|17th century engraving of a British actor, |
in character as 'Lord Foppington'.
Source: Wiki Commons
The word 'fop' was used way back in the 1600s as a pejorative term for men who appeared to be overly vain, putting too much emphasis on their clothes, hair and general appearance. As a handy term for a dandified peacock, it caught on, eventually finding its way into popular culture via fictional characters such as The Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro.
The Rococo period
Foppishness was applied particularly to the French Court of Louis XV and the dandified and effeminate fashions which emanated from that part of the world, particularly in the eighteenth century, when French style among the male upper classes dictated such fashionable accoutrements as elaborately curled powdered wigs, skirted embroidered coats, delicately frilled cuffs, pink stockings, stick-on beauty spots and lush fabrics such as satin, silk and velvet. This was known as the 'Rococo' or 'Late Baroque' period and it was a good time to be a fop if you were that way inclined.