Russell Smith’s Men’s Style : A Book Review

Fashion-related writers frequently have great prose. Russell Smith, the author of Men’s Style: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Dress, can attest to this. His book is jam-packed with amusing and insightful passages, changes of phrase, and stories, but he never comes off as trying too hard. It’s more difficult said than done, but he manages to write in plain English while explaining the intricacies of fine dress.

Any style manual has one flaw: style is fundamentally a matter of personal preference, and as you gain experience, the standards become more arbitrary. Russell does not dispute this, yet he is steadfast in his beliefs. Even though I disagreed with the majority of the author’s recommendations and prohibitions, I myself would much rather read a book like this than one that is rife with wishy-washy relativism (“Leisure suits are not my thing, but wear them if you want to. How beneficial is that?).

Since “it is useful to know the rules, particularly if you are new to this whole game and don’t trust your own taste,” guidelines of style are intended to make dressing less confusing. Although he isn’t attractive (he isn’t), Fred Astaire may be able to pull off an outfit that would make you or I look like a dressed-up ape because he is a pro. He is able to break the laws because he is familiar with them and their weaknesses.

The book serves as a solid primer on men’s fashion, particularly traditional and semi-formal style. It demonstrates how dressing well may make you feel attractive and hip. It demonstrates how to dress for various events. Additionally, reading it is enjoyable. However, you might want something more practical and technical if you’re searching for guidance on, say, how to choose the ideal color shirt for your skin tone or how to dress for your body type.

The book’s generous margins make it possible for sidebars, images, and quotes to frame each page. A chapter regarding casual wear includes a man dressed in a paisley leisure suit with a gold chain, which is a nice addition and helps explain the author’s argument. The pictures are by the excellently named Edwin Fotheringham. “Casual dress is probably the modern male’s weakest point,” the caption reads. made my point.

This is a fantastic gift for a man who enjoys fashion, or at the very least enjoys having sex. He’ll still find it fascinating if he wants to sleep with men. Consider giving this book to your spouse, brother, or friend as an introduction to style if they are a terrible dresser. To emphasize how significant good style can be, I’ve combined this book with a vintage picture book featuring Fred Astaire or Carey Grant.

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