It’s been a while since we brought you a favourite five hasn’t it? Sorry everyone, it’s because we’ve far been too busy reading dead good books on menswear to get off up our arses and do you some new ones. Which is somewhat ironic as we’ve just finished going through ‘Men and Style‘ and were so impressed with the unique execution of this thoroughly intriguing and entertaining new book that we decided to ask it’s author to give us five. When not writing cutting edge literature about the male sense of dress or compiling lists for us David Coggins is contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler as well as a regular writer for A Continuous Lean.
‘Do You Remember England?’ Derek Marlowe
Possibly the greatest modern book that’s out of print. Derek Marlowe’s wistful 1972 novel follows the path of Dowson in his green velvet suit (“not quite moss-green somewhat darker”) and echoes the heartbreaking arc of Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier. Its tragic conclusion feels well earned and you won’t believe this book wasn’t always part of your life.
Should Robert Smith lighten up on the makeup? Should he stop wearing shoes that belong on a basketball court? Absolutely! But the Cure still hold sway in my heart—I would have been a good misanthropic art student in London in the 80s but alas it wasn’t meant to be. I saw them this summer, the set was three and a half hours long and absolutely stunning. Was that a tear in my eye when they started playing ‘A Forest’? It might have been. Thankfully I wasn’t wearing any makeup.
Ranch at Rock Creek / Montana
I try to go fly fishing whenever I can, and that means an annual pilgrimage to Montana. The Ranch at Rock Creek is more refined than rugged, and set on the scenic Rock Creek. If you care about such things, head there in early June during the fabled Salmon Fly hatch. It’s a financial commitment for sure, if you want a more modest location with historic fishing options head to the Sportsman Motel in Melrose. No-nonsense, no-frills and no complaints at about $60/night (but that includes free ice!). It’s close to the legendary Big Hole river. Think May or October to avoid crowds.
The older I get the more I respond to dead Italian painters—is that true of other people as well? We can get into the reasons for that another time. But when I’m in Florence for work and I always take time to see the wonderful Giotto frescoes in Santa Croce of the life of St. Francis. Next door is the Pazzi Chapel, a nearly perfect building. Beyond that is the peaceful cloister where the monks used to live—it’s one of the world’s truly civilised settings.
The knit tie suits most men. It offers colour, texture and low-key formality. My friends at Drake’s make a beautiful selection, in silk, in wool. We even made a series together that are coming later this fall. Have a few in your arsenal and you’ll be surprised how often you wear them, but not surprised at how good you look.