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Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion Hardcover – February, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: h. f. ullmann; 1 edition (February 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0841601623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0841601628
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is widely regarded as something of a classic - and for good reason. It has been translated into no less than 17 languages. Of all books on the subject it is the most encyclopaedic in thoroughly covering everything from shaving, to suits, to sportswear, knitwear, dressing gowns and much more. The whole book is crammed with succinctly presented information from start to finish that it becomes a perfect reference book to keep on the shelf.

For many people the question will be whether to choose this or Allan Flusser's 'Dressing the Man'. The answer is really that they serve different purposes. If you quickly want to know how to look your best for a job interview in a suit then go for Flusser, as his book best explains suits in greater detail, and better still, tells you how to coordinate it with the shirt and tie. Roetzel tends to be more segmented and tells you less about how to coordinate the different items.

However, Roetzel great strength is that he has countless little tips jam-packed into his book that Flusser never touches on. One point at which Roetzel thoroughly surpasses Flusser is in his section on shoes, which is by far and away superior. The plethora of full colour photographs of different shoe types and on what occassion they should be worn has superior clarity to the brief and poorly illustrated overview dealt the topic by Flusser. Other places that Roetzel surpasses Flusser is his discussion on items such as sport coats, overcoats, socks, as well as with extremely useful tips such as how to fold a suit jacket when travelling, and even the best way to iron a shirt.

One point worth mentioning is that the book is orientated towards an English ideal of what a 'gentleman' is.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bernhard Roetzel's "Gentleman" is one of two definitive works on classic style for men. The other book is Flusser's "Dressing the Man." While Flusser's work is primarily concerned with developing a classic style for business dress, Roetzel's "Gentleman" is about creating a classic, elegant life style. Following Mr. Retzel's philosophy, style is not something we do for others. The pursuit of style is for one's own personal satisfaction. Therefore, Mr. Roetzel focuses on an understated, conservative elegance, with an acknowledgment of the importance of details, even if no one else notices. Roetzel's book focuses on mens fashion, with a bias toward tailored English clothing, but he goes beyond business clothing, to address casual, sport, and home style. In addition to the obligatory chapters on suits, shoes, and casual dress, there are sections on grooming and fragrance, hairstyles, wristwatches, and how to enjoy an elegant, relaxing breakfast at home. This book is a treatise on gracious living, and he introduces his readers to many of the small luxuries which no one should miss out on: the experience of a traditional shave from a good English barber; a pair of shell cordovan shoes; a bespoke suit; a comfortable and beautiful dressing robe. His philosophy is best exemplified by the section on eating breakfast, where he exhorts one to begin the day with a leisurely elegant ritual including "perfectly toasted bread." Personally, I barely ever eat breakfast, but the call to slow down and take the time to enjoy life's small pleasures resounds loudly none the less.
The book is not perfect, and Mr. Roetzel has some rather quaint and outdated ideas (such as the kind of clothes worn by students at Ivy League universities.) Overall, however, the book is an excellent roadmap for those who wish to live a cut above the norm in this too-fast, hyper-casual, overly-efficient, mass-produced, machine-made, often-shoddy world.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is what the Chic Simple book on men's clothing aspires to be. It contains a veritable treasure trove of instructive pictures and good information about just about every aspect of men's clothing and men's style. The text is generally well-written, and I found the book to be utterly engrossing. Although it will not be particularly helpful as a practical reference for the vast majority of readers who cannot have suits and shirts custom-made, a number of the points it makes about clothing quality and style should be read by anyone buying a suit, even if he can only afford a $400 one.
Good as this book is, it is not without some shortcomings. First of all, the author has a decidedly British outlook. Italian and American tailors and shirtmakers get short shrift, the Americans disturbingly so. There is more to American fine clothing than Brooks Brothers (Robert Talbott, Oxxford Clothes, and Hickey-Freeman can hold their own with anything off the rack from Britain, to say nothing of American custom makers such as Alexander Kabbaz), but you wouldn't know it from reading this book. Given that the author is German, it really isn't that surprising that he's Anglocentric in his clothing ideas, but he could at least acknowledge that the United States does have something to offer. Secondly, there are times (especially in his description of the shoe-making process) when the author's prose becomes muddled and hard to understand. This may be because of the inherent arcanity of the subject, but it still is unfortunate.
All in all, however, this is an excellent book. While it does not eclipse Alan Flusser's books, it is their equal is many respects and their superior in many more. Despite whatever minor shortcomings it may have, I recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone who has any interest in men's clothing whatsoever.
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