I stumbled across this book reading the latest issue of Monocle on the train ride home (after the great knitting mistake - see below post for details.) It was first published in 1964 and is a great present idea for any man you know. For all men—and indeed all women who are interested in men’s clothes—here is an alphabetical guide to men’s fashion written with wit and expert knowledge. From the etiquette of dressing for all occasions to the meaning of technical terms, Hardy Amies’s skillful eye guides you safely through style decisions on everything from blazers and brogues to skiing and sandals. No man can afford to be without this classic style bible. To demonstrate this point one only has to read a few of the many highlights within these pages:
On bowler hats Amies remarks "The only truly smart headgear." I think it is a shame that this hat is only worn by actors portraying bankers in TV series or in jest.
On tailoring - ”There’s no such thing as a designer of menswear-—it’s only history. The suit around the world is based on the English suit, which began in about 1670. Any man, whether he’s American, Japanese, French or whatever, who wants to be seriously well dressed, looks to the Englishman’s suit for how to achieve it.”— I think times have moved on somewhat from this stance but you have to admire his national pride in English Sartorialism but thank goodness we can proclaim today that there are a number of great designers of menswear!
Sir Hardy Amies died in 2003, but his legacy and style continues under his protégé Ian Garlant at Hardy Amies Plc. He opened his fashion house in 1945 and became Dressmaker by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen. Famous for menswear and his keen eye for classic style, Amies had a regular fashion column in Esquire magazine. I will leave you with some wise words penned by Sir Hardy Amies. Seemingly effortless style is the most favoured form of style:
“A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”