In 1991, an Italian publisher commissioned author G. Bruce Boyer to write introductions to a set of oversized paperbound collections of graphics, advertisements and articles from Apparel Arts magazine, the 1930s era menswear trade magazine that eventually morphed into Gentleman's Quarterly. 1500 copies were printed and I searched for one of them for years.
I found a set in Germany last year and got as far as paying for it only to be told the bookstore had sold it out from under me. But then RJ pointed me to another in Italy a few months ago and, after a two month wait for the Italian postal service, it finally arrived.
The text is in Italian which is a challenge for me, but the set contains dozens of graphics that I had not seen before and the original accompanying text is in English. And for my efforts I can better understand what the best dressed men of the time were wearing in an era when there were textile mills aplenty and anything was possible.
No-one in this day and age is likely to wear a gray flannel odd jacket to a warm weather resort as is suggested in the photo immediately above, but a similar effect can be achieved with a lightweight bell hopsack, for example. The navy polo, fawn trousers and red espadrilles are timeless. Similarly, we might not wear the brown gabardine of the photo above it in summer today unless we lived in San Francisco, but the combination shown is still a good one for spring and warm fall.
The search took years, but it was worth it.