The stylepocalypse must be nigh: menswear books of varying quality and interest are veritably raining down upon us. I continue to be surprised that there is a paying market for expensive picture books like the new Best of British, which has one single page of superficial text for each of the 14 brands featured and a bunch of photographs that, in some cases, approximate what could be found with a quick Google image search.
A good men’s clothing book is a rarity, and an original one is as mythical and miraculous as a unicorn – or at least one of the old cashmere-silk unicorn neckerchieves that won’t be made again which I harp on about. Still, the unexpected can happen, and did in 1999 when Cambridge physics PhDs Thomas Fink and Yong Mao came out with The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie: The Science and Aesthetics of Tie Knots.
After receiving this newly published book, a survey of selected French men’s luxury brands by Hugo Jacomet, the blogger and marketer known as Parisian Gentleman himself, I told myself I would not write a review. Jacomet and I had vastly different approaches to writing about clothing, I thought, and reviewing him could draw criticism of a possible conflict of interest with my own writing projects.
It’s a cliché to insult Canada as America’s blander, more stable neighbor. Most of us aren’t pretending when we say we ignore everything going on there. Nonetheless, the whirlwind accession of its young, photogenic new prime minister got my attention, for he has a name that speaks volumes, both in the unfamiliar realm of Canadian political history and the well-trodden demesne of men’s style: Trudeau.
Like all members of what used to be called Generation X, I grew up with a fascination for The Princess Bride. Most of us still to this day can repeat much of its dialogue line by line, even Andre the Giant’s stuff that took dozens of viewings to figure out.
In the early days of Internet menswear, those of us who wished to learn more about quality clothing or bespoke had few sources. Few of us were to the manner and the tailor born, with family members and friends to groom and initiate us into those worlds. GQ and Esquire had long since ceased discussing such things with regularity, let alone probity.
A year or two ago I wrote that we may have reached peak pocket square, that saturation point for both foppish folds and garishness of prints in the breast pockets of dandified men after which we can expect only terminal decline. Picking up David Fung & Yena Kim’s new publication, Menswear Dog Presents the New Classics: Fresh Looks for the Modern Man, I wondered whether #Menswear itself may have reached that peak point. Are we now so jaded that we take clothing advice from a dog?
You knew it was coming. How could a style writer stay away for long from the man whose out-of-context quote emboldened generations of fops, bestowing pseudointellectual and political prestige on overdress?