I’ve found there are very few complete resources for a man wanting to build on his style, even with the explosion in media. (Or maybe because of it?) I’m thinking of the early Playboy and Loaded magazines here (minus the gratuitous T&A.) As it pertains to fashion specifically, a good jumping off point is Sir Hardy Amies, “ABC of Men’s Fashion.” In his introduction Ian Garlant writes of Amies being asked by a reporter:
“What do you think is your greatest achievement?”
“Hardy Amies of course,” was the irritated reply.
“…Do you mean the House or the Company?” asked the journalist.
“Neither you idiot…I mean ME!”
What a man wears, what he reads, what he listens to, his appreciation of film, art, travel, food and drink, in short his aesthetic values, these parts put together help form a picture, blurry at the edges maybe, always evolving, of who he is. How he sees himself and how he’d hope others might see him.
I look for a certain timelessness and find most trends to be ugly and garish. I look to my standard bearers; each can make their own list. I look to Steve McQueen, Robert Culp, Paul Smith, among others. I don’t claim to have a scintilla of the style this list brings to mind. This is a pattern, a guide to follow. Lists like this are useful. They provide a quick snapshot.
Let’s not forget Sturgeon’s Law though that, “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” For every beautiful thing there are ten ugly that more than counterbalance. War all the time then.