- Beau Brummel
- George Bryan Brummel, born in England in 1778, believed in living the high style. As a student at Eton and later at Oxford, he began dressing the part of a fashion plate in high society. He gave up his study of medicine and resigned from the military. The only thing he really enjoyed was dressing elegantly and it is reputed that he spent an entire day dressing for a royal ball. He did not tip his hat at ladies lest he ruffle his coiffure, and he was conveyed from his quarters in a sedan chair to avoid stepping onto the dirty street.Brummel's sartorial splendor enabled him to mingle with and be accepted by the aristocracy. After inheriting a sizable fortune, he lived in a luxurious bachelor apartment in exclusive Mayfair and became the undisputed arbiter of fashion. It has been reported that he invented the starched neckcloth and introduced long pants. The Prince of Wales, later George IV, sought his advice on matters of dress. Unfortunately, Brummel later fell out of favor with the king, when he reportedly met George and Lord Westmoreland as they were strolling at Bath. "Good morning, Westmoreland," said Brummel. "Who's your fat friend?"With his good primary standing in society undercut, Brummel, in pastures that he expected. Instead he feuded constantly with creditors, suffered several paralytic attacks, and died alone at the age of sixty-two. Adversity had changed Brummel into a man unrecognizable from the person he had been. His confidence and lordly pretensions, along with his refined manners, had gone. Slovenly and unkempt, he spent his final days in a mental institution. When he died, he, once the most elegantly attired Englishman, was carted away in a beggar's shroud. Although the man known as Beau Brummel has been long gone, his name is still an epithet for a fashionable dresser, a dandy, a fop. The title Beau, from the French for beauty, was an honorific bestowed on him by an adoring public.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.