Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Review: Sharp Suits

I spent a lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon flipping through Sharp Suits, wherein the author, Eric Musgrave, examines the history and evolution of the modern suit and the men who inspired that evolution, from King Edward VII to Elvis, the King of Rock.

I especially appreciated the sentiment expressed by Prince Albert in one quotation from the book:

The appearance, deportment and dress of a gentleman consist perhaps more in the absence of certain offences against good taste, and in careful avoidance of vulgarities and exaggerations of any kind, however generally they may be the fashion of the day, than in the adherence to any rules which can be exactly laid down ...  In dress, with scrupulous attention to neatness and good taste, he will never give in to the unfortunately loose and slang style which predominates at the present day.  He will borrow nothing from the fashion of the groom or the gamekeeper, and whilst avoiding the frivolity and foolish vanity of dandyism, will take care that his clothes are of the best quality, well-made, and suitable to his rank and position.

In my opinion, the plentiful photographs are the best attribute of Sharp Suits.  Unfortunately, many of those photographs are of men on the runway or on the musical stage who are wearing the trendy dress that Prince Albert warns against.  I wish there were more photographs of men wearing traditional conservative suits.  Nevertheless, the book provides enough such photographs to make it worthy of perusal for sartorial inspiration.

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