Anyone with even a remote interest in style has heard of photographer Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist. Starting in 2005 he helped launch the street style movement in men's fashion via his influential blog, achieving worldwide fame along the way. He has published books of his photography in the past, but his newest offering is remarkable in that it blends his behind-the-camera work with mission-critical advice on how to be better dressed.
And we're not talking about a few pithy platitudes delivered Twitter-style; The Sartorialist Man: Inspiration Every Man Wants, Education Every Man Needs — being published by Rizzoli next week and now available for pre-order on Amazon — is a comprehensive guide to looking your best and expressing yourself via your style, interspersed with Schuman's always-compelling images.
Schuman has always reveled in the diversity he finds on the streets of Paris, London, Tokyo and farther afield; and while the skillfully-imparted advice in The Sartorialist Man hews to tradition, it offers a framework upon which a man can build his personal style while allowing for idiosyncrasies of all sorts. Because Schuman truly embraces great style in all its permutations.
"I didn’t want this book to be a list of rules," Schuman writes in his Introduction. "But I do outline principles that will help you make confident decisions about your sartorial choices. I look at it the way I do table manners: the arcane rules about silverware placement are less crucial now, but they have their grounding in common sense. The first step, rules or no rules, is learning what fits you best."
Hence the book begins with "Dressing Your Body Type," "because if you know what fits your unique body, then you can better pull off any look," Schuman counsels. That's followed by a section called "Clothing," with "Elements" being an illustrated glossary of everything from jackets, pants, collars, and cuffs, to outerwear and underwear.
Also sprinkled throughout are “Style Strategies” explaining how stylish gentlemen "do what they do so well," while the “Focus” section is "filled with tips on how to talk to a tailor, view the runway, and discover inspiration from friends and colleagues." The second part of the book tackles everything you need to know about accessories: whether to go with socks or no socks, how to tie a tie, choose the right glasses or sunglasses, and find the right shoe.
And part three, “Maintenance & Sustainability,” is filled with illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to care for, mend, fold, store, and pack your clothes and footwear. And really going for gold, Schuman shares pointers on the "how and why to invest in key pieces of your wardrobe, shop online or in person, or buy vintage or new." All questions we frequently wrestle with.
Without hesitation, we can say this is one of the most comprehensive, attractive, and useful volumes on contemporary men's style ever published. Such books often fail to live up to their subject matter with inadequate illustration or sub-par design. The Sartorialist Man is however a beautiful accessory in its own right.
Sized at a generous 8.75" x 11.25", and containing 300 pages, it does equal justice to its theme, Schuman's lush photography, and the undeniable expertise he has acquired over the decades. No man of style — established or aspiring — should get dressed without it.