Dept. of Dead Trees

Choice Excerpts from Hardy Amies' 1964 Classic, "ABC of Men's Fashion"

The famed Savile Row tailor — and dressmaker to the Queen — on just what a man needs to know in order to live a stylish life.

To say that Hardy Amies was a man of many achievements would be an understatement of Herculean proportion. On the men’s side of things, we know him as a Savile Row tailor, and the author of ABC of Men’s Fashion, the 1964 mini encyclopedia proclaiming to gents at home and abroad the author’s personal observations, beliefs, and rules of style. But Amies was also a brilliant journalist, the official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth, an Officer of the Order of the Crown (i.e. a Knight), and a highly successful lieutenant in the Second World War who was instrumental in the capture and elimination of key Nazi conspirators. Not bad for a man who his superior officers described as “Far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest. He possesses a keen brain and an abundance of shrewd sense. His only handicap is his precious appearance and manner, and these are tending to decrease.” Amies died in 2003 at the ripe old age of 93, but his wisdom — and namesake fashion house — live on today. We’ve got an exceptional selection of product on Gilt today, but before you shop…

Below, some quotes from his book that have stood the test of time (and even better, some that haven’t).

On sartorial nonchalance: “A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”

On what lies beneath: “Underwear should be as brief as wit and as clean as fun.”

On the semiotics of style: “To discuss a man’s wardrobe is really to discuss a man’s life. For the kind of clothes he has in it reveals his way of life; and their condition and degree of fashionableness will show his character…”

On nationalistic headgear: “A bowler hat should never be worn abroad, never by foreigners, and Americans who attempt to do so should be fined.”

On the best reason for marriage:Everybody knows that trousers have to be kept well pressed and nearly everyone knows how to do it. If you haven’t been in the Services then get a wife and train her.”

On weight loss: “If you are vain enough, as I hope you are, to read this book, surely you can be vain enough to want to make yourself less fat.”

On zippers: “Few people know how they work, and many are still therefore wrongly suspicious of them.”

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