What Makes A Man Dapper?

Using the word 'dapper'

So what does the word “dapper” mean? Many people would not necessarily immediately associate it with footwear but at Cross Sword we have designed our range with this word in mind. According to Google books the amount the word has been used peaked in the 1940’s and then started to drop off during the Second World War. During the 1980’s the use of the word started to rise again and is now used considerably more than say 20 years ago. The word actually is a Germanic word that comes from the Middle Dutch word which means “strong”, “quick” or “nimble”. But what does that have to do with fashion?

 use of the word dapper through the ages

Trend of the usage of the word dapper according to google books.

The word is often used in conjunction with ‘gentleman’ or ‘fashionista’ because men that follow fashion closely may want to look dapper. The word is only used to describe men’s fashion and there is no female comparative. A dapper man will be well groomed, smart and fashion conscience but most notably it can be seen that he has an appreciation for clothes.

 being smartly dressedlooking smart is a must


Being called dapper is a compliment and a big one at that. The term would suggest that a man takes care of his appearance and is conscious of his decisions about what he wears. He has a certain style that looks neat and trimmed so therefore would probably not be associated with someone who wears jogging bottoms and a tracksuit even if it is a well known brand.

So does being dapper make you a gentleman? No, being a gentleman is something else. Being dapper has nothing necessarily to do with your character or actions but more to do with the way you present yourself. A gentleman is a gentleman through his actions and his thoughts. It is true to say that he can be a dapper gentleman because the two do go hand in hand.

 looking smart

Dress smart and accessorise 

Smartly dressed

Dapper men will usually be found in a smart pair of shoes, a suit, probably a tie or maybe even a waistcoat. Typically they will accessorise with items such as nice watches or handkerchiefs they make the effort to impress so the suit will be well cut and the shirt well fitted. That is not to say that a dapper man would exclusively wear a suit but he would definitely have a very smart appearance.

How do dapper men want others to perceive them? Well they want to express to everyone that they are ‘proper’, ‘attentive to detail’ and are well aware of what looks good in current fashion trends. This is where the crossover into fashionista appears. Fashionista’s are also extremely fashion conscience; hence the name and they want to outwardly show that they are devoted to fashion, as is the dapper man. Both are devoted but to slightly different things.

When we designed our range of shoes, we wanted to make sure that they would fit into the lifestyle of the dapper man. We strongly believe that fashionista’s would also wear them but our focus was originally on ‘dapper men’. We designed our footwear to look like a normal classic man’s shoe. It is almost unnoticeable that you are wearing a heel when approached from the front. Classic styles with Oxfords and Broguing fit into the dapper look and we love how our shoes look with suits. For example our ‘Antony’ in black looks amazing with a nice pair of cut smart trousers.

 Cross Swords Antony

We love the fact that ‘dapper’ is coming back into fashion and that we can be a part of it here at Cross Sword.