I’ll provide two quotations from this book. If you agree with them, you’ll enjoy this book and find it useful. If you don’t agree with them, skip this book! First:
Every grown-up man should own a dinner jacket, just as he should own a dark suit, and those who do not prize such old-fashioned values may sanctimoniously decline invitations to any fabulous party people by handsome men and dazzling women with bare shoulders and cleavage. Take your pick of value systems.
Dress: It’s not all about you…Grown up men present themselves to the world in a way that shows they have something important to do. They also show respect to those around them by looking clean.
I appreciate both of these quotes because they eloquently and cheekily explain the point of style and manners. Style is a form of creativity everyone engages in. Both style and etiquette serve as a way to show respect for the people around you and elevate their experiences. I like that. As Smith continues: “Stop feeling guilty about vanity. A sensual pleasure in surfaces is a sign of artistic sensitivity.”
The subtitle of this book is The Thinking Man’s Guide to Dress. What you’ll get, as you can see from the quotes above, is more than just advice on how to match a suit and tie. The book includes a lot of trivia about where the current style of men’s suit came from (was actually super casual!), why wool is so popular and what it has to do with Charles Dickens, why we wear ties in the first place, and other useless but fascinating trivia that I bored my patient wife with.
The book is a decade old, so some of Smith’s arguments aren’t as necessary as they once were. Additionally, some of the advice is a bit dated. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the read.