Books on Fashion

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by HanauMan, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. HanauMan

    HanauMan Practically Family

    Messages:
    809
    Location:
    Inverness, Scotland
    This German book, Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion, has everything covered that a real gentleman may need to know about, clothing wise. I tried to achieve this look in my 30s but unless you're a real gentleman of means it is too time consuming as well as too expensive to maintain for long. Anyhow, I realized that I wasn't really comfortable in this kind of attire though I have followed some of the advice given in the book.


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    Lastly, I bought this French book, Cowboys of the Sky, by Gilles Lhote and Jeff Clyman, because I wanted to learn a bit more about the A2 leather jacket. It is full of historical information but does feel like a late 1980s Avirex catalog in places. If you like Avirex jackets from that period, the book is full of photos.

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    Anyone else wish to share any interesting books on fashion, clothing etc?
     
  2. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,632
    Location:
    New York City
    Even though my dad did wear a suit and tie, it was not something he taught me about. And specifically, when I started working on Wall Street in the mid-'80s, there was a particular type of suit-and-tie dress that was acceptable which was much, much narrower than the overall universe of suit-and-tie dress and different from what my dad wore.

    Of course, I knew none of this when I started on Wall Street with a blue blazer, a few grey dress pants, a few white dress shirts, a handful of ties and a pretty beat up pair of dress shoes (all courtesy of my days working as a luggage salesman at Sterns department store during college). It didn't take long to figure out that I didn't have the same wardrobe as others (nor did I have the finances to acquire it even if I had "understood" it, which I didn't).

    Hence, even before worrying about money, I had to figure out what "it" was - just knowing I didn't have it right didn't inform me as to how to make it right. While I started asking questions - especially of those who seemed to dress really well - and going to the stores I was told about (a huge amount of browsing occurred), I knew I needed more and bought a book. I wish I remember the name - I think it was Alan Flusser's ''Clothes and the Man: The Principles of Fine Men's Dress," but I'm not sure. Regardless, looking back, while it was a newly published book, it was a bit dated by the '80s as many details it stressed were already passe on Wall Street.

    That said, that book, while it overwhelmed me (a chapter on shirt collars was intimidating), started to educate me on many of the basic of men's dress and started to get me thinking about coordination, tailoring, "quality vs quantity" and "building a wardrobe." Since I hadn't learned it from my dad, I did it as most do - query and trial and error over many years. Since then, I developed a pretty good interest in clothes - in particular, reading about them and their history. Now, for me, it's more about the knowledge as a "hobby," as I no longer buy many "suit-and-tie" clothes because what I already have more than covers the needs in our modern casual-dress world.

    Hence, my "hobby" is mainly a book one today. Instead of listing a bunch of classic books, I'll just mention of few of my favorites and show a shot of part of my "collection" of clothing books.

    Favorites:
    • "Hollywood and the Ivy Look" by Graham Marsh and Tony Nourmand
    • "Take Ivy" by Shosuke Ishizu
    • "Ametora" by David Marx
    • "Ivy Style: Radical Conformists" Editor Patricia Mears
    • "Carry Grant: A Celebration of Style" by Richard Torregrossa
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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  3. HanauMan

    HanauMan Practically Family

    Messages:
    809
    Location:
    Inverness, Scotland
    That certainly is a nice selection of books in your library. I'm envious.

    My father didn't wear a suit for his work though he did have a couple for weddings and funerals and the like.

    Likewise, I went into nursing and didn't need a suit either for daily wear. I got by with a couple of nasty polyester suits in my early twenties, teamed up with cheap shirts and ties. It was then that I wanted something a bit smarter and my self education began and I read everything I could find in order to 'improve' myself. In the end, however, I am a smart - casual person and no longer feel inferior to someone in a well cut suit.

    However, I now have a nice Italian suit and some proper shirts and a couple of silk ties, plus a tie pin and cufflinks as well as a nice pair of dress shoes for when I do feel like dressing up. And all thanks to the advice given in these books.
     
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  4. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,313
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    This pricey book was spotted at the Cleveland Museum of Art last fall.

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  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    For an alternative point of view on the fashion industry of the Era, I recommend the works of Elizabeth Hawes. She was a high-end Manhattan designer of the 1930s who became thoroughly disillusioned with the corruption and the crass marketing-driven wastefulness of the business and wrote a blistering manifesto in 1938, "Fashion Is Spinach." This book focused specifically on the depradations of the women's fashion industry, and she followed it up in 1939 with "Men Can Take It," a similar expose of the world of menswear. In all her fashion-related writings, Hawes campaigned militantly against the rigid norms of the time, in favor of a fashion ethos in which all people felt free to wear clothing that worked for them, not clothing that they were told and forced to wear by commerce-driven arbiters of style.
     
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  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,632
    Location:
    New York City
    Having been turned onto this book by Lizzie, I can heartily back up her opinion. It's a darn good read which takes no prisoners with the fashion industry and provides a during-the-period view of the world which is, IMHO, always more enlightening to the period than any period novel written today which will have many modern biases.
     
  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    14,632
    Location:
    New York City
    I noticed that my "bookshelf" shots didn't capture this very recent purchase:

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    The book is prettier in person than in the picture - the white button down is the perfect icon item for Brook Brothers to put on the cover as both its rich texture and the luster of the material come through vividly in person.

    And that in a way is the strength and weakness of the book. It is a beautiful book with some incredible historic shots of classic Brooks Brothers' clothes throughout its 200 year history. But the book is a promo book for Brooks and therefor tells a Brooks-favorable company-and-sartorial history that has some good information but reads, overall, like a sales brochure. Also, too much time and too many photos are devoted to the company today - here again, it felt very self promotional.

    I will never understand why companies don't understand that efforts like this are transparent and limiting. Had the company hired a professional writer to put out a true coffee-book history of the company and its clothes - with warts and all - the result would be a more engaging book that would have built a closer bond between the reader and the company than this safe and bias book does. Also, a truly well-researched and unbiased book would get better industry reviews and, in theory, reach a wider audience.

    All that said, on sale in the mid twenty dollar range (what I paid), it's a nice book to have - great pictures with some interesting company history - if it's your type of read.
     
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