Female dandy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The female counterpart is a quaintrelle, a woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures.

In the 12th century, cointerrels (male) and cointrelles (female) emerged, based upon coint, a word applied to things skilfully made, later indicating a person of beautiful dress and refined speech. By the 18th century, coint became quaint, indicating elegant speech and beauty. Middle English dictionaries note quaintrelle as a beautifully dressed woman (or overly dressed), but do not include the favorable personality elements of grace and charm. The notion of a quaintrelle sharing the major philosophical components of refinement with dandies is a modern development that returns quaintrelles to their historic roots.

Female dandies did overlap with male dandies for a brief period during the early 19th century when dandy had a derisive definition of "fop" or "over-the-top fellow"; the female equivalents were dandyess or dandizette. Charles Dickens, in All the Year Around (1869) comments, "The dandies and dandizettes of 1819–1820 must have been a strange race. Dandizette was a term applied to feminine devotees to dress and their absurdities were fully equal to those of the dandy." In 1819, the novel Charms of Dandyism was published "by Olivia Moreland, chief of the female dandies"; although probably written by Thomas Ashe, "Olivia Moreland" may have existed, as Ashe did write several novels about living persons. Throughout the novel, dandyism is associated with "living in style". Later, as the word dandy evolved to denote refinement, it became applied solely to men. Popular Culture and Performance in the Victorian City (2003) notes this evolution in the latter 19th century: "...or dandizette, although the term was increasingly reserved for men."





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