Book review: From tip to toe – The essential men’s wardrobe

I’ve been a little lax in my book reviews of late, so I have a nice stack to be looked at over the coming weeks. To get started on the pile, I’ll be taking a look at the recently published “From tip to toe- the essential men’s wardrobe” from Gestalten in Germany. Fear not though, all 256 pages of this hefty hardback tome are in English.

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The book is divided into 7 parts, each prefaced by an introductory text to explain the setting and then moving on to presenting companies that can be more or less categorised within the chapter. The headings are country wear, formal, festive, active, heritage, casual and functional. The selection of brands presented is fairly comprehensive, with candidates from all over the world, from unspectacular high street names to esoteric Japanese names, from companies that started almost yesterday to others that claim to have been open for business since the day man discovered a yearning for a loincloth.

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On the positive side, the book is well presented and unusually for a book basically about clothes, there is a fair amount of text. The text about each company is also written and edited in such a way that it appears removed from the typical PR-handout other books have resorted to. In many cases I found this yielded information I was previously unaware of. The photography though appears to be stock photos from those involved. There is a wide ranging number of companies presented, so you may find brands that catch your interest and merit further investigation.

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On the negative side, I have to admit I was expecting more. The title “The essential men’s wardrobe” hints at this being a guide of some sort, yet the book itself is very much more a catalogue of brands. If you were looking to find tips on what essential items your wardrobe might require, there would be no help to be found here. I would also point out that the introductory text for each chapter tends to be the weakest text in the book, even though several writers (including Josh Sims) have been involved.

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Would I recommend it? If you’re looking for straight tips on how to create your essential wardrobe, no, this is not the book you are looking for. If you collect menswear books and don’t mind adding another quite expensive publication to your shelf, this will fill that requirement.

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