Once upon a time there used to be a thing called a magazine ... yes, you might remember it!
As good as some news-sites and blogs are, perhaps the trusty magazine isn’t out for the count just yet.
One of the finer specimens that I’ve come across recently is Esquire’s ‘Big Black Book 2007’ on US import, which is packed to the brim with great style without the kind of pretentious photography that can leave the all-important clothes/products so obscured these days.
And what's interesting, is that whilst media 2.0 goes increasingly reader-centric, it would appear that the fading men’s lifestyle magazine is staging somewhat of an advisory-style comeback. But whereas in the eighties it was all about embracing prescriptive looks, codes, rules etc. all rather literally, its 2007 reprise comes with an ironic knowing wink.
So here are 10 law-like reasons on why any aspiring neo-yuppie should buy a copy - or risk expulsion from ‘high society’ forthwith! ;)
1. You get a ‘black book’ for the price of a magazine
2. It’s not actually black, it’s red!
3. It’s officially ‘The Style Manual for Successful Men’ – it says so on the front cover. You want to be successful, right?
4. Find out ‘The Essentials: The most vital and stylish possessions a man can own [that] are some of the ones that help him enjoy life’
5. Familiarise yourself with ‘The New Authentics: four modern masters [that] look to the past and fuse time-honoured techniques with traditional cloths for results that look surprisingly contemporary’
6. The suit is shrinking. Find out why
7. An interesting essay on ‘The Long Road – now that luxury is ubiquitous, it takes special effort to create – and obtain – something truly special’
8. A nice overview of ‘The Bespoke Life – the unique experiences, the extraordinary objects, and the singular luxuries of a customized world,’ including the suit, the shirt, the shoes and the vacation.
9. A brilliant section at the back on grey sugar paper (for effect), slickly named ‘The Information’. It covers maintenance (cogent wisdom and sage advice on keeping body, soul, and all your stuff in prime condition); formality (because serious business requires a little thought and effort); informality (everything you need to know about dressing down but not out) and best of all, etiquette (a quasi-scientifical guide to modern civility and human behaviour). The 'casualometer' is also worth checking out - a rare journo-structuralist encounter that I'm sure Claude Lévi-Strauss would approve of.
Here are some tasters ... [note: legal team, please don't hurt me, surely you can see how I'm positively publicising your magazine here!]
10. And finally, in the words of the editor himself ...
[T]his volume of our Big Black Book contains many of the best things on earth … We explore what sets some things apart from others: We [tell] the stories behind the best objects ever made. We [try] to demonstrate the difference between that which is truly valuable and that which is merely expensive.
I really like this angle on luxury - sounds like a sensible rapprochement of brand and product.