Dressing the Man
Alan Flusser's classic book on men's tailored clothing is a great introduction to dressing well
Since it’s the Christmas season, here is a gift idea for the man in your life, your son - or yourself. It’s Alan Flusser’s classic book on men’s tailored clothing Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion.
Let’s face it: most men don’t wear suits all that much these days. However, many men still own a suit, and still have to wear one on occasion - for weddings, funerals, more formal dinner events, etc.
Knowledge of suits and traditional business attire is something every man should have, but almost none do. Most men have no idea how a suit is supposed to fit, for example.
The recent popularity of X accounts like O. W. Root and Torsten sending out pictures and commentary about men in traditional tailored clothing attests that even for those who dress casually, suits still have an appeal.
But while you can get style ideas from tweets, you don’t get a real basic education in dressing well. That’s what Flusser gives you in Dressing the Man. Some of what you will learn in it includes:
How to pick colors that go well with your own complexion.
How a suit should fit. For example: how long should the jacket be? Rule of thumb, as it were: it should end at the knuckle in your thumb when your arms are hanging at your side.
How to match patterns. For example: when combining two similar patterns like checks, vary the scale. When combining two different patterns, match the scale.
A guide to the various types of dress shoes.
I’m sure there are people who’d criticize some aspects of the book, but in terms of an introduction that gives you a foundation in understanding men’s classic tailored attire, it’s the best I know.
Dressing the Man would make a great gift or a great pickup for yourself.
If you are interested in going deeper on men’s clothing, a couple of forums I used to visit were Ask Andy About Clothes and Styleforum. I haven’t read them in a long time, but they appear to still be active and had great information back in the day. Ask Andy is very focused on traditional tailored clothing. Styleforum also has a lot of info on streetwear, denim, etc.
Interestingly, Michael Anton of Claremont Institute fame was previously a denizen of Ask Andy, and wrote his own book on suits called The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men's Style under the pen name “Nicholas Antongiavanni.” (His username was “manton”). So was Scott Schuman, the photographer behind the bigname Sartorialist blog, who often posted picture threads on Ask Andy in his early days (His username was “SchumanNYC”). Schuman lived on my dorm floor freshman year, although we were never friends.
These resources should get you well on your way to understanding how to buy and wear a suit, whether that be just a basic intro or the full deep dive experience.
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