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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From the Introduction:
There was an appropriate mode of dress for every activity, including the trip from country to town, dining in and out, and myriad leisure activities..."

Even mundane activities had a particular form of dress. That custom is entirely gone. The only activities we recognize today as requiring a particular form of dress are "special occasions," and even their the rules are very lax. I wonder, given the lack of activity-appropriate dress required today, if people spend less money on clothing than they used to.
 

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Almost certainly not, I would think. Yesteryear's clothes were made to last, while today's clothes are almost disposable, often meant to be worn for a season and made to last little longer.

The statement that "There was an appropriate mode of dress for every activity, including the trip from country to town, dining in and out, and myriad leisure activities..." is obviously a huge overstatement. It may have been true for the more affluent, but certainly not for the majority of people. Generally I'm thankful that's no longer the case, although the process has progressed somewhat too far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Almost certainly not, I would think. Yesteryear's clothes were made to last, while today's clothes are almost disposable, often meant to be worn for a season and made to last little longer.

The statement that "There was an appropriate mode of dress for every activity, including the trip from country to town, dining in and out, and myriad leisure activities..." is obviously a huge overstatement. It may have been true for the more affluent, but certainly not for the majority of people. Generally I'm thankful that's no longer the case, although the process has progressed somewhat too far.
I agree that it may have been the custom primarily among the affluent. But even the affluent of today no longer hold this custom. Movie stars, for example, in the 40's would never have been caught in public not being elegantly and appropriately dressed. I recently had dinner at the Chateau Marmont. I wore flannel trousers and a blue blazer, and I was overdressed. There may have been one or two other men in jackets, and nary in tie in sight.
 

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I agree and like I said, I think the process has gone too far. Not so much, in my case, because I have a hankering for days of yore which are falsely tinted rosy-red, but simply because I find the current state of affairs dreadfully boring. Sure, everyone can wear what they like all the time and anywhere, but the reality is that almost everyone wears the same crap and end up looking more alike than they ever did.

While I certainly wouldn't want to return to a time when every adult male had to wear a suit and tie, I just as certainly wish that more people would dress with a little more care, individuality and style.
 

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Thank you! I've never seen that link before, very high quality images.

I was extremely fortunate something over 20 years ago to be browsing the gift shop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and actually discovered a copy for sale. Though I knew nothing of it at the time, one peek told me to buy it even though the cardboard cover had gotten scuffed.

And then a few years ago Esquire made their entire archive available on-line for a nominal subscription fee. The section titled Full Issues gives you access to every page of every issue by decade, including those from which the illustrations in the book were extracted. For any whom it might interest -

https://classic.esquire.com/

They're scanned in double page format, as pictured below -

 

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Thank you! I've never seen that link before, very high quality images.

I was extremely fortunate something over 20 years ago to be browsing the gift shop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and actually discovered a copy for sale. Though I knew nothing of it at the time, one peek told me to buy it even though the cardboard cover had gotten scuffed.

And then a few years ago Esquire made their entire archive available on-line for a nominal subscription fee. The section titled Full Issues gives you access to every page of every issue by decade, including those from which the illustrations in the book were extracted. For any whom it might interest -

https://classic.esquire.com/

They're scanned in double page format, as pictured below -

Considering that my brief old-book search shows that you'd have to pay about $200 to get a decent copy today, I have a feeling you made a very astute purchase.

I'm going to read it on-line and then decide if it is worth what would be the-most-expensive-book-I've-ever-bought purchase to add to my collection of classic style books (might have to pass on eating for a week, but could be worth it).

I know it's all on-line, but a nice book collection is enjoyable in a different way.
 

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Considering that my brief old-book search shows that you'd have to pay about $200 to get a decent copy today, I have a feeling you made a very astute purchase.

I'm going to read it on-line and then decide if it is worth what would be the-most-expensive-book-I've-ever-bought purchase to add to my collection of classic style books (might have to pass on eating for a week, but could be worth it).

I know it's all on-line, but a nice book collection is enjoyable in a different way.
Yes, I agree that books are special, and I like to be surrounded by them. (My wife likes it a good deal less! :eek:)

When I purchased it the Internet wasn't much of anything, and such images were available only via hardcopy. I'd always found the illustrations of classic men's clothing very appealing, but knew very little about them, and had no idea how to obtain more of them, which is why I was so delighted to come across it unexpectedly. IMO, they are the best source images of men's style to be found. Both instructive and inspiring.

But I doubt that the book I purchased has enormous value. Internet asked and paid prices can be very different, but more significantly, collectors want pristine copies, and with the cover defaced I don't think it would be very desirable.

As you go through it you'll notice that there are both color and black and white images. But the black and white were originally color, but were printed in the book in grey tones. Esquire's archives for which I furnished a link has them in the original color.
 

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There is an inherent mistake in cross-time comparison. Esquire was about aspirational consumption - e.g. copying the life of the truly rich (in the UK and, increasingly, home). Their owning of different attire for each occasion was a signaling mechanism - elitism. The world is more complex and we have many other forms of signaling today. Thankfully, we have more options and thus don't need to aspire to be a member of the "Esquire club". After all, we have all sorts of other signaling mechanisms available: https://howtospendit.ft.com/. Or, in the case of the San Francisco elite, the hoodie!

I do not like nostalgia bias. The book, charming as it is, is elitism at its worst. I love living in a world full of choices.
 

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There is an inherent mistake in cross-time comparison. Esquire was about aspirational consumption - e.g. copying the life of the truly rich (in the UK and, increasingly, home). Their owning of different attire for each occasion was a signaling mechanism - elitism. The world is more complex and we have many other forms of signaling today. Thankfully, we have more options and thus don't need to aspire to be a member of the "Esquire club". After all, we have all sorts of other signaling mechanisms available: https://howtospendit.ft.com/. Or, in the case of the San Francisco elite, the hoodie!

I do not like nostalgia bias. The book, charming as it is, is elitism at its worst. I love living in a world full of choices.
Golly! I just like looking at the pretty clothes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There is an inherent mistake in cross-time comparison. Esquire was about aspirational consumption - e.g. copying the life of the truly rich (in the UK and, increasingly, home). Their owning of different attire for each occasion was a signaling mechanism - elitism. The world is more complex and we have many other forms of signaling today. Thankfully, we have more options and thus don't need to aspire to be a member of the "Esquire club". After all, we have all sorts of other signaling mechanisms available: https://howtospendit.ft.com/. Or, in the case of the San Francisco elite, the hoodie!

I do not like nostalgia bias. The book, charming as it is, is elitism at its worst. I love living in a world full of choices.
That is quite a high soap box you are on. You should come down before you fall off and get hurt.
 
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