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Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion Hardcover – October 1, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During the past 25 years, men have spent more money on clothing for themselves than in any other period of modern history, says Alan Flusser (Style and the Man). The time has "never been more propitious for the emergence of a standing army of well-heeled swells," he believes, and in Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion, he takes readers on a tour of men's clothing that he attests will never go out of style. Flusser carefully explains how to mix patterns, what to look for when trying on clothes in the fitting room, what kind of jacket to wear with a straight-point collar, the history of the monk-strap shoe, the correct position for a bow tie and what "business casual" really means. Heavily illustrated with photographs of dapper dans from Humphrey Bogart to the Duke of Windsor and drawings depicting neckwear, suit jackets, coat sleeves and trouser creases, this is a superb reference for any man.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“A Hoyle’s, a Fowler’s, a Webster’s, a Baedeker’s, a Machiavelli’s, a von Clausewitz’s guide to men’s dress.” (Tom Wolfe)

“If it’s male elegance and sophistication you aspire to, DRESSING THE MAN will suit you perfectly.” (Art Cooper, Editor in Chief, GQ)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060191449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060191443
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is Mr. Flusser's best effort to date. This book is more akin to his "Clothes and the Man" than to his more recent "Style and the Man." Beware, that this book deals almost exclusively with suits, ties, shirts, and formal wear - there is a section on sportcoats but, this book will not be informative or helpful if you always dress casually.
The book has some passages (maybe illustrations as well?) that are very similar to "Clothes and the Man" but still, there is plenty of new material. The book goes into detail regarding clothing coloring with respect to a person's complexion and also how to mix and match various fabric patterns (e.g., stripes with stripes, checks with checks, checks with stripes, etc.) The book is also very nicely illustrated with photographs and drawings. A very impressive book and quite comprehensive.
Though it would appear that Mr. Flusser has changed his opinion on some matters over the years (e.g., monograms), still the book and Mr. Flusser take a stand for traditionally styled clothing. This book is NOT for the trendy and NOT for those seeking to learn about modern fashion - it is about style, and conservative, traditional style at that. It's about the rules for why clothing should be the way it is - it explains the history of why mens' garments have developed in the way they have and accordingly sets forth the rule for their proper wear based on their history and origin (e.g., why dinner jackets should have peaked lapels, not notched; why formal wear trousers are NOT cuffed, why suit trousers are cuffed; the symmetry and proper fitting of suits, shirts, and trousers, etc.)
With respect to suits and formal wear, this is, in my humble opinion, the best book out there.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading other reviews of this book, I requested it for the 2006 holidays and received it. I have read it cover to cover and am highly pleased overall. I offer the following plusses and minuses:

+ There are many photographs and illustrations showing proper fit, proportion, and style. Many of the photos are black and white, though this follows from the icons in them being from the first half of the 20th century - Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, The Duke of Windsor, and so on. There are recent color photographs also, including an excellent series on matching wardrobe color to different complexions.

+ This book points out many of the often mishandled details in menswear. Tailors at even good stores routinely hem a suit coat sleeve to the first thumb knuckle and leave the coat hanging halfway to your knees. The salesmen will recommend coats that bunch at the neck, and will steer anyone under 5 feet 8 inches away from double-breasted coats. This book shows that these faux pas are not merely blemishes but true style defects, yet easily repaired ones: show 1/2 inch of shirt cuff; hem your coat to be half your suit's visual height; find a proper fitting coat; and wear double-breasted if it fits well.

- Mr. Flusser, the author, never hesitates to state with a flourish that which can be stated neatly. Rather than say, to paraphrase, "A shirt with a white contrasting collar should have French cuffs, optionally also in contrasting white; button cuffs are not dressy enough," he uses twice the verbiage painting images of star-crossed sartorial lovers. It's a minor nuisance.

- It is occasionally difficult to decipher the men's clothing history lesson from the modern men's clothing advice. This is especially difficult in the sport coat chapter.
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Format: Hardcover
When it comes to fashion, most men get nervous. Of course everybody wants to look nice, but isn't it complicated to know how to look good?
That's where I found this book to be especially helpful. Flusser's main point is that most of the elements of good style haven't really changed much at all in the last 75 years or so. Flusser asserts that the main goal of men's attire is to frame the body in order to display the man's face.
A great aspect about the book is that you only need to remember the "rules" for your specific skin tone/height/proportions. For instance, a man with gray/silver hair should wear silver/gray in his attire to properly frame his face, etc. Flusser also is very clear about how clothes should properly fit you, which is helpful when you are trying things on.
The illustrations and photographs (both new and classic) are remarkably well done and effectively portray Flusser's points (both good and bad examples). Other reviews here have pointed out some of the "doctoring" of the photos in some instances. I do see evidence of this, but I do not think it is really a substantive beef of the book.
Flusser's book certainly has some shortcomings. It mainly focuses on the men's suit and typical business dress. Although it does have a chapter on more casual dress (and the formal tuxedo), it is a small part of the book.
This is a great book for the man who wants to look nice. It covers a lot of details, from tying a tie properly to folding a handkerchief to wearing a tie clip. It's probably not for you if you wear jeans to work every day and only wear a suit two times a year.
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