A quartet of new style books offers something new for your coffee table. Three are by street-style photographers who capture very different, candid—and in some cases not-so-candid—portraits of numerous well-dressed men from around the world. A fourth reveals the best menswear stores of major cities, so is part city guide and part companion on the quest of expanding your wardrobe with considered pieces.
This Guy: Portraits of Modern Men’s Style
Canadian photographer Jamie Ferguson’s rise to prominence in the street-style arena has been swift. A former actor and menswear sales assistant, he first picked up a camera less than a decade ago. Two things have aided his ascent: the first was his role as the principal photographer over the course of a few years for Permanent Style—one of the leading voices for men’s bespoke style globally, run by one of the authors reviewed here; the second was his Instagram account, which now has 54k followers. But more pertinently it’s his photographic style which facilitated both: he shoots with natural light, treating both subject and environment with equal reverence so his portraits offer a real sense of place as much as of person.
This Guy is an impressive book. For a start Ferguson’s choice of subjects is refreshing: The #menswear world can feel rather small, with the same faces cropping up on the ‘gram, blog or magazine page. And while the roll call here contains some familiar faces, half of these guys were completely new to me. There are 20 men featured and alongside the portraits, Ferguson asks intelligent questions of each, which make for enjoyable Q&As to add context to the images. You get to understand a little of their story and interest in menswear, which really brings the portraits to life. Books such as this one offer something tangible and useful: a glimpse into how real men dress right now, and why. For those with an interest in style, old or new, there’s plenty to see here.
Buy Now: $45
Photo : Laurence King Publishing
From the foreword by Sir Paul Smith to the four chapters featuring men—some famous, most not—from the four cities with international fashion shows (New York, London, Milan, Paris), Jonathan Daniel Pryce’s book is full of riches. Whereas Ferguson focuses on a small group of men, here there is a cast of hundreds. Set among the individual shots of cool guys from the corners of the style world there are deeper dives and conversations with a small and seemingly random assortment. And that’s as likely to be a young writer in Paris who wears only black to musician and Modfather Paul Weller in London, or a mop-haired Sicilian artist in Milan and then an actor in (where else?) New York.
While you may recognize the odd famous model or media face among the assembled cast, my suspicion is that what you’ll take away most from Garçon Style are the many ways in which these men have found to make a statement with their appearance. And that doesn’t mean this represents a collection of peacocks—quite the opposite: it’s the nuances and details that are the stars here. A scarf worn just so; a denim jacket slipped under a shearling overcoat; a pair of bespoke glasses; an unexpected tattoo. These images were taken over a five-year period and amount to proof that individuality and a comfort in their own skin are so often the defining characteristics of a stylish man.
Buy Now: $30
Photo : Thames & Hudson
The Sartorial Travel Guide
This is such a simple but clever idea: a guide to the cities of the world with the best independent men’s stores. Crompton, the man behind the bespoke tailoring website Permanent Style and a regular Robb Report contributor, highlights 25 cities across the globe—so the chances of you travelling through one of these places soon is relatively high. And you’ll be glad of this guide, which is sized small enough to fit into your hand luggage, when you do. Whether it’s Florence, Hong Kong, Naples, Stockholm, Beijing, Atlanta, Chicago or LA, what is certain is that if you have an interest in menswear or style in general, you’ll welcome Crompton’s guidance on where to visit while you’re there. As valuable as the shop recommendations are the interviews with some of the people behind these stores, who explain what makes what they offer unique, as well as a quartet of essays up front from a group of frequent, and stylish, travelers who give their tips and travel hacks. The Sartorial Travel Guide will make an excellent stocking stuffer for anyone who travels with an open mind and seeks out independent voices and individuals with character.
Buy Now: $30
Photo : Taschen
The Sartorialist India
Mr. Schuman, known to his 1.1 million Instagram followers better as The Sartorialist, is widely recognized as the guy who reinterpreted ‘street-style’ photography for the digital age. His blog of the same name is one long scroll of men and women of varied levels of stylistic expression: the bold, the beautiful, the buttoned-up and the (almost) bare.
Schuman has been travelling to India on assignment, mostly covering the fashion shows in Delhi and Mumbai but more recently travelling all over the country, since 2008. He says he knew after only a few trips that he wanted “to create a personal project that would encapsulate this diverse and modern India” he was experiencing. He’s succeeded. That this is a passion project is clearly apparent: the large-format hardback is a pictorial love letter to every one of its subjects, from school children posing mischievously to wizened elders propped up on canes, to wrestlers caked in mud to the fashionable and the beautiful behind their sunglasses and perfect hair.
As you can probably see, on the surface it has the least to do with typical men’s style of any of the books reviewed here but that’s not to say that this isn’t a book about how people dress: it’s just much more than that. It’s style that shines through in the immaculate side parting and moustache combo of the old man reading the paper, or the glorious camp of the goat herder with the floral accessory and bellows pockets on his jacket. But this is also about the men, women and children that Schuman has chosen to focus on as representatives of a diverse and vibrant nation. To anyone who has been there and stepped outside the polished confines of a luxury hotel it is an India instantly recognizable: the color, the chaos, the smiles, the pride, the beauty. Whether shooting his subjects on the street or at markets, on the move or at play, Schuman shows much more than India’s people, he shows a little of the best of India’s spirit.
Buy Now: $70