages, eschew all unnecessary elaboration. One would be hard pressed to find a real dandy in New York–Tom Wolf, perhaps, but he is a Southerner.A true Dandy must be literate; Hipsters do not qualify. London may still have a few, but those are not young. Today’s fashions do not lend themselves to Dandyism. Fashion does not have anything to do with it–read Beau Brummel. Dandyism is above fashion not of it. A dandy may more easily dress from Savill Row than from “________” fill in the name of the most au currant men’s fashion designer. Evelyn Waugh was a Dandy in his way, much more than anything that I see here. He had so much more in common with the great BB than any of these unshaven, poorly groomed specimens do!


    […] for fashion, like underground restaurants and bars, where Leon unexpectedly met hist first dandy, Nathaniel Adams, a fashion journalist and chiptune music […]

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