Style has the misfortune of being too easily dismissed. Out of all the things we allow ourselves every day – whether it be good food, television, scrolling through streams of images and people on our phones, the predominant culture seems most comfortable dismissing clothing and the art of making it as vapid or narcissistic. This may come as result of the fact that trends in fashion are so evanescent, here one day gone tomorrow, or it very well could be an unfortunate but accurate reflection on cultural values.
But we all know how wrongheaded this way of looking at the world is. Clothing is an artform, and finding your own style a hallmark of coming into your own. Whether you feel you’ve done this – found your own style and have a wardrobe you are proud of – or are just beginning down this journey, our collection of the 15 best books on men’s fashion is sure to be helpful. Whether to inspire, show off on your coffee table, or to just enjoy while kicking back and smoking a cigar.
Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style
Americans have a bit of a thing for fetishizing the cultural products or styles of other groups of people. Whether it be westernized Chinese food, or a Native American headdresses and Bindis, we consume it all like appropriative hungry hungry hippos. Well, it goes the other way too. Ametora is a book that explores how Japanese brands have adopted, re-thought, and improved upon American staples such as denim jeans and classic tops.
Icons of Men’s Style
When people call a piece of menswear ‘classic’, these are the guys you picture wearing them. This book takes the reader through a journey of great men’s essentials and the guys through history that wore them best.
100 Years of Menswear
It is near impossible to get a really thorough overview of all that happens in style in a century, but this book gives it a shot. Each decade contains archival photos of the fashion that inhabited and shaped it, and those that made it look great.
Scott Schuman is a pioneer in the fashion blogging space. After leaving the fashion industry to take care of his daughter, he began carrying a camera with him wherever he went and just snapping shots of folks on the street in an attempt to capture them in a way he knew that would inspire designers and buyers alike. This book, his first, consists of his favorite photos from the first years of his blog.
Alone In A Crowd: More Men In This Town
Clearly inspired by Schuman, Gieuseppe Santamaria takes a similar albeit more self aware approach to shooting fashion in the streets. His book of photos, a follow up to his first, aims its focus on more seasonal and pattern-based outfits.
F**k Ivy And Everything Else
Author and designer Mark McNairy takes aim at rules written and unwritten in short, pithy paragraphs that are paired up with images for illustration. It’s angry, it’s smart, and well put together – a fun read for any fan of menswear.
Men and Style: Essays, Interviews, and Considerations
David Coggins’ book has received a lot of press this year, and deservedly so. It’s a look at more than just fashion or a recitation of the rules of style – it is a real examination of how someone understands their own style and builds it out. By extension, the book reports on the varied ways that masculine identity expresses itself in clothing.
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Alexander McQueen wasn’t a menswear designer per say, but he was a man in the world of fashion, and an incredibly influential one at that. This book, released alongside his exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a retrospective of the McQueen’s all too short career. It examines everything from his earliest work in London to the work he produced right before his death, and reflects on how he challenged the conventions of his field.
The Vintage Showroom: An Archive of Menswear
An ideal book for those looking for inspiration in new and different places. This title is filled with fantastic photographs of classic items of clothing ranging from aviation and motorsports, tailoring and dress uniforms, utility clothing and denim, and sportswear and weatherwear.
Military Style Invades Fashion
The bomber, the trench coat, pretty much every Gore-Tex ‘tech’ jacket you see on young dudes in the city – they all have their roots in the military in one way or another. This book by Timothy Godbold and published by Phaidon looks back at these origins and bridges the gap between G.I. and runway ready.
Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion
A best seller focused on illustrating the differences between fashion vs. style and how men can use fundamentals to guide them through any fad unscathed. While this book was released nearly 15 years ago today, it remains a stalwart in large part due to its understanding of this distinction. In addition to being filled with great old photographs and images, the writing is sharp and precise.
Fashion publications like Vogue Hommes, GQ, and even streetwear magazines like Highsnobiety all find some place in their pages for illustrations of menswear and mens fashion. While these sketches primarily concern themselves with the items of clothing and what they communicate or what makes them unique, they themselves are worthy of the spotlight. Or so thinks Richard Kilroy, who put this book together that features the work and thoughts of some of the best illustrators out there.
The Carhartt WIP Archives
Carhartt, as we all know, didn’t start out the streetwear staple that it is today. Far from it, it was (and largely still is) worn by blue collar men who worked in mines, toiled on train tracks, and pulled black gold from oil fields. This title from Rizzoli traces this unlikely evolution of with a collection of text and more than 350 images – some previously unreleased.
Best of British: The Stories Behind Britain’s Iconic Brands
One thing you can’t argue is that European companies have a whole lot more story behind them relative to their young American counterparts. This book takes a tasteful look into the histories of some of the most iconic British brands out there.
Blue Blooded: Denim Hunters and Jeans Culture
This is for the denim heads out there. This title from Gestalten looks at the progression of denim from a miner’s necessity, to a niche but vibrant industry of today – all while providing helpful tips like how to wash your jeans, what to look for in your selvedge id, and many other things.