Young Fogey

Young Fogey

The term Young Fogey was humorously applied, in British context, to some younger-generation, rather buttoned-down writers and journalists, such as Charles Moore and, for a while, A. N. Wilson. The term is attributed to Alan Watkins writing in 1984 in The Spectator.

Young Fogey is still used to describe conservative young men (aged approximately between 15 and 40) who dress in a vintage style (usually that of the 1920's-1950's, also known as the 'Brideshead' look, after the influence of 'Brideshead Revisited', by Evelyn Waugh), and who tend towards erudite, conservative cultural pursuits.

Old, somewhat shabby clothing is preferred, such as heavy tweeds and antique dinner jackets. As well, the favoured mode of transport is the bicycle or Morris Minor. Popular pursuits are classical music, fine wines, pipe smoking, and ecclesiasticana, generally of the High Anglican or Roman Catholic persuasion.

The movement reached its peak in the mid eighties with adherents such as A.N. Wilson and Gavin Stamp. The movement declined in the nineties, but still has a following amongst students at Oxbridge and the older universities, as well as in some professions (in particular the antiques and arts dealing world, and the minority classical architecture practices). At Oxbridge, teenage undergraduates can be seen wearing tweed and affecting mannerisms that are reminiscent of a long-gone era; a particular stronghold of Young Fogeys is Trinity College, Cambridge, but they are also seen elsewhere.

The Young Fogey is sometimes confused with the Sloane Ranger, but this is incorrect; whilst there is some crossover between the two in clothing styles, the Young Fogey tends toward reserved, intellectual and cultured pursuits, and avoids heartiness.

The Young Fogey style of dress also has some surface similarity with the American Trad or Preppy style, but it is essentially an anglo-centric style, restricted to the United Kingdom and the more anglicised areas of the British Commonwealth such as Australia and New Zealand.

Most recently, The Chap magazine has revived many aspects of the Young Fogey, albeit in a somewhat boisterous and tongue-in-cheek manner.

For more information, see 'The Young Fogey Handbook' by Suzanne Lowry.

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