"'For some reason,' Metcalf says, 'early in 1883, this inspired someone to call foppish young men of New York City "doods," with the alternate spelling "dudes" soon becoming the norm.'
Some of the early mocking descriptions of these dudes seem awfully familiar today: 'A weak mustache, a cigarette, a thirteen button vest/A curled rim hat — a minaret — two watch chains cross the breast.'"
Okrent, Arika. "Mystery Solved: The Etymology of Dude" on Slate .
Writers online can't seem to avoid the h-word, and Okrent won't let this just be interesting on its own. But I love that it would be thirteen buttons. What did everyone else have, three? Ten? Where do we draw the line at excess, how weak was his mustache? These are the small distinctions that make fashion history so interesting!
Now you know, dude.