Fans of menswear in its printed form, rejoice. We’ve painstakingly plowed through a local library’s worth of hardbacks and paperbacks in the selfless pursuit of creating the ultimate reading list of menswear books. Yes, we’ve given ourselves more papercuts than any man should have to endure, but these titles are stuffed with all the style rules, outfit inspiration and coffee table kudos any stylish gent could want.
(Related: 50 Books Every Man Should Read)
Savile Row: The Master Tailors Of British Bespoke
Before you drop three months’ rent on a suit, it makes sense to know how yours measures up against the competition. This title explores London’s most esteemed sartorial neighbourhood, charting the highs and history of the spiritual home of classic tailoring.
Buy Now: £29.95
Men Of Style
Style didn’t begin with the likes of Gandy and Gosling – they merely carry the torch that other dedicated followers of fashion set alight, all seen here in the aptly named archive of fashion’s finest fellas. A series of profiles chart how (and more importantly, why) such style icons have earned their stripes and reveal how you can get some of their signature swag.
Buy Now: £16.85
Never judge a book by its cover, unless that cover has the words “Sharp Suits” printed on it, because that’s exactly what Eric Musgrave’s excellent coffee table book offers up. The knowledge-stuffed handbook covers all the cultural and technical history of man’s sartorial best friend, along with the style icons who have helped elevate the suit to its status as the golden boy of the menswear world.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike
It’s almost unfathomable that one man (who, to the best of our knowledge, made no deal with the devil) started Nike. Even more unbelievable is that he did so with just $50. That’s the story of Phil Knight as told in this candid memoir by the man behind the swoosh.
Buy Now: $20.74
100 Years Of Menswear
A lot has changed in menswear over the last century (for starters, we no longer wear knickerbockers, whatever those were). 100 Years of Menswear charts the journey of the male wardrobe – from how tailoring evolved to the huge steps in footwear, no item of clothing or style icon is left undocumented.
I Am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman
While Pitti peacocks may divide opinion, their influence on menswear can’t be doubted – something that’s well mapped out in I Am Dandy: The Return Of The Elegant Gentleman. The result of years of work by photographer Rose Callahan and writer Nathaniel Adams, this visually impressive book explores the resurgence of sartorial lavishness, with more than a few statement looks to steal along the way.
Buy Now: £26.95
Dressing In The Dark: Lessons In Men’s Style From The Movies
Not a round-up of poorly dressed men, Dressing In The Dark gleans invaluable style lessons from the silver screen. More Goodfellas than Gandalf, there’s a whole host of looks that have aged just as well as the films they appear in.
Criminally, the art of illustrating men’s fashion doesn’t get the same level of kudos as it does in the world of womenswear. Righting this wrong, Menswear Illustration brings together 40 creative talents who have all given contemporary men’s fashion drawing a new lease of life.
Buy Now: £14.09
ABC Of Men’s Fashion
Granted, even advice from a knighted, Savile Row pedigree designer can date, so some of Hardy Amies’ advice is to be taken with a pinch of salt. But on the whole ABC of Men’s Fashion is jam-packed full of hard and fast rules that are still right-on-the-money, despite being published over half a century ago.
Buy Now: £9.99
You could spend a lifetime trying to mimic the menswear mastery of Tom Ford, or you could take a shortcut and read his self-titled book. The tasteful tome documents the iconic designer’s work for big-hitter brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, and as such it’s full of taste, taste and more taste.
The Barber Book
Sick of having the same short, back and sides as everyone else? It might be time to tap the trims of times gone by. The Barber Book chronicles every important cut of the 20th and 21st centuries, with advice on how to achieve and maintain the style today. Bad hair days be gone.
Buy Now: £13.00
Icons Of Men’s Style
Everyone knows and owns the usual menswear essentials (if not, what have you been doing?). But spare a thought for the lesser-known pieces, as Josh Sims has done with Icons of Men’s Style. Filled with over 190 pages of seriously wallet-worthy threads, this is an encyclopaedic breakdown of every important garment for men.
Men In This Town
Men In This Town is a perfect example of why street style has become such an essential way to find outfit inspiration. Across cities and continents, photographer Giuseppe Santamaria brings the sheer diversity of the way men dress into sharp focus. Get inspired for your own wardrobe or just appreciate the IDGAF swag of his subjects.
Buy Now: £12.38
You Can Find Inspiration In Everything
True to his love of all things eccentric, Sir Paul Smith’s You Can Find Inspiration In Everything is basically a grown-up picture book (but way more stylish than that). Filled with illustrations and annotations from the man himself, it’s an insight into one of menswear’s most inventive minds.
Dressing The Man: Mastering The Art Of Permanent Fashion
If only style is eternal, the term “permanent fashion” may seem like a contradiction, but Alan Flusser sets out to define that very thing. Expect tips on how to create your own unique look by understanding variables such as your build, with plenty of vintage photos from the greats to help you along the way.
Buy Now: £20.40
The Perfectly Dressed Gentleman
Robert O’Byrne’s The Perfectly Dressed Gentleman gets about the murky business of defining dress codes without speculating, second-guessing or getting it totally wrong (no mean feat). A must-have for anyone that dreads the inevitable smart-casual invite this party season, which is essentially all of us.
Buy Now: £9.99
Sneakers: The Complete Collectors’ Guide
If you can argue until you’re blue in face about seemingly indistinguishable design differences on trainers then you, sir, are a sneakerhead. As such you’ll probably be head over heels for this book, which is full of footwear factoids and photos of more 180 designs from the biggest names in the game.
Buy Now: £12.28
How To Tie A Tie: A Gentleman’s Guide To Getting Dressed
Simple skills that our grandfathers took for granted are lost on most millennials, making How To Tie A Tie a necessity for anyone looking to get to grips with knots. It includes 128 pages of step-by-step guides to techniques such as ‘The Pratt’, so you look anything but.
Buy Now: £6.83
Le Snob Guide To Tailoring
Every man wants to be the best-dressed in the room. If you say you don’t and you’re reading this, then we call bullshit. So does Simon Crompton’s Le Snob, which not only acknowledges that primal desire to be more handsome, but also reveals the formula behind sartorial success.
If Jesus Christ came back today, we’re pretty sure he’d wear jeans and so, it seems, does Amy Leverton. Denim Dudes is a street style book which puts America’s finest export front and centre. Alongside images of every jean-loving style tribe imaginable, the book taps the knowledge of some of the world’s best-known brands.
Buy Now: £15.15
Fuck Ivy And Everything Else
Like its expletive-laden name suggests, Fuck Ivy and Everything Else isn’t your run-of-the-mill wardrobe manual. Designer Mark McNairy (with a brief appearance from street style god Nick Wooster) presents his views on how men should dress and behave. Pacey, lively and with a sharp sense of wit, McNairy’s trademark classic-meets-contemporary take on menswear is present on every page.
Buy Now: £25.00
The Fairchild Encyclopedia Of Menswear
Everything you wanted to know about menswear, all in one place and alphabetised, The Fairchild Encyclopedia of Menswear is the would-be style expert’s best friend. From industry slang to tailoring terms, if it’s not here, it’s not worth knowing.
Buy Now: £48.00
Men And Style
To those that deem fashion to be vacuous, may we suggest a read of Men And Style: Essays, Interviews And Considerations. Reaching beyond standard what to wear advice, the collection of musings digs deep into a range of topics such as what it means to be a man, all the while seeking helpful life advice from some of the most notable tastemakers around.
Buy Now: £16.20
Military Style Invades Fashion
It’s difficult to remember a time when some element of the armed forces didn’t exist in our wardrobes. Military Style Invades Fashion (see what they did there) sheds light on the extent to which the war zone has infiltrated your wardrobe with exhaustive style notes and photographs. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
Buy Now: £20.25
No well-edited wardrobe is complete without a suit, but how did this big-hitter end up in occupying pride of place in the modern wardrobe? The Suit: Form, Function & Style unpicks the seams of menswear’s favourite go-to, identifying all the markers and sub-cultures that made the male uniform what is it today.
Buy Now: £15.53
Mario Testino: Sir
Few photographers have the fashion-industry clout of Mario Testino, so it makes sense to namecheck him on your coffee table. Mario Testino: Sir is a textbook example of the man’s ability to produce genuinely thought-provoking photography. Showing masculinity in numerous different forms, the tome turns traditional notions of maleness on their head.
Buy Now: £32.49
Rules For Modern Life
With the world in the state it is, it’s little wonder we need a helping hand to navigate modern life in style. The late Sir David Tang’s Rules For Modern Life gives realistic regulations on how to get through this pre-automation, post-sanity age with dating advice, dinner party etiquette and a remedy to just about any social ills.
Buy Now: £12.38
About Time: Celebrating Men’s Watches
Any watch worth its cogs demands hours of craftsmanship. So, it’s only fair to honour their graft with a spot on your coffee table. About Time: Celebrating Men’s Watches champions all that’s fine about fine watches and better yet, will cost you but a stitch of the genuine article.
Buy Now: $26.26
The Mr Porter Paperback
It’s only natural that the world’s most stylish online retailer has an equally tasteful handbook to match. Now on its third edition, The Mr Porter Paperback packs in a healthy dose of seasonal style advice alongside interviews and profiles of notable men, all dutifully assembled by the website’s dedicated editorial team.
Buy Now: £16.89
As long as men have wrapped themselves in cloth to attract a mate (and not get arrested), there have been those willing to break from the pack. Rebel Threads presents over 3,000 examples of vintage clothing that graced the backs of history’s outsiders, subverters and mavericks. Consider this the anti-menswear menswear book.
Buy Now: £20.39
The Little Book Of Beards
Fans of facial topiary can not only get their fix of chin coverers from The Little Book of Beads, but there’s also a wealth of practical tips for making sure your beard is always looking the business. Essential reading for anyone who aspires to banish the bum fluff.
Buy Now: £5.99
The Psychology Of Clothes
Choosing what to wear isn’t just a simple case of liking how something looks. Turns out, there’s a whole Freudian-esque subtext at work in your wardrobe. The Psychology of Clothes explores the motives behind what we put on our backs and examines what our clothes say about us.
Handmade Shoes For Men
Handmade Shoes for Men shows that the humble trade of being a cordwainer isn’t actually that humble at all, it’s more of an art form. This book celebrates the sheer craftsmanship and dedication that goes into making a pair of leather shoes by hand, with essays providing insights you’d normally only get on the factory floor.
Drive Time: Watches Inspired by Automobiles, Motorcycles And Racing
To the uninitiated, the relationship between watches and cars may seem strange, but it’s one that’s almost as old as, well, time. Aaron Sigmund’s ode to the engine rightly places watches as miniature automobiles in their own right, and Drive Time celebrates both as real feats of engineering.
Chronicling the collegiate style of America’s Ivy League universities, this fashion ledger has become an indispensable resource for any self-respecting menswear fan. Showing killer look after killer look, it’s the ultimate street style manual and is the gold standard for preppy done perfectly.
Buy Now: £17.56
After years of being mocked, male grooming is now considered the norm, finally. Covering off everything from haircuts to skincare rituals (and the best products to pick for each), Man Made dispenses simple, no-nonsense solutions to almost every bathroom-based dilemma. If you’re looking to scrub up well but don’t know where to start, it’s the ideal initiation.
Buy Now: £8.01
There’s no debating that Ralph Lauren is one of the most recognisable (and most mispronounced) fashion designers on earth. But there’s more to this man than just a multibillion empire, as shown in his autobiography, which focuses on the 77-year-old’s personal life.
Buy Now: £35.00
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Few designers can claim to be on the same genuine game-changing level as the late, great Alexander McQueen, which makes Savage Beauty such an essential read. Full of the dark, macabre and technical brilliance that became his calling card, it brings together his entire career’s work with a suitably showstopping cover to match.
Buy Now: £22.75
Like its namesake magazine, the Fantastic Man book is a thinking man’s style guide, and you’ll find many of the same things that have made the magazine such a cult hit inside. Namely, celebrity interviews, essays, photography and documentation of some of the world’s best dressed men.
Buy Now: £20.36
Best Of British
British pride isn’t just for skinheads at a ‘political’ rally – there’s a less divisive way to celebrate the achievements of this glorious rainy isle, and that’s with this book, subtitled The Stories Behind Britain’s Iconic Brands. No politics, no eyebrow-raising: just pages and pages of sweet British style.
Buy Now: £25.99
Subculture: The Meaning Of Style
Subculture: The Meaning Of Style delves into all those teenage subsets that your parents probably reminisce about too much. Less observation, more explanation, the book gets under the skin of rebellion through style across the decades, shedding light on why we’re still wearing the same threads today.
Buy Now: £18.99
These days it’s quite possible to look inside a traditionally American piece of clothing like jeans and find a Japanese label. This phenomenon has been big news for brands like Uniqlo, orSlow and Comme des Garçons and is known as ‘Ametora’. Want to know why? Pick up this simply titled tome to read about the complex and unusual story of how all-American style found a second home way out East.
Buy Now: £16.99
The history buff’s book of choice, Vintage Menswear is the definitive guide to all things old-school. Featuring 130 of the rarest and most iconic menswear designs to date, it offers a unique insight into the way men once dressed. It’s your wardrobe’s family tree.
Buy Now: £19.89
Plenty of lip service is paid to the clothing in our wardrobes, but rarely do accessories get the credit they deserve. The Details gives finishing touches their time in the spotlight. From watches to pocket squares, the book traces the journey of these small but mighty staples of the menswear diet.
Buy Now: £16.85
Gentleman: A Timeless Guide To Fashion
When it comes to matters of the wardrobe, the classics will always win hands down. Don’t believe us? Pick up Gentleman: A Timeless Guide To Fashion, which makes the point using detailed illustrations and reams of handy information, while diplomatically sidestepping flash-in-the-pan trends.
Buy Now: $34.95
Good news: Bodhi, the internet’s most famous clothes-wearing dog, has been immortalised in book form (how modern). Bad news: scanning through the shiba inu’s best looks may leave you slightly depressed when you realise he’s better dressed than you are.
Buy Now: £11.99