A Funny Kind of Swell.
The Product of Metropolitan Life Who is Known as a "Dude."
New York Letter in the Boston Advertiser.
Late advices from your city announce that you have no "dudes" there. Do you know what a "dude" is? The name was just given, I think, in one of our daily papers, to a curious specimen of the genus homo which has lately appeared in New York.
He is young, thin, pale, often hatchet-faced, almost always narrow-chested and small-limbed. His extremely tight trousers painfully accentuate his lack of fiber. His coat and long overcoat are an exaggerated imitation of the Bond street style, and in evening he wears a very abbreviated "covercoat." This garment, in its normal use, has a raison d'etre. It is worn at "cover" over the short red coat of the hunter, but the "dude" wears it over evening dress producing an effect which is amusing to the minds of the uninstructed.
I saw a "dude" at Newport last summer, at whom people were laughing very much on account of this same effect. As the tails of the dress-coat came quite a distance below the bottom of the "cover-coat," the inevitable inference was that the lining of the former had come out.
The shoes of the "dude" should be of the shape of an Esquimaux kyack, or canoe, and he wears a broad-trimmed high English silk hat, especially at theaters and concerts, where it is most in the way. In his mouth, finally, the cigarette finds a permanent home, as do the lillies of the valley in his buttonhole. He may be seen in quantities in Delmonico's cafe and he is a study.
Evening Star (Washington DC), March 3, 1883, page 3.