Style Library [Part 1]

Over the years I have collected a number of books on men’s style. Following is a list of some of my favorites (in no particular order).

Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion, Alan Flusser (2002). This 305 page tome is one of my all-time favorites. It is full of photographs and old Esquire illustrations. Flusser covers the full spectrum of men’s style. The book includes chapters on color, proportion, and pattern. Each category of men’s clothing has a chapter including ones on suits, odd jackets, trousers and waistcoats, dress shirts, neckwear, socks, shoes, accessories, formal wear and business casual.

Style & the Man, Alan Flusser (2010). This book was updated in 2010. It is essentially a small watered-down version of Dressing the Man without the great pictures and illustrations. Flusser packs a lot of information into 137 pages, but I still prefer Dressing the Man.

Eminently Suitable: The Elements of Style in Business Attire, G. Bruce Boyer (1990). In this book Boyer dispenses history and advice on dressing for business. Although this book is over 20 years old, the content is still relevant today.

The London Cut: Savile Row Besoke Tailoring, James Sherwood (2007). An investigation into the houses on Savile Row. The book includes a nice collection of images of famous men and women in their Savile Row tailored clothing.

Men’s Wardrobe, Kim Johnson Gross, Jeff Stone & Woody Hochswender (2000). This book does a great job of showing how to put together different outfits using a few core articles of clothing. For instance, one photo spread shows three different outfits built around a stone-colored cotton suit. In the first photo the suit is coupled with a blue dress shirt, bow tie, and London tan shoes, belt and briefcase. For golfing with a client, the suit pants are paired with a yellow polo shirt, golf shoes and a hat. For casual Friday, the suit jacket is paired with dark blue jeans, a white t-shirt, tennis shoes and a canvas messenger bag.

Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion, Bernhard Roetzel (1999). This big book is full of good information and lots of nice pictures. This is probably my second favorite book behind Dressing the Man.

Dressing in the Dark: Lessons in Men’s Style from the Movies, Marion Maneker (2002). This book is light on style advice, but contains a wealth of photos of film celebrities in various states of dress.

Sharp Suits, Eric Musgrave (2009). I wish this book had more classic style images, and fewer of rock stars in outlandish suits. Nevertheless, the book has enough valuable content to make it worthwhile.

The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style, Nicholas Antongiavanni (2006). Michael Anton, writing under his Italian pseudonym, offers one of the most unique books on men’s style. Anton’s book is a parody of Machiavelli’s The Prince. But instead of being a book on how to rule, The Suit is a book on how to dress.

If I have failed to list one of your favorite style books, please post in the comments. I might have to add it to my library. Next week I’ll share a list of books in my library that were not worth the money.

New Year’s Resolutions

Another year is drawing to a close. Many people will use the start of the new year as the impetus to resolve to improve their life in some meaningful way. Some common New Year’s resolutions include getting fit or losing weight, improving a career, getting out of debt, being more organized and helping others. I would suggest that all of these worthy goals can have some relevance to men’s style.

This time of year many people resolve to lose weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. Currently about one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Holiday parties inevitably contribute to the problem. It’s easy to pack on a few holiday pounds by washing down high-fat finger foods with your favorite cocktail. Gaining weight can really wreak havoc with tailored clothing. Waistbands sag under bloated bellies and jacket buttons strain with effort. And it’s no secret that clothes look better on a fit body. Resolving to get in shape is a worthy goal that will improve your style.

Some people resolve to get a better job or seek a promotion. It may be cliché, but if this is your desire then you should dress for success. Let people know that you mean business. Remember that you are marketing yourself and the packaging is important. This is especially important today because of the stiff competition in these troubled economic times.

Speaking of the economy, some people resolve to improve their finances or get out of debt. When it comes to clothing, obviously well-made classic items have better value than trendy fashionable attire. Constantly updating your wardrobe at the whim of the latest trend can be incredibly expensive. Instead, invest in items of lasting style and quality; your pocketbook will thank you.

If you winnow out your wardrobe, it is possible to get more organized and help other people. Resolve to weed out the clothes that you never wear. Then box them up and donate them to charity.

Good luck with whatever you resolve to do in 2011. Happy New Year!

Warby Parker: Sneak Peek

I got a sneak peek last week of some great new eyeglass frames from Warby Parker. Warby Parker sells vintage-inspired acetate eyeglasses online for only ninety-five dollars. I personally wear a pair of the Thompson frames in revolver black. Friends call them my Walter Cronkite glasses.

Back in July when I reviewed some Warby Parker frames on my blog, A Southern Gentleman, my chief complaint was the fit of the frames. I expected that the big, chunky-styled glasses would be proportionally larger in size than ordinary frames. I found, however, that the majority of the Warby Parker frames were too narrow for my face (and my head is not that big)!

In August when I interviewed Neil Blumenthal, one of the founders of Warby Parker, he mentioned that they were currently designing some new frames in different colors and sizes. That collection of fourteen new frames will be introduced in mid-January. Happily, this new collection of frames is bigger and bolder than the original offerings from Warby Parker.

wp-thatcherOne of my favorite wide frames from the new collection is the Thatcher (pictured). It will be available in revolver black and whiskey tortoise. According to Warby Parker, the Thatcher “is a big and bold frame with Warby Parker’s signature rectangular metal plaque.” The Thatcher is “inspired by the late great Buddy Holly” and “has a classic retro style that harkens back to the 1950s.”

In addition to offering great eyeglasses at an unbelievable price, Warby Parker also donates glasses to people in need. As part of their Buy a Pair | Give a Pair program, for every pair of glasses they sell, they give a free pair to someone in need in the United States or the developing world. Warby Parker reports that in less than a year they have donated over 20,000 glasses in over 25 countries.

I have been quite happy with my Warby Parker glasses. They are relatively cheap and making a purchase makes a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Now this new collection will provide a wider range of styles, sizes and colors. If you need some new glasses I recommend you check out Warby Parker.

The Shirt Jacket

I find it hard to dress for the weekend. For me the work week is easier. Suit and tie. Or trousers, odd jacket and a tie. But what to wear on the weekend? What to wear on those occasions when an odd jacket it too formal? What to wear when running errands or walking the dog? The temptation this time of year is a pair of jeans and a fleece pullover. In the summer it’s shorts and a t-shirt. For a long time I have striven to rise above those temptations and I think I have finally stumbled upon a solution: the shirt jacket.

A shirt jacket is, as the name implies, a cross between a shirt and an odd jacket. Because it is unlined and unconstructed, a shirt jacket provides pockets without the weight or formality of an odd jacket. Those bellows pockets are great for a man’s paraphernalia: keys, cell phone, sunglasses, lighter.

sj-noiretMy inspiration came from Will Boehlke who blogs at A Suitable Wardrobe. He has written several articles about his various shirt jackets that are made from tweed, flannel, cotton and linen. Michael Alden at The London Lounge has also written about his version of the shirt jacket that was inspired by the late French actor Philippe Noiret (pictured).

My first shirt jacket, in a brown tweed, arrived last week from Hemrajani Bros Ltd of Hong Kong. I made mention of this order in my article of October 19. It was with some trepidation that I tried on my new shirt jacket given the mixed success I have had with made-to-measure clothing; however, I could not be happier. The shirt jacket fits well and is quite comfortable. I foresee that it will be a very versatile article of casual clothing. I’m already thinking ahead to a version in flannel, and maybe a couple in linen for summer.


I wore the pictured outfit while doing some Christmas shopping over the weekend. With the brown tweed shirt jacket I wore dark blue jeans (J. Crew), a made-to-measure blue royal oxford dress shirt (Modern Tailor), navy and white polka dot day cravat (Beau Ties Ltd of Vermont) and brown suede monk-strap shoes (Alden).

Stocking Stuffers

With the holidays fast approaching I thought I would offer some small stocking stuffer ideas for the stylish man in your life.

stock-stuff-tiffany-tie-bar1Tiffany 1837 Tie Bar

This classic accessory in sterling silver is hallmarked with the year that Tiffany & Co. was founded.  $85 from

stock-stuff-prorasoProraso Shaving Cream

This wonderful Italian shaving cream is infused with Eucalyptus oil and Menthol.  The oil provides a slick coating that helps prevent razor burn, and the Menthol adds an invigorating minty aroma.  $10.75 for a 5.2 oz tube from

stock-stuff-styptic-penStyptic Pen

A styptic pen is an invaluable shaving accessory.  Instead of gluing scraps of toilet paper to his bleeding face, a styptic pen allows a man to stop the flow with an application of alum to the cut.  Dabbing a moistened alum stick on the offending nick causes the vessels to constrict and the bleeding to stop.  $12 from

stock-stuff-collar-stiffeneCollar Stays

Collar stays (collar stiffeners in the UK) are strips of rigid material that are inserted into a narrow pocket on the underside of a dress shirt collar.  They ensure that the collar lies flat and crisp against the collarbone.  Many dress shirts are accompanied by cheap plastic versions that quickly become warped and twisted.  Hundreds of higher quality versions are commercially available in materials like brass, sterling silver and mother of pearl.  Some may be personalized with a message that is only seen by the wearer.  The ones pictured are from James & Longbourne.  £9.95 from

stock-stuff-silk-knotsSilk Knots

Silk knots are a colorful alternative to metal cufflinks used to fasten French cuffs.  These silk knots are made from three strands of elastic silk interwoven to create two round knots connected by two of the three elastic strands.  Because the knots are made from three strands of elastic silk, they may be produced in one, two or even three color combinations.  4 for $20 (or $9.00 each) from

stock-stuff-marcolianiMarcoliani socks

These incredible Italian socks are made from 80% extra fine Merino wool and 20% nylon.  They are available in sixteen solid colors as well as a number of fun patterns.  I would recommend the over-the-calf versions to avoid any bare skin at the ankle.  $25 per pair from