Sophia Wallace’s Photography Project “Modern Dandies” Is Power and Danger

Hansen’s Team Pick:

We’re kind of in love with Sophia Wallace here at Autostraddle, so when I saw beautiful high-resolution photographs from her 2010 series “Modern Dandies” posted on Huffington Post, I got a little excited. Dandies and art, could there be a more beautiful marriage?

I was intrigued by her artist’s statement about the history, politics and playfulness of dandyism, especially regarding beauty and gender norms. She writes,

The dandy–conventionally defined as a strikingly attractive man whose dress is immaculate and manor is dignified–has been around since the late eighteenth century. Often misunderstood as superficial, the dandy is rather a space of creative possibility where men and women can perform a persona in ways that reach far beyond the narrow binary constructs of masculine and feminine… Indeed, dandyism’s subversive aesthetic of beauty disrupts normative gender in fascinating ways. Beauty is defined in almost all contexts as the domain of femininity which is commonly understood as frivolous, weak and passive. The dandy is neither traditionally feminine or masculine. Rather, the dandy is an aestheticized androgyny available to men, women and transgender individuals. Herein lies its power and its danger.

I’m especially in love with that last line, “Herein lies its power and it’s danger.” Take a look for yourself:

See the rest over on Sophia Wallace’s website.

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. So I usually dress more on the femme side of the spectrum but I really really want all of these clothes on my body now? especially the third one.
    Also the models are just super attractive.
    I also like the artists statement a lot especially the bit about how dandiness is available to everyone. (Yeah. I don’t really have any comments/thoughts to add to it though I just wanted to post something that isn’t OMG CLOTHES OMG ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE)

    • Honestly, now when I hear the word “dandy” I just think of attractive MOC lesbians or trans* folks (probably a result of my addiction to queer fashion blogs). That, or the sapeurs.

  2. this is kind of ruined by the fact that she says “men, women and transgender individuals” as if trans people are some kind of special third gender category, neither men nor women

    • also, I just realized this is the same artist who a few years ago made this series on working class moc young lesbians, I suggest you check that out too, it’s posted on her website under “Girls Will Be Bois” – her commentary for that isn’t very good either, though the women in the pictures just blow you away and the images are more real, for lack of a better word – the dandy series looks like something out of a fashion magazine, but those are moments from someone’s life

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