Last February (as in February 2019, when the world was a VERY different place) we challenged you to forgo the societal constrains that want to impose specific clothing to a gender, and make menswear or menswear inspired items. And, let me tell you, you did not disappoint!
Personally, I’m a sucker for good tailoring. I’ve made 3 suits in the last year, tailored wool pants are my jam, and I enjoy browsing menswear style blogs with my husband – and let’s admit it right here, there are a lot of opinions being dished left and right. Sewing gives me the power to make any garment which strikes my fancy, and have enormous pockets to boot.
We always tend to think womenswear has changed dramatically in the centuries whereas menswear has stayed more or less the same. Though this is partially true, style and taste has changed a lot, and the history which has led us to the bermuda pants suit is very fascinating.
So, this May I decided to compile a list of my favorite resources both for tailoring and for the study of classic menswear in general.
Dressing the Man is one of the most popular books on the subject of menswear. From choosing the best color combo for your complexion, to how to pair an odd jacket for 5 different circumstances, to a brief history of classic style, this book has a bit of everything.
I also love this other book, unfortunately only available in Italian, but chock full of pictures and an excellent guide to fabrics. Un bel gioco di successo: Stoffe e colori che passione was written by Gianfranco Rao, of one if the the most well known menswear stores in Torino, Italy–Rao.
Now, moving on to sewing, I think one of the best books on tailoring is Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, which focuses on making a perfect jacket.
I must admit that this, plus stalking a friend who is a tailor, had taught everything I know about tailoring a jacket. In addition to this fundamental book (not to mention to complete the suit, if that’s what you are making), I also recommend a text by the one and only David Page Coffin: Making Trousers for Men and Women. This is one of the first sewing books I ever bought, and has guided me through a barrage of wool pants, not to mention making pants for my husband.
Last but not least, I also can’t recommend Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffe enough. Not all techniques she describes will be applicable, but many will.
Hope this was a useful list of books! Tailoring (and menswear in general) should not be intimidating…or designated to one gender identity alone. So, will you be making some menswear…for everyone soon?
Emilia enjoys black outfits, word puns, and transforming their apartment into a greenhouse. When they are not sewing, they are a researcher in the field of Neuroscience. You can find them on IG @emilia_to_nuno and on her blog.
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