Men and Style
by David Coggins
Harry N Abrams

Poor Toshiro Mifune. Misidentified last year in a Guardian story about why he turned down the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, the Japanese actor now suffers a misspelled surname in this book. But it grates also because that is the only information given in a caption under a large photograph of him rocking slicked-back silvering hair and a dark suit. The photograph may be included in a chapter called “Men of Style” but, with little explanation of its inclusion, readers will be left wondering, if not who, then what, why, when and where. Other aspects of David Coggins’ book are equally random, or “unscientific” as he puts it. Interviews are with friends or other men he finds intriguing. Few are household names (Jay McInerney and Gay Talese being the exceptions). In addition to advice on sartorial rules and dress lessons passed down by fathers, the pages contain musings on beards, ties, hats, the handmade suit and much else besides, although always in bitty segments whose relevance is not always obvious. You will “know stuff” from reading this book. The question is, will you care?