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Category Archives: books

Cally Blackman: 100 Years of Menswear

About the menswear of the twentieth century, I can say this for sure: I don’t think I’d wear most of it. Neither would you, I imagine, unless you’ve thrown in your lot with the Brooklyn handlebar-mustache set, though in that case you’d have pledged allegiance to only a select set of time periods, stylistically compatible […]

Three novels by Kim Young-ha

DESPITE EXPORTING FOOD, film, advanced gadgetry, and dance music with unprecedented fervor and pride, South Korea has still produced curiously little in the way of an international literature. As Japan rose from the aftermath of the Second World War, so did vital men of letters like Kobo Abe, Oe Kenzaburo, and Yukio Mishima — names […]

Men’s style books: The Suit by Nicholas Antongiavanni

“The end is nigh,” tweeted an aphorist I admire, “for all books must now bear the explanatory subtitle — the mark of the beast.” The Suit’s title bears not just that mark, but one of interference before the colon as well. The author wanted to title his book The Dandy; his publisher, afraid that wouldn’t sell, proposedThe Suit: A Machiavellian […]

Bookforum syllabus: Western literary expats in postwar Japan

  My new syllabus for Bookforum magazine covers four favorite volumes on life in postwar Japan by four favorite literarily inclined Western expats: Pico Iyer, John Nathan, Donald Keene, and the late Donald Richie: The 1950s through the 80s saw Japan go from post-war disrepair to world-frightening powerhouse, adapting and even improving all manner of Western […]

Menswear books: Hardy Amies, ABC of Men’s Fashion

Whether in its original 1964 Newnes edition or its handsome 2007 Abrams reissue, ABC of Men’s Fashion strikes an elegant balance between authority and personality. Despite taking a more compact shape than an encyclopedia (128 small-format pages, to be precise), it does take an encyclopedic form. Beginning with a brief explanation of “Accessories”, Amies ends, […]

Menswear books: The Measure of a Man by JJ Lee

The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit presents us with an unusual form: the menswear memoir. It offers not the story of a life in the male garment trade, nor of a long career spent cutting and sewing. Nevertheless, it does contain a fair bit of material […]

Menswear books: Off the Cuff by Carson Kressley

About Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Bravo’s hit reality program that ran from 2003 to 2007, you may recall exactly one thing: that despite their presentation as paragons of taste, none of the “Fab Five” dressed with much of it. Or, more charitably, they seldom displayed what a Put This On reader might value. “The kind of […]

Menswear Books: Teruyoshi Hayashida, et al., Take Ivy

Boy, I want to go to college. Alas, I’ve already gone, and even if I hadn’t, being that I’m nearing thirty years old, “leading a college life in one’s thirties would be way too late.” That observation comes from a no less authoritative a study of university life and style than Take Ivy, but still, we must […]

Menswear books: Josh Sims, Icons of Men’s Style

I relish the menswear enthusiast’s life for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being that we get less homework than women’s wear enthusiasts do. This very idea may strike you as ridiculous, especially if you keep up with Put This On and countless other sites like it, but remember: they strive, often frantically, […]

Peter Hyun and the Space Group of Korea: Seoul: The Magnetic City

“Taller and more ruggedly built than their counterparts in Tokyo, Manila, or Bangkok, the people of Seoul exude a sense of resiliency and vitality,” writes Peter Hyun in this book’s introduction, “so much so that they make the other Asians look downright indolent.” Ah, perhaps we have here a publication of the Korean History Channel. […]