5 Jul
Josh Sims' historical guide to everything in your wardrobe

There are many books that cover the various dapper personalities who have defined men’s fashion over the last century — the rakes who wore timeless garments that became indelibly stamped into our cultural psyches (such as the impeccably disheveled Gregory Peck on the cover, above). But not many books will tell you the history of those actual garments. That is until now. Icons Of Men’s Style — written by Josh Sims — is a quick, efficient, historical investigation into many of the staples of menswear in every man’s wardrobe: where they came from, how they became popular, and the various smartly dressed gentlemen who made them immortal. From pea coats, fishtail parkas, trench coats and biker jackets to loafers, jeans, Breton tops and lumberjack shirts. Not surprisingly given the martial roots of the 20th Century, many of the pieces were born of military applications — such as the desert boot, which was spotted in Burma by Nathan Clark (he of legendary footwear manufacturer Clark’s fame) on officers on leave from duty in northern Africa during WWII. Already from a family of cobblers, Clark recognized the utility, airiness and comfort of the rough hewn suede boot and brought it back to England after the war, where he improved upon the design and unknowingly forged one of the most iconic shoes in contemporary culture. Icons Of Men’s Style is full of similarly concise, entertaining and informative histories of many articles of clothing that men have worn for nearly a century. Sure high-end sartorial basics are covered like button-down shirts, neck ties and brogues, but even less expected items like sweatshirts, fountain pens and Panama hats are illuminated upon. Sims has done an excellent job of covering a wide breadth of menswear with easily read, quick bursts of information, without being pedantic or verbose. A must for any fashion-conscious man curious about the genesis of the clothes he wears everyday. Find Icons Of Men’s Style, published by Laurence King Publishing, for $20.

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