The Perfect Gentleman, The Pursuit of Timeless Elegance and Style in London, is a very interesting book by James Sherwood that essentially presents the remaining bespoke shirtmakers, shoemakers, jewelers, gunmakers, stationers, umbrella shops and other related purveyors of gentlemen’s requisites in London.
It is full of gorgeous photos of elegant shops, their merchandise, and their emblematic customers like Astaire, Churchill, the Duke of Windsor and the Duke’s grandfather Edward VII reappear with enough frequency to become almost tiresome.
The Perfect Gentleman discusses each shop in individual chapters of several pages of prose studded with interesting factoids and sensuously shot pictures. Perfect in length and depth for the purchaser to peruse for inspiration or aspiration over his morning coffee. Charmingly, however, each set of chapters forms a chronological section, framed with a short history of the styles and fashions of the period during which the shops giving rise to his subtitle’s “timeless elegance” were founded, from the Restoration to the past century.
The Perfect Gentleman commences its survey of stores with the hatters James Lock, founded in 1676, and finishes with discussions of the contemporary shoemakers Gaziano & Girling and the jeweler Shaun Leane. Afterwards follow short pieces on the shopping arcades, hotels, restaurants and men’s clubs that the notional perfect gentleman would patronize, with no surprises.