There’s nothing like a good book for sartorial inspiration. Whether it’s a bulky style compendium or a designer memoir, there’s something about sitting down and flicking through a book on the topic of fashion that gets the creative cogs in every man’s mind turning (not to mention online shopping baskets filling up).
Here at Ape, we’ve put together a selection of our favourite men’s style and fashion books covering advice, biography, inspiration and considerations. A perfect selection to help you nail the details, develop your knowledge and inspire your next outfit.
ABC of Men’s Fashion
By Hardy Amies
Do you know your Angolan Yarn from your Sea Island Cotton? A Box Jacket from a Motoring Coat? Regardless, you need a copy of Hardy Amies’ seminal menswear directory on your coffee table. Part informer, part advisor, Amies’ small but all-encompassing book covers the entire men’s style spectrum with grace and humour. “Even if your business is disreputable,” Hardy says, “you ought to look business-like.”
Men and Manners: Essays, Advice and Considerations
By David Coggins
Many will point to Coggins’ popular collection of essays and advice, Men and Style, as a must-read (which it is), but there’s something about his most recent compendium of social graces and etiquette that feels so vital in this day and age.
Men and Manners is a timely reminder that style is so much more than what you wear. It’s about the importance of how you carry yourself, how you interact, how you make the lives of those around you a little easier and how you respond to unfortunate circumstances. It’s no coincidence that polite men who dress better on planes get the upgrade.
Military Style Invades Fashion
By Timothy Godbold
A beautiful book in its own right, Godbold’s military fashion tome is full of insight into the well- and little-known influences that have resulted from war’s close association with clothing. Organised into chapters based upon topics such as ceremony, campaign and legionnaire, Military Style Invades Fashion tells the story of modern wardrobe essentials with the help of stunning photography.
Warning: whether parka, pea or trench – you’ll want to invest in a coat after reading.
House of Nutter: The Rebel of Savile Row
By Lance Richardson
There’s plenty of fantastic Savile Row biographies out there (Richard Anderson especially) but we’ve opted for Lance Richardson’s book for Tommy Nutter’s sheer rebelliousness and impact. The first shop to hit the row in more than a century when first opened, Nutter did away with convention, creating iconic styles while sticking to his own rebellious identity.
Clothes aside, Nutter’s story is a rollercoaster ride, tinged with notoriety, triumph and sadness.
True Style: The History and Principles of Classic Menswear
By G. Bruce Boyer
Former fashion editor at both (American) GQ and Esquire, G. Bruce Boyer is an authority on menswear, having written a wealth of books and magazine articles on classic style. His primer on the daily ritual of dressing and the history and evolution our choices are based on is an intelligent, warm and entertaining read with that all important pinch of personality.
At the heart of Boyer’s writing is the principle of “If you like it, wear it”, but that’s not to say it’s open season on dressing. An awareness of what the clothing you wear represents is also a crucial consideration at the forefront of True Style.
Permanent Style: The Style Guide
By Simon Crompton & Jamie Ferguson
A stalwart of the menswear blogging scene, Simon Crompton has made a name for himself as an eagle-eyed curator of high-quality British and Italian style. Crompton’s book, which coincides with the aforementioned blog, is a collection of street style shots that sit alongside snippets of the blog’s trademark concise, intelligent and rich analysis.
It’s a welcome change to the familiar street style formula as cut, colour and texture are all discussed, offering a wealth of inspiration but also a smart and welcome brief on why each works.
Dressing The Man: Mastering The Art of Permanent Fashion
By Alan Flusser
Most literature surrounding menswear and style has a distinct rules and etiquette feel to it and a book central to this is Alan Flusser’s Dressing The Man. A monolithic book of sartorial guidance, the tome was originally a response to a generation of men in the early 2000’s that spent more money on clothes than ever before, but remained badly dressed.
Flusser, one of the world’s most prominent authors on classic menswear, is well known for designing the wardrobe of Gordon Gekko in the original Wall Street and his central pillars of colour and fit are bulletproof.
By Scott Schuman
Schuman’s ability to capture individuals with their own personal style and eye for unique detail is unrivalled. You could walk for days on the streets of London, New York and Florence and miss the unique individualism that Schuman seems to so easily stumble upon.
Years on from his first collection of street style portraits, the book itself remains a timeless piece of style inspiration, perfect for dipping in and out of for splashes of inspiration. Plenty of portraits stick out, but It’s difficult to forget the Danish gentleman sporting a $6 lab coat – died green and worn as if it were a piece from A.P.C. This is street style at its finest.
The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads
By Robert Elms
No list of fashion books is complete without a dive into fashion subculture, and The Way We Wore is as good as any for a personal account of identity and the meaning of clothes. Former The Face and NME columnist Elms puts forward not just a memoir, but a hybrid encyclopaedic history of fashion trends entangled with his on experiences of growing up in the worlds of music and entertainment.
As Elms himself puts it, when referring to his shortcoming as a fighter and footballer, “The only thing I was good at was trousers.”