10 of the Best Menswear Books (Updated for 2016)

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Menswear blogs are great, but sometimes it is nice to curl up with an actual, substantial, physical book to learn more about menswear philosophies and style trends.  To follow are 10 of our favorite books on mens’ fashion and style.

1. Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion

Flusser is the reigning modern day authority on male style and dress. Dressing is equal parts history, photography, and diary of the rules of dress that quotes Oscar Wilde, places Gordon Gekko in historical context and walks the reader through how to tie a bow tie.

2. Contemporary Menswear: The Insider’s Guide to Independent Men’s Fashion

Fashion experts Steven Vogel, Nicholas Schonberger and Calum Gordon profile 50 brands that have been innovating in menswear over the past decade including Engineered Garments and Gitman Bros.  An excellent tour of independent menswear.

3. Eminently Suitable and True Style: The History and Principles of Classic Menswear

True Style, Boyer’s superb tome from 1990, flows from American economist Thorstein Veblen’s and English philosopher Herbert Spencer’s treatment of style at the turn of the 20th Century all the way through American and European designers of the 1980s. Dated in spots (Raleighs, “the capital’s department store of menswear,” which used to reside at 1133 Connecticut Ave. NW, closed in the early 1990s) — it’s still a great read. True Style, his latest, is a collection of reflections about menswear, through which his trademark appreciation of history continues to flow.

[Get $25 off a custom suit from this amazing NYC online tailor.]

4. ABC of Men’s Fashion

Sir Hardy famously quipped that, “A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.”

5. The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit

Not your typical guide to custom suiting, J.J. Lee weaves a history of the suit into a story about what it means to be a man that is at turns raw, sad and hopeful. It is “a heartbreaking page-turner about a family, an abusive father, and men’s fashion,” according to a Jury Citation for Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, which observes, “Who could have thought these themes could work together?”

6. Sharp Suits

While oversized coffee-table books are often more for show than for reading, Musgrave blends a stunning pictorial history of men’s fashion with eight engaging narratives that trace the history of the suit and how men have adapted it throughout the years.

[From Black Lapel to Ledbury to Proper Cloth, check out our recommendations for dressing sharp in the digital age.]

7. Le Snob: Tailoring

Crompton’s slim volume hits many of the same notes as other guides to men’s style, starting from very basic concepts such as the differences between bespoke, made-to-measure and off the rack suiting. Tailoring stands out through a series of “words from the wise” — vignettes featuring English entrepreneurs like Patrick Murphy, the Head Cutter at Huntsman UK, and Michael Drake, the founder of Drake’s UK.

8. Esquire Fashion Guide For All Occasions

Esquire’s 1957 guide is a reminder that much has changed in the world of menswear and yet much remains the same.

9. The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style

The author’s faux-haughty style can wear at times, but The Suit contains some useful knowledge and witty commentary.

10. (Tie)

Dress Like a Man: A Style Guide for Practical Men Wanting to Improve Their Professional Personal Appearance

Effortless Outfits: The Men’s Guide to Matching Clothes for Powerful Impression in Personal and Professional Life

Antonio Centeno (“Dress Like a Man”) and Rob van Tongeren (“Effortless Outfits”) are two well-respected bloggers who have Kindle books out on Amazon. Each, in his own way, produces a guide to help men feel more confident in the clothes they buy and in laying out outfits from their closets. Both authors also offer a free look inside their books on Amazon, so you can start reading before you decide whether it’s worth plunking down some money.

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