- Hardcover: 360 pages
- Publisher: hf ULLMANN (May 20 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3833152702
- ISBN-13: 978-3833152702
- Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 3.6 x 25.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #590,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion Hardcover – May 20 2009
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About the Author
After studying design and working as a text-writer and conceptionist with advertising agencies in Frankfurt and Hamburg, Bernhard Roetzel dedicated himself to the world of menswear, becoming one of the authoritative experts in this field. In addition to his activity as an author and editor, he also holds lectures and seminars on menswear and style. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
Roetzel is a German who makes a living writing about style for outlets with which I am generally not familiar. For some reason, he writes about English style. Of course, Germans--that is German nobility, or German "gentlemen"--had their own styles at one time. Just as there was an English suit and an Italian suit, there is or was a German suit, and some style choices that were considered faux pas in England were acceptable in Germany and vice versa. Perhaps this is no longer the case, but whatever the situation, Roetzel is a German Anglophile and he writes about English style. Accordingly, the first book seems to have been a 1990s-era German book called "Der Gentleman" (I don't have this one) a guide for Germans to the English gentlemen.
Der Gentleman was then translated into English as "Gentleman's Guide to Grooming and Style." With typically German thoroughness, Gentleman's Guide provides a very complete and detailed guide to the clothing and toileting of an English gentleman. Methodically arranged and well-illustrated with high-quality photos, Gentleman's Guide is somewhere in between a coffee-table book and a reference book. You will find out not only about different types of shirt collars but also see beautiful photos of a typical English breakfast and find advice on what to wear when riding horseback. The only thing comparable I have found are Alan Flusser's books, but they are not quite the same. Flusser is focused on educating the reader to be aware of when buying a suit or choosing clothes to wear to the office or a night out. Roetzel is more focused on documenting the clothes and lifestyle of a certain class, place, and time period.
Gentleman's Guide was a Barnes & Noble Book and for some reason came out as a paperback first. It came out as a hardcover several years later under the same name and with no changes. Then H.F. Ullmann produced a book called Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion, followed a year later by Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion. This last book is a hardcover with a pinstripe design rather than the well-known red cover. It turns out that Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion is almost exactly the same book as the original Gentleman's Guide. For the most part, only cosmetic changes have been made. The graphic design has been updated with new fonts, colors, and layout. A few paragraphs have been replaced by new ones here and there. A few illustrations have been replaced. The biggest change is the absence of the blonde, blue-eyed model who graced both the outside cover of the Gentleman's Guide as well as the chapter headings.
When I tried to order Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion, I got sent a copy of the Gentleman's Guide instead, which just goes to show how close they are. (Although I can't say for sure, I'd be willing to bet that A Timeless Fashion is exactly the same as Gentleman's Guide, and was simply produced before H.F. Ullmann decide to make the cosmetic changes in A Timeless Guide to Fashion.)
From my perspective, A Timeless Guide to Fashion was a small step backwards from the Gentleman's Guide. Any man who is really interested in these books is probably more likely to enjoy the older fonts and design choices over the newer ones. Moreover, the red cover and model were distinctive. If I were shopping for one of these books today, I would get a copy of the Gentleman's Guide or A Timeless Fashion and forgo A Timeless Guide to Fashion altogether.
As for a general review of these books, it almost goes without saying that a true gentleman would never own or rely on one. The material is so detailed as to be almost a send-up of the English gentleman rather than a sartorial exploration. Moreover, the contention of the book's forward, that a gentleman is any man who lives and conducts himself in a certain manner, is a modern democratic conceit. Most of the material objects and lifestyle shown in this book are beyond the reach of 95% of its intended audience. And with moola', one would still need to combine leisure and birth. However, for me this does not detract from the enjoyment of the book because, like Roetzel, I am something of an Anglophile. For the $20 sunk cost of this book, I can sit down any time I want with a Glenlivet or Veuve Clicquot and be transported for 30 minutes. This is the consideration you have to make when considering whether to buy one of Roetzel's books. Are you looking for help choosing the right suit for the right occasion, or are you a fan of a lost male culture? If you are looking to educate yourself about clothes, buy one of Flusser's books; if you are looking for escape or inspiration, Roetzel is the way to go. (Another purchasing consideration is the gift. One of these books would make a great gift, and at this price for A Timeless Guide to Fashion--a new hardcover full-color glossy--it would be hard to go wrong.)
I also use this as a reference book. The book helped me set up a good idea of what is a good style. Such as: shoes are one of the most important items you should invest. Why you need a navy blazer, grey flannel trousers. What kind of overcoat you should buy. What's the culture and history behind a Barbour wax jacket. A list of all the best vendors for shoes, suits, neckties etc. The book is well illustrated and have a large number of detailed pictures.
I ensure you that after you read the book, your eyes would be much sharper and you yourself might turn a little bit snobbish when you are selecting clothes for yourself or looking at others' outfits.
Trust me, at this price, it's a wonderful buy. (BTW, I also read Alan's book as mentioned by others. His books, though well written, are mainly on suits and are not as practical as this one.)
There's lots of pictures and good tips on how to iron a shirt, how to tie a tie, how to properly wash your hair, etc., and it also includes interesting bits of information on the history and evolution of men's clothes and why certain things are the way they are. It also takes the reader behind the scenes with step-by-step photos of how good shoes are made, and how they hand craft suits, while supplying information on what is appropriate attire when one is out and about at different functions. It also includes good tips on cleaning and storing suits and shirts etc. and should come in handy to almost every reader out there.
Keep in mind that this is based on European/British clothing styles and so many references are to where the suit or jacket originated and how they are worn today (like one must wear certain clothes and hat at a particular horse race) are given in a British context, but Roetzel also discusses US and Italian styles and how they all differ.
This isn't a "wear this" type of book, but does offer suggestions on what goes with what. It's more of a general book about sophisticated and elegant dressing for the "gentleman," think old school/Golden Age of Hollywood types like Fred Astaire and William Holden, so don't expect to see popular designers or anything like that in this book.
The one thing that I wish it had was that on certain sections like when its discussing the different types of shirt collars, it would have helped greatly to the reader if the parts of the collar being referred to were highlighted, so one can get a clearer understanding of the differences.
Otherwise the book is really nice and enjoyed reading it. Also bear in mind that a lot of the stuff presented in here is TOP-OF-THE-LINE items that many of us won't be able to afford, nor would want to, but you get a good idea of what's elegant or timeless.