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Mar 13, 2011

Men's Style Books -- Your favorites and mine!

Greetings from Surf City, USA (Two girls for every boy!).  Yes, I'm back at the bagel shop/Wi-Fi hotspot, otherwise known as Home of the Golden Oldies.  

Home internet service remains an elusive dream and did I mention our ground line phone is out too?  I try to look on the bright side:  I can no longer troll eBay in search of more Ken dolls which is probably a good thing.

Readers, despite our being unarguably post-Guy Week, I wanted to focus on men one more day, and more specifically, to tell you about an excellent men' s style book I picked up recently that I recommend highly.

The book is Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion by German author Bernhard Roetzel and it's extraordinary.

Gentleman covers everything the well-dressed man needs to know, in both written and visual detail.  It's bursting with beautiful color photographs and the text is highly readable, despite being translated from German to English.

You'll find most everything here --

From shirts...

to shaving.

From shoes...

to sunglasses.

Even how to tie a bowtie!

To be clear, this book's definition of a gentleman is a traditional one, based on the classic English model.  There's nothing here about harem pants or leopard-print jeans and fans of skateboard style should look elsewhere.  But if you or someone you love aspires to classic style in the original Ken Doll/Sartorialist mode, you won't do better than this book.  There's even a fascinating section on Beckenstein's fabric store.

Another extraordinary thing about Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion is its price.  It's currently available on Amazon for just under $20 and if you want a second opinion (or third or fourth), just read the glowing reader reviews. 

I suppose you could call this a coffee table book -- it's heavy for sure -- but it's a truly serious guide to classic men's style and not just something to thumb through while you're waiting for the phone to ring or your Wi-Fi to kick in.  Bathroom readers please note: it will leave marks on your thighs in just a few minutes due to its considerable heft.  (It will also make you want to spend a week's pay on shoes.)

I don't endorse many things here on MPB, but this book is a keeper and would make a great gift.  More pics of Gentleman can be viewed in my Picasa file here.

Friends, if I said, Black is black; I want my baby back, would you know what I was talking about?  After about half an hour in this bagel place I feel like I am losing my mind -- and not the song, either, the real thing.

So I'm going to close now and ask about your favorite men's fashion and/or style books.  You don't even have to be a man to have an opinion.  Oh! -- I noticed there was a Men's Fashion of the Times supplement today and maybe we'll cover that weak tea later on this month.

Where does a man go for style advice?   Can you learn more from watching a Thin Man movie than you can from thumbing through the latest issue of GQ?  I think so.  Of course it depends on how you define style.

I must head home now and void my colon which is rather a gentlemanly way of putting it, don't you think?

Put on your Sunday clothes, and have a great day everybody!

Men's style/fashion book recommendations?


  1. How to Be a Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners by John Bridges is a favorite of obviously only covers dressing in how it is related to Etiquette but it was well worth what I paid for it at a yard sale. I also love Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion by Alan Flusser. There's another book, I think it is The Allure of Men but I can't be sure as I came across it in the library and ended up poking through the whole thing and then forgot the title.

  2. Peter-

    According to our morning paper(here on the West Coast), 'the perpetually smooth-chested, all American boy wonder Ken (ne Ken Carson) hit the big 5-0 on March 11th. They have a slide show (?) of Ken through the ages and stages at

    I saw this and thought of you! Enjoy!

    However, I guess this will necessitate another trip to the local bagel shop! Sorry :-(

    P.S. I like the plain bagels toasted with chream cheese and lox! Yummy!

  3. My favorite men's style book is this one about Cary Grant:
    The reason I like it (besides the wonderful photos of Grant from his youth as an acrobat through old age) is that this is a tremendous lesson in a guy literally from what passes for 'the sticks' in early 20th Century Britain, with no background to speak of, who literally reinvented himself several times over, all with the help of observation and the judicious choice of clothing. It's also heart warming to know that Cary Grant was very self-conscious about the size of his neck - and all the clever things he did with his clothing to hide it. No excuses for flip flops, khaki pants and golf shirts, boys.

  4. You might also enjoy: "Details - Men's Style Manual" by Daniel Peres, Editor of "Details" Magazine.

  5. Thanks for braving the elements at the Brooklyn Bagel Shop to bring us these blissfully irrelevant, charming and entertaining posts. Please drag Michael along. I'm missing him. There is waaaaay too much bad news right not, hooray for Ken at al!

  6. Irrelevant? Are you sure you didn't mean "irreverent?" LOL!

  7. It's a long story, but I started pursuing this very question a month ago. I found Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. It's long and authoritarian and 88% about formal / business dress. He writes wonderfully with good wit. It gave me a good start.


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