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Esquire The Handbook of Style: A Man's Guide to Looking Good Hardcover – January 6, 2009
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Unfortunately what weakens this edition from four to three stars is the omission of any color photos. One cannot properly compare dark brown and black shoes in a B&W photo. A page that purports to guide the reader in pairing shirts, trousers, and jackets is ineffectual as a grayscale reproduction. Fashion in our daily lives always exists in full color, and any book claiming to be a style guide should mirror this reality.
The publisher should correct this in future editions.
Are you old enough to know what the Preppy Handbook is? If so, this is an updated and less-snobbish version of the classic. In fact, this is the new Preppy Handbook, occasionally with a similar tongue-in-cheek approach. There are several other books in the market, but none are as easy to read as this. The focus is on men's clothes in general, not just suits and formal wear as in Alan Flusser's Dressing the Man. And though brands and specialty stores are mentioned, the emphasis is on how to distinguish well-made clothes, not just where to buy them.
Unlike other fashion books that will become outdated, this is one is not about trends, but really about style. You will pass this on to your sons in the future, so do them a favor and buy them one each. Give it the day they leave for college, or as an 18th birthday present.
If you read GQ or Esquire for their buying guides, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It would take years of subscribing to magazines to come up with all the info between the covers.
Overall, an entertaining, informative, and essential guide for any man who cares about the way he looks.
That said, it's not a very good resource for someone who already has a working knowledge of menswear and who wants more detailed information, and there are some other issues worth mentioning. There are no color photographs, which should be a priority when color is so important to many of the parts of a wardrobe. Illustrations and photos are used interchangeably, but a few of the illustrations would work better as photos.
Some important things are glossed over or skipped entirely. In the shoe chapter, there is virtually no information on shoe construction. There are many different ways to make and identify a good shoe (and a bad one), but you wouldn't know it from this book. There is a two-sentence definition of goodyear welts, and that's about it. For garments, there is almost no information about fabrics, fabric weights, weaves or patterns. You'll know lots of cute little trivia about what kind of collars wall street bankers like to wear, but like the shoe chapter, you'll be left ignorant about what defines a well-made shirt. There are five pages dedicated to watches, but the book is very light on substantive information.Read more ›
The focus is almost always on dressier clothing that white-collar professionals would wear to the office, as well as what to wear to the theater, restaurants, weekending, etc. We are repeatedly given the message that a modest amount of quality clothes chosen tastefully will serve us much better than a large number of cheap, trendy clothes. It's a message that many of us do need to hear over and over, because moderately-priced clothing stores often push cheaply manufactured knockoffs of current trends and leave us with the impression that unless we wear the very latest styles we look awful. The Esquire Handbook of Style takes a totally different approach, and shows not only how to determine quality in clothing before you buy, but also how versatile the basic building blocks of a man's wardrobe really are.
This is intended as a long-term reference book. Almost all the photos are of Golden Age Hollywood celebs such as Fred Astaire and Cary Grant. The binding, quality of paper, and the cover itself suggest that this is a book that you can use throughout your life. Indeed, it's so well-bound that you might mistake it for a vintage book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has great, practical advice for things that a man might not intuitively know (i.e. which buttons on a jacket to button, that a navy suit is more versatile than black, how... Read morePublished 29 days ago by Sarah Bales
All about suits,... The details one is far better for a modern man who doesn't suit it up every dayPublished 2 months ago by DarklyDreamingDexter
Great book for any man who cares about his appearance.
Great advice, excellent.
A great guide to steer a man in the right direction to develop or perfect a sense of style. Highly recommended.Published 3 months ago by JJT
This book is awesome! Thanks seller for a brand new productPublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer