Q And Answer: What Are The Essential Men’s Style Books?

September 9, 2010

Q and Answer: What are the essential men’s style books?

Alex writes: What are a few essential books on men’s style to help me better myself?

There are some good choices out there, though none of them are absolutely perfect.

For the man who knows nothing, and doesn’t wear tailored clothing most of the time, the Esquire Handbook of Style is a decent primer.  It isn’t super expensive, and the information contained within its pages is generally pretty reliable.  It also has a lot of clear illustrations, which are nice. 

Allan Flusser’s Style and the Man and Dressing the Man are both excellent guides to tailored men’s clothing.  The latter is coffee table book sized, and lavishly illustrated.  It’s an excellent primer on classic men’s style – probably the single book I’d recommend most highly.  I also like Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion, by Bernhard Roetzel.  It’s also full of beautiful pictures, and is a wonderful compliment to Flusser’s works.

There are a few others that are recommendable as well.  I love American Fashion Menswear, which was released by the Council of Fashion Designers of America last year.  It’s a genre-by-genre guide to the best of American style over the last hundred years or so.  It’s full of great inspiration on everything from denim jeans to flannel suits to weirdo runway looks.  The Suit has a lot of information on tailored clothing, though it’s wrapped in a perplexing “Machiavellian” structure.  Color For Men is a useful basic reference on finding color combinations that match your complexion.

I guess the real question is: where’s our book deal?

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