Reading Maze For Book Reviews

Reading for the Young & Old

Men’s File

Occasionally within the reviews of books that many of us in the office have read we’ll slip in mention of a favourite magazine. My contribution this time around is far from a literary beast, however it is heavy on its own particular style.

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Men’s File seems to be published pretty much at random. It seems like a couple of years since I spotted and snapped up the first edition, but then none appeared for such a long time I suspect that I have thrown it away and so ruining my chances of having a valuable collection when it begins its rise from cult to the floor of the mainstream.

Men’s File has evolved a lot since its first appearance. It was about as close to soft porn as the dedicated middle aged man of a certain style could get while still calling it artful photography, now its fashion focus has come to the fore and it’s less exciting as a consequence. Bring back the beautiful and the damn right weird posed beautifully just about wearing stunning clothing please.

Mens File isn’t for young blokes, and probably not for old ones either. I’m lucky in that I believe it was created for me!

365 Style and Fashion Tips for Women

A useful addition to any stylish woman’s bookshelf, this 230 page fashion guide has a hint or tip for every day of the year to help you get the very best out of your wardrobe.  Illustrated with an array of colour photographs, this book literally gives top to toe fashion advice, covering all aspects of dress for different occasions, from traditional to contemporary styles.

The book looks at a vast range of subjects: how to dress for self-confidence and success; how to combine fabrics, patterns, accessories and jewellery; and how to look great on a limited budget without compromising on style.  The accessible writing style and clear photography make this guide simple for all women to follow, however confident they are in their personal style. It provides tips on rejuvenating your existing wardrobe with jewellery and other accessories, and gives good advice on how to dress for different ages and shapes.

The book looks at high fashion but its real strength is in the guidance it provides for everyday situations, including tips on how to pull off casual clothing and sportswear successfully. It also provides suggestions for those occasions when many women struggle to get their outfit right – going out for dinner or a business event, and special occasions such as weddings and parties. 

This is a really useful guide for any woman who wants to improve the way she dresses and be secure in the knowledge that her outfit is just right, whatever the occasion.

Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion

This is a very interesting analysis of the psychological and sociological aspects of power dressing and its impact on women’s clothing more generally.  Female politicians in the public eye are subject to plenty of scrutiny from the media and how they dress is endlessly analysed.  Women in power often use fashion to convey a particular message, knowing that it is something that sets them apart from their male counterparts.

The book is written by an experienced fashion journalist who provides his perspective on how clothing choices can influence the careers of female politicians and first ladies.  There are chapters covering the different trends in power dressing over the years, as well as detailed breakdowns of the fashion choices of more than 50 high-profile female figures.  Female prime ministers, presidents, MPs, royals and first ladies from over 30 countries worldwide are included. These include contemporary figures such as Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Queen Rania of Jordan and Angela Merkel, as well as more historical figures like Imelda Marcos, Eva Perón, and Margaret Thatcher.

The text is accompanied by numerous photographs to illustrate each of the subjects covered. As well as the author’s perspective, the book also includes comments from commentators on each woman’s personal style and how it has changed over time. 

This book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in women in politics, fashion, political history and feminism as it neatly charts the rise and influence of women in the political arena through the prism of clothing.

The Handbook of Style: A Man’s Guide to Looking Good

Esquire Magazine, which is aimed at stylish professional men, produces an annual clothing and accessories issue called “The Big Black Book”. This book is the hardback version of that fashion guide, a more permanent reference guide for all men interested in looking good.  With plenty of photographs and a text written with Esquire’s trademark wry and sophisticated humour; it is an easy read for anyone interested in male fashion.

The book includes detailed information on how to dress and accessorise from top to toe, including suits, shirts, jewellery and watches, ties, shoes and all other accessories.  There is advice on what styles and fabrics to wear on different occasions, as well as how to dress to suit particular body types. Drawing on stylish men in the public eye for inspiration, the book will help you find a style that works for you.

The book includes step-by-step guides on finishing off your outfit with a perfectly knotted tie and the best grooming techniques.  It also explores sartorial faux pas so that readers know what to put with what and what items most definitely do not work together.

The book is compact at 224 pages and can be easily referred back to. The friendly language makes it an approachable read for those who think that high fashion is not for them, and it has some great tips on how to dress more stylishly with minimal tweaking to your existing wardrobe. It would make a great gift for any special man in your life.

Figure Drawing for Men’s Fashion (Fashion & Textiles)

This book would be extremely useful for fashion students, illustrators or anyone interested in drawing for men’s fashion as a hobby. It has 400 pages of topic-by-topic guides on how to design clothing and accessories for the male form.

Assuming no prior knowledge, it aims to teach the reader how to perfect the skills that are needed to design men’s clothing so that the designer’s creative vision can be accurately realised. Measuring correctly, getting lines precisely right, and designing and dressing for different shapes are all addressed.

The book covers contemporary clothing design as well as more traditional tailoring. It also looks in depth at men’s accessory design, and there is a section specifically on designing male headwear.

The book was written by fashion industry experts who convey their knowledge in a detailed but approachable way.  The illustrations and photographs also help to bring the text to life for artists, designers and illustrators.  This guide is not text heavy; making it easy for the reader to gain the fundamental skills they need and, from there, build on those skills by practicing their drawing technique and following the clearly outlined stages.  There is also a sister publication – The Female Figure Drawing for Fashion Design – which is a great addition for those who want to enter the world of women’s design and fashion.

Students, illustrators or anyone interested in fashion will love this cleverly designed, well-illustrated book.