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Alan Flusser, one of America's foremost menswear designers, knows fine clothes and where to buy them. He shares all this in his insightful and elegantly written treatise for the man interested in savvy attire. Tuck this volume into a corner of your suitcase and you'll be armed with a connoisseur's knowledge of the dos and don'ts of buying and wearing quality clothes and how much they should cost, from dinnerwear to casual sportswear. Open Style...
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Alan Flusser, one of America's foremost menswear designers, knows fine clothes and where to buy them. He shares all this in his insightful and elegantly written treatise for the man interested in savvy attire. Tuck this volume into a corner of your suitcase and you'll be armed with a connoisseur's knowledge of the dos and don'ts of buying and wearing quality clothes and how much they should cost, from dinnerwear to casual sportswear. Open Style and the Man and learn about:
Turn to the author's 200 favorite men's stores spanning seventeen cities in eight countries' both celebrated designer flagships and tiny shops known only to a privileged few and discover:
In Style and the Man, Alan Flusser has created the perfect traveling companion for those men wishing to expand their sartorial knowledge as well as their wardrobe.
Since the price of a suit constitutes most men's single largest clothing outlay, unless you are confident of your ability to select the best one, I recommend that you prepare accordingly. Wearing something that is reasonably representative of what you are shopping for provides the salesman with a starting point and the fitter with a tailoring guide. If you are considering a different take on your usual habiliments, this same garment can also provide a basis for comparison.
Should you go to the store intending to make a purchase, you should bring a dress shirt whose fit satisfies you. The dress shirt is a key element in the suit-fitting process; its collar height and sleeve length inform the tailor how you expect those components of the jacket to fit. You should also bring along all the items you normally pack into your suit. If you wear a pocket square or an eyeglass case in your jacket, or keep a wallet in your back trouser pocket, your suit should be fitted to accommodate these items. The time invested in this preparation will minimize the probability that you will have to return to the store for an additional fitting after discovering that your bulging billfold makes your coat's chest gap.
If shopping in a large store that offers a variety of suit styles—such as London's Harrods or New York City's Saks Fifth Avenue—and you do not have a relationship with any of its salespeople, spend a few minutes looking for one whose dressing style impresses you. Do not automatically accept the first sales associate to engage you unless you know exactly what you want and need him to act merely as an expediter.If you are looking for a high-fashion designer suit, the classically attired salesperson would not be my first choice to explain the nuances that distinguish an Armani three-button crepe suit from the latest Vestimenta confection.
Conversely, if you like to accessorize your more English-style suits with high-class furnishings, you might want to be attended to by someone whose taste demonstrates firsthand experience in such matters. The salesman who dresses as if he is interested in clothes usually regards his profession as something more than just an opportunity to bring home a regular paycheck. He prides himself in his taste and enjoys taking the extra effort to find something special. Ideally, in the course of your dialogue, he should be able to teach you something about how to dress better while assisting you with your decision making.
Compared to a decade ago, most men wear their clothes fuller in scale and lighter in weight. This means that today's average suit jacket has slightly broader shoulders and a bit more length. Its pleated trousers are worn up on the natural waist with its fuller thighs tapering down to cuffed bottoms that break on the shoe. Much of this reproportionment is attributable to the high-fashion men's design community's search for a more modern yet comfortable vessel to replace the stuffy, boxlike structure of the conventional male business suit.
In the early stages of its latest reconfiguration, the suit jacket's dimensions were pushed outward to allow its softer and less padded shell to drape more fluidly from the wearer's shoulders and around his torso. Textured, crepe-weave fabrics were introduced to enhance the sweaterlike cushiness of the more advanced designer suitings. However, as the contemporary men's suit started looking less like its old self and more like a piece of sportswear, men who required the articulation and dressiness of the more classically tailored ensemble began to make their preferences known.
The classic suit is returning, but like any garment caught up in the maelstrom of high fashion, it's just not returning in quite the same form as when it left. While swinging back to its military roots, with enough shape and padding to recall its former prestige and purpose, men's tailored clothing is now lighter and more comfortable than ever. As fashion has eased up even the traditional suit's scale, so too have its conventional fabrics been influenced by the more modern, drapey cloths. Previously, the only fabrics able to maintain such defined line and proper creases were the typical four-harness worsteds from England and Italy. This is still the case. However, their tighter weaves and more substantial construction have now been made to feel soft and pliable. After you squeeze the fabric, the better cloths spring back without wrinkling. At the end of the day, a top-quality worsted wool suit still only needs to be hung out for a short time to regain its pressed look.
This is not to suggest that all crepelike textured woolens or other soft high-twist cloths are inferior in quality or wearability to the finer worsteds. Italy has created many exceptional fabrics that look sturdy but are light as feathers and fall as if tailored by gravity. It is true, however, that some less expensive, textured cloths will pull easier than the smoother worsteds and, if not tailored skillfully, will also not perform up to their potential. But the better, high-performance ones can be tailored by hand or by machine and still make you feel like a prince. However, if longevity is the objective, there is no substitute for the time-honored harder-finished worsteds. While they may not make you feel as languidly swathed, they will help a man convey a stature both confidently masculine and quietly measured.
No other garment in the history of fashion better connotes an image of formal continuity and authority than the man's tailored suit jacket. The permanence of its form relies on a set of design relationships whose formal composition accommodates a surprising variety of improvisations without compromising its aesthetic integrity. During the past thirty years, fashion has remolded the jacket's envelope into temporal configurations ranging from boxy and short to fitted and long, each with different dispositions of button and trim. At the same time, its components have varied in shape, texture, and behavior. In spite of all these provisional arrangements, as the century draws to a close, the suit jacket continues to set the universal standard for civility in masculine attire.
While fabrics and patterns usually attract the eye first, the most important thing to consider in a suit is its silhouette. Most suits are made to last at least several years; however, more often than not, a suit's proportions determine its useful lifetime. A suit that is extreme in silhouette is more likely to go out of style before it falls apart. The right choice can give you years of pleasure; the wrong one will haunt your closet. However, once chosen, the suit's fit, not its design, should be the focus of one's attention.
In assessing a jacket's potential life span, four elements of its design should be considered. These are the garment's "bones." When in accordance with the wearer's architecture, they should flatter and enhance his stature. If the coat's geometry conflicts with the wearer's or deviates too far from the archetype's acknowledged grace notes of style, the coat's staying power will be significantly weakened.
As the widest part of the jacket, the shoulders' expression sets the mood for the entire garment. The assertive eighties saw jacket shoulders attain aircraft carrier dimensions, while the introspective nineties returned the shoulders to a less obtrusive, more classic positioning. Most of history's best-dressed men had their shoulders tailored to look natural yet smart. Unless a man is extremely slope-shouldered or self-consciously short and needs the illusion of height, padded shoulders should be avoided.
The square, high shoulder became internationally fashionable with the emergence of Rome's "Continental look" in the late fifties. Then, in the late sixties, Pierre Cardin's hourglass suit reinforced the notion that strong shoulders were a criterion for high style. Today, given the priority placed on understated comfort, even in the sculpted shoulder's birthplace, the sophisticated Italian wears his hand-tailored shoulders soft, sloped, and less studied.
Close attention need also be paid to the shoulders' width. Since they frame the head, if the shoulders are cut too narrow, the head will appear larger than it actually is; if they are cut too wide, the head will appear disproportionately small.
Their width should be generous enough to permit the jacket's fabric to fall from the shoulder in a smooth, unbroken line all the way down the sleeve. If the width hugs too narrowly, the man's shoulder muscle will bulge out from under the top of the sleeve head, that point at which the jacket sleeve is attached to the shoulder.
The jacket also needs enough fullness across the front and back to lie flat on a man's chest without pulling open. A man with a strong chest requires a larger sized jacket just to accommodate this prominence. Fullness over the shoulder blades with breaks extending upward on the back from below the armholes allows ample room for free action. This extra fabric also causes the jacket to drape properly. A tight fit over the shoulder blades can make you feel as if you are in a straitjacket.
Posted November 30, 2008
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This is Alan Flusser's second book, published back in year 1996:<BR/><BR/>The first part of the book, "How to Buy and Wear" - pages 05 to 105, reveals basic information about tailored clothing for men. The second part of the book "Where to Shop" - pages 115 to 386, is so out-of-date (as of year 2008) that many readers may not be interested to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2000
A blueprint for assuring proper selection, fit, and accessory choices for those major suit purchases. A very knowledgeable guide to shopping in major cities.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.