March 29, 2008
"Show me a fop and I go quivery all over"
An article by Jane Shilling posted a few years ago in the Times Online addresses, among other things, how "fops" are viewed by the public. Her son, for instance, is horrified when Shilling covets a gaudy, decadent skirt while on a shopping trip. She continues by expressing her love for aesthetics, while at the same time criticizing "wannabe fops" for a lack of understanding of the true nature of Victorian aesthetics:

I have a theory, though, that most men with foppish tendencies are really nothing of the kind — that those fancy braces, designer shirts with cuffs amusingly embellished with naked ladies or the flash of vivid lining in a subfuse city suit have little to do with the exuberant expression of personality, but are actually what the common-or-garden faux fop has instead of a personality: a lazy man’s shorthand for “beneath this dull exterior there beats the heart of a free spirit”.

Shilling’s article rises an interesting question on the intention of those we see trying their hand at “Victorian Cool”. Her (perhaps overly cynical) claim is that the majority of modern Victorian aesthetes have chosen to do so as a simple way to identify themselves as free spirits, replacing, perhaps, other means of feeling or acting uniquely.

Is this a legitimate claim, or is it true that the manner in which we visually present ourselves to the world is initially the best way to make a statement about one’s self? Regardless of your personal reaction to Shilling's article, there is no doubt that "Show me a fop and I go quivery all over" touches on what I see as the innately human instinct to distinguish ourselves. Do you think this trait is one of the reasons why "Victorian Cool" is able to exist, or perhaps how it began?

Posted by Jill
posted at 11:30 AM -
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The Blog:

Created by five SFU students for Dr. Stephen Ogden's English 206 class, this blog is, simply put, just for show. We are interested in the idea of "Victorian Cool," or more specifically how Victorian aesthetics are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The posts in this blog are materialism at its finest; fashion, architecture, jewelry, furniture, and whatever else catches our eye. Why has this brand of Victorianism re-entered mass culture? Read the blog and find out!

The Contributors:


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