Gentleman: A Timeless Guide To Fashion
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Like most people, I do not follow fashion and I just know what I like. Professionally, I've always dressed respectably for work but I know I can do better. Most importantly, as I am entering the back half of my life, the time has come to stop trying to dress like a 20 year old.
The author says in his introduction that he wanted the publisher to switch the wording on the title to be "Gentleman: A Guide to Timeless Fashion". Both would be correct. This is an encyclopedia style book about classic looks in men's fashion from the British and European traditions.
Every aspect of men's fashion is covered - hair cuts, shaving, shoes, socks, shirts, suits, blazers, hats, accessories, etc. You get a brief history of the item followed by detailed recommendations and rationales on what constitutes "quality" for that item. This is often followed by specific recommendations on brands and where to source these items.
There are also sections on how to care for your wardrobe, and even how to pack them in a suitcase correctly. (And a section on cases themselves!)
The hardcover book itself is beautifully bound, with loads of gorgeous and detailed photos. Never once did I get lost or not understand what the author was talking about, as everything in the book is comprehensively illustrated.
Cynics might say there is nothing in this book that couldn't be found by a google search. If that's the case, then it is only because the information is timeless and accurate. I liked that the book does provide a comprehensive approach to men's style and it will be a reference book that I continue to use.
In the cases where product recommendations are made they are in the high end price range, but not ridiculously so. Most of the brands mentioned are not accessible to people outside of major cities. I honestly didn't feel like this was a major drawback - my takeaway from the book is that I now know what constitutes a good looking quality item; and will be able to find such items even if they are not from Brooks Brothers. True - you won't be able to buy your shoes from Payless. But now you will spend a bit more on a quality item and know how to care for it so that it lasts for years.
To those looking for a sort of "Dress For Success" style book, this isn't it. It won't tell you step by step what to do. What it does is educate and inspire you to find your own execution of classic style.
This is my first, and so far only, exploration of men's fashion but I highly recommend it as a starting point.
(This review is for the November 2012 edition)