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Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men--And the Women Who Love Them Hardcover – September 23, 2004

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kressley, the stylist from Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, lays down fashion rules for men in this thorough—and thoroughly entertaining—style guide. He sets the tone in his genuine, lively introduction, as he discusses growing up gay in Allentown, Pa. "I'm here, I'm queer, and I can help you," he says, continuing, "I was going to rescue abused teacup yorkies, but then I realized there weren't any, so straight men it is!" Telling readers to consider him their "very own fashion fairy godstylist," Kressley covers the wardrobe, from hats to shoes and from overcoat to underwear. He clearly explains his fashion logic and firmly asserts his hobbyhorse irks ("I'm on a mission to eradicate pleated pants in America.... [They] give more room for ugly lumps and bulges, and there's only one bulge we want to see"). Kressley's irreverent though encouraging personality translates nicely to the page (although his "people" refrain—as in "step away from the flannel, people"—wears a bit thin), and is a welcome reprieve from many of the stuffy men's fashion guides in bookstores. Topping his list on what a good pair of jeans can do for you? "They should get you laid. Oh, come on. Stop pretending to be shocked."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

A standout member of the Fab Five on the hit television series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Carson Kressley is also a fashion expert for Us magazine and an independent stylist. He received his first couture garment as a child and began developing his fashion sense on the playground. Since those auspicious beginnings, he has earned degrees in Finance and Fine Art from Gettysburg College (where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), and is also a nationally ranked equestrian.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (September 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525948368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525948360
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy watching and learning from Carson Kressley and the other members of the Fab 5 on QEFTSG and the group's book was very well done. So, at first I wondered if I should buy this book because I was wondering if the same information from the Fab 5 book will be the same on "Off the Cuff".

I found "Off the Cuff" to be a very enjoyable read with a lot of humor and also learning more about fashion than I have received from other men's fashion books. Kressley does a great job of explaining why and why not with articles of clothing and things I really didn't know about until I read this book. I was really impressed! From the shoes and the explanations of certain shoes and clothing was very much appreciated!

I am stoked that he also spoke out against toe socks that to my chagrin CARGO magazine said was "in"....NOT!

Anyway, I'm a straight man who appreciates the advice that Carson gives. One thing he makes sure that this book is not to dress like him, but for you to take the tools mentioned in his book and integrate what you learn for your personal life.

"Off the Cuff" is an enjoyable read and currently ranks in my top 3 of books that deal with style for men. You won't be disappointed!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Borton on October 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I don't know what more you can say about a fashion book that would actually enthrall my 13 year-old son -- the one who hates to comb his hair, would wear the same soccer T-shirts indefinitely if not for parental intervention, and summarily disdains anything vaguely resembling "dress clothes" -- than that it is straw spun to pure gold. Who knew fashion could be funny?

With lively wit, loving admonitions, and plain good sense, Carson entertains and educates at once. All instructors should be so successful. Off the Cuff has become a family routine. We've resorted to reading passages aloud to one another across the living room. Family values!

And make no mistake, my son is not only willing to dress better himself, he's even reminding his dad to ditch the pleats.
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on September 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've reviewed Alan Flusser. Alan Flusser is a daily part of how I think about what I wear. And Carson Kressley, you're not quite Alan Flusser.

Which isn't to say this is a bad book as far as it goes. The author has a lot of very good insights into what works and what doesn't in men's wear. While I don't imagine many of the men who could most use this book are at all anxious to be seen reading it, I hope at least the women in their lives will take the subtitle to heart, read this book themselves, and exercise their subtle influence on their men. There are a lot of very good insights in here, and things nearly all men -- and most especially younger men -- can learn with profit.

That said, I'm not sure Carson Kressley put enough stress on the essential point, the key understanding, the very nub so to speak of men's style, which is that the phrase "men's fashion" is an oxymoron. I was reading the other day about Lapo Elkann, grandson of Gianni Agnelli and a marketing chief at Fiat. He inherited a couple dozen of his grandfather's suits, some made a half-century or more ago, wears them daily, and looks great and entirely in-style in them. For men, the subtleties of dressing well lie in fit, construction, and timeless style. The author rightly gives us his Number One rule, "Disregard trends." Things that fade in and out with fashion -- like the abomination of "truckers' caps," which Kressley rightly abhors (except on truck drivers and Ashton Kutcher) -- should be avoided like, well, like Ashton Kutcher. But I wish he'd put more emphasis on that. More Cary Grant, in other words, and less, um, Ashton Kutcher.

And finally, I know it's part of his shtick, but I could have done with a little less of the "hey, did you know I'm gay (giggle, giggle)?" asides.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Crystal B. Leiderman on October 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book as a gift for my husband, but he hasn't had a chance to see it yet. I started reading it when it arrived at my house and haven't put it down.

While the book is worth reading to get a dose of Carson hilarity, it also serves to provide meaningful style advice. What surprised me is that Carson does not advise all men to dress like he does. He wants them to be themselves - just a better dressed, more stylish version of themselves. Despite being part of a society where trends rule, Carson provides sound guidance for men to use in developing a wardrobe of classic, timeless pieces.

Written with a very personal touch, this book is a great guide for those men who have a less than stellar sense of style.

Only one problem... now I want him to write one for women!
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Racho on November 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, I did NOT want to give this book 5 stars... but it does deserve more than 4 stars in my book. In a scale of 1-100, I'd rate this book 85 to 90... probably closer to (or slightly above) 90.

I didn't want to give the book a full 100 (or a full 5 stars -- though those are the only choices gives me) because there are some aspects of the book that I didn't like... no... let me rephrase that... there are some aspects of the book that I think could be improved:

PICTURES, or lack thereof. The only pictures are those that are at the start of SOME chapters. Don't get me wrong: there are LOTS of illustrations/drawings--in color, too. But it would still be nice to see pictures of THE REAL THING(s), not just mere illustrations.

IRREVERENT. Actually, one big PLUS of this book is Carson's irreverence, but there was _a little bit_ too much. Yes, it's funny, but I think it's a bit overdone. It's kinda like I have the feeling that Carson put the book away for a while to get away from it, then came back en force to do the editing with a fresh "mind". But in the process, I think he went to almost every paragraph to inject some of that irreverence, that, for me as a reader, started to sound TIRED. There were even moments when the author would try to inject something that's funny to make the author sound smart and witty, which I'm sure Carson is. But on the whole, a bit overdone.

Not to mention that there was, indeed, too much of use of the word "people". It's not 1979, people. Are you listening, people? Not appealing, people.

But, after starting this review with some minor quibbles, let me say that THIS IS A GREAT BOOK. Carson wants you to find, nay, CREATE _your own_ style. "Do as Carson says, not as he does." But of course!
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