10 of the best, must-read men’s style books
Book smarts aren’t everything, especially when it comes to matters of men’s style. And while there are some bona fide men’s style “rule books” out there, there’s also a wealth exceptionally fascinating stories, anecdotes and history to know as well.
The true men’s style connoisseur is, after all, a deep seeker of knowledge. It’s in that spirit that we’ve examined the shelves of the HSS library and chosen our top 10 must read men’s style books.
A member of the holy trinity of men’s fashion books, True Style is at the top of the must-have list. Written by the esteemed menswear editor G. Bruce Boyer, the former fashion editor for GQ and Esquire focuses on the history and importance of classic menswear and how it should be worn. If you’re interested in the subtle rules of selecting socks and pairing ties, this is the guide even the most acclaimed style writers turn to for inspiration and research.
A compendium of essays, interviews, and theories, David Coggins, mostly eschews simple style advice and focuses on dialogue that provides insight into the minds of the world’s most rakish men and influential figures in fashion. In addition to serving as a style guide of sorts, the thing you’ll likely find most interesting is reading stories about the style mistakes and hard lessons that our planet’s foremost tastemakers have experienced. This book is fascinating and is about far more than just how to dress. A must-read in our book.
Simon Crompton is one of the most celebrated menswear bloggers in Britain. His blog, Permanent Style, attracts the most discerning men, and the book is a curated selection of his finest work packed into a limited release softcover. Considered by many to be his magnum opus, Crompton has managed to achieve a feat very few authors can pull off. He created a book so enchanting that most readers view it as a work of art. In it, he examines the very best that British clothing has to offer and focuses on educating readers through vivid photography that will inspire you by showcasing why London always has and always will be the pulse of classic men’s fashion.
Another handsome volume from Josh Sims, Icons of Men’s Style focuses on the most essential pieces that have helped shape menswear throughout history. Each iconic item is meticulously picked apart to give you insight into how it came to be, the role it had in menswear and why it is not just important, but iconic.
Icons of Men’s Style (mini edition) by Josh Sims, $15
Ametora, which means “American Traditional,” focuses on the impact Japan has had on American menswear and fashion. Hollywood actor Cary Grant once said that “the well-dressed American man makes a better appearance than the well-dressed man of any other country,” and Japan has taken this to heart. In Ametora, W. David Marx focuses on the role Japanese manufacturers have had on men’s fashion in the United States and throughout North America. Managing to separate itself from the sweatshops of its neighboring regions, Japan has enjoyed a rich history of not only manufacturing but even designing and improving some of the finest apparel most of us consider to be quintessentially American.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Dressing the Man is the most important book ever written about men’s style. It’s the bible. The I Ching. And if you’re serious about menswear, it’s the book that won’t even make it onto your bookshelf, because you’ll never be able to put it down. Written by the acclaimed menswear critic Alan Flusser, Dressing the Man moves away from trends and focuses on helping you create a timeless wardrobe that will look as stylish today as it will five, 10 or even 30 years from now. If you only own one book on men’s style, it needs to be this one. No question.
“Mad Men” will forever go down in history as one of the most rakish and inspired television shows ever created. The Carousel Book is a journey from the series premiere to its finale, delving meticulously into every episode from all seven seasons. A detailed look at the culture of Madison Avenue ad execs, the book provides insight and never-before-seen essays on the show’s theme, filmmaking, performances, and the impact it’s had on popular culture. This is a perfect coffee table book for the most stylish gentleman and a necessity for rabid fans of the series that helped kickstart a renewed American interest in menswear.
The title is probably this book’s best descriptor. A treasury of menswear as it has progressed over the last one hundred years. Image-rich, fashion historian Cally Blackman curated this compendium of some of the rarest and most important photographs throughout history. A focus on organic progression, it is inspiration for those of you who prize classic style over contemporary trends and fast fashion.
Here at HSS, we believe that the smallest details often have the ability to make the biggest impact. Unfortunately, many men still overlook the importance that accessories have when it comes to dressing up. The Details examines the accessories that can make or break an outfit and helps guide you to selecting the best accessories to complement your wardrobe and personal style. Not only does author Josh Sims focus on practical fashion tips, but he details the history of each accessory and how it has helped to shape sartorialism over the years.
Another gem from Alan Flusser, Style and the Man is a reference guide and roadmap for those wanting to step up their style game. Standing shoulder to shoulder with other luminaries of men’s fashion like G. Bruce Boyer, GQ magazine once said that “if you dispense income on clothes, this book is indispensable.” We tend to agree.
Thanks for reading.
Brian Sacawa & J.A. Shapira
He Spoke Style
Photography by Rob McIver Photo.