On the Matter of a “Style Bible”

    Spring is in the air! How can I tell? Because it’s that time of year when every men’s fashion mag tarts up a special edition with some glossy photos and trots out their version of a style manual. They all call it different things: GQ’s Style Bible, Esquire’s Black Book, Sharp’s Manual. I’m not going to blame them. After all, they need to make some revenue, and nothing makes an account executive’s mouth water like a special edition that can be packed with advertisements right when it’s time to push the new collections.

    Here’s the thing though: People have been reading the Bible for thousands of years, and we all know that none of these manuals are going to have that sort of longevity, right? No, of course not, because otherwise you wouldn’t need to buy the one that comes out next year! 

    So if it doesn’t bother me that they are making a huge buck off of these things, I guess it has to be the fact that they generally claim to be “manuals” or “bibles” when they contain barely enough text to fill the back of a postcard with (in all fairness, Esquire does put on more of a show). I should know; I’ve bought each and every single one of them. 

    See, the allure of the style manual is strong for men’s fashion fanatics, and we can’t help ourselves but buy the next one no matter how bad they have all been (I finally broke this habit at the sight of Sharp’s laughable Autumn/Winter edition.

    Now, I’m posting this in anticipation of GQs so-called “Style Bible” to arrive this April and, to be fair, I haven’t seen it yet. However based on their last attempt. a pamphlet sized affair that cost me $15 and mostly contained reused photos from previous issues, I’m not holding my breath.

    So what’s a bloke to do when he’s looking for something with more substance? A real “style bible”? Well, the closest thing I’ve ever come across (and I have looked long and hard), would have to be Andy Gilchrist’s Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothes complemented by the Esquire “Handbook of Style”. They aren’t going to teach you the ins and outs of the latest fashion trends, but they give the greatest foundation to traditional men’s clothing that I think any man could hope for without having to do any real work, so go check them out.

    As for this upcoming GQ Style Bible? Well, don’t worry, I’ll have a look for all of you as soon as I can to let you know if it’s worth your time or not. I’m not trying to do you a favour or anything. I just can’t help myself.

    - Mr. S

    If you want to comment on this article, head on over to my website at www.mrsartorial.com.

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    Off-the-Cuff remarks on Fashion and Style from the Great White North