There is a huge amount of history behind our wardrobes. In Icons of Men’s Style, style writer Josh Sims guides through the beginnings of the most classic menswear items. Including the famous, such as the Breton top, Lumberjack shirt and leather biker jacket, to the everyday, like boxer shorts and t-shirts, to the unexpected, such as Hawaiian shirts, fountain pens and luxury lighters. Sims tell us the stories of their design, the brands that championed them and the pop culture icons who wore them. Putting Duffle coats, Khakis and watches into perspective, Sims opens up a new way of looking at what we wear, highlighting how these items have shaped the way men -and women- dress today.
Seven chapters focus on the key items within outerwear, trousers, shoes, underwear, tailoring, shirts and sweaters, and accessories. The book is full of wonderful images showing menswear items in their original design, modern day versions and style and pop culture icons from the 20th century wearing them. I loved the original advertisements for Levi’s denim jackets and Lacoste polo shirts, and the editorial photography of Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Salvador Dali.
You really will learn things you didn’t know before with this book; it is the ‘what’s what’ and ‘who’s who’ of men’s fashion. I never knew that Nathan Clark first spotted the iconic desert boot while serving in World War 2 in Burma, on British soldiers who had the boot specially made for them in the Old Bazaar in Cairo. Who knew brogues were originally used by Irish and Scottish agricultural workers in the 16th Century, because the characteristic Brogueing perforations allowed the shoes to fully dry after being in boggy ground all day? Seeing desert boots and brogues on the feet of Florence Welch and Alexa Chung really emphasises the timeless appeal and versatility of these classic styles, and how they continue to be reinterpreted generation after generation.
Icons of Men’s Style is your go-to book for in-depth context and endless inspiration on men’s fashion. I loved it not only as a reference book and for its wonderful illustrations and photographs, but also for making me really think about where what I wear comes from. My Topshop parka coat began as a cold-weather issue garment during World War 2. My Converse trainers were once used for physical training in the army during World War 2. My grey American Apparel sweatshirt first found popularity during the 1920s, when sportswear entered the fashion sphere. Icons of Men’s Style perfectly balances substance and style, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
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