BOUND TO PLEASE / His shirt may be gingham, but his smile is houndstooth

The Japan News

By Tom Baker / Japan News Staff WriterMenswear Dog Presents the New Classics: Fresh Looks for the Modern Man

By David Fung and Yena Kim

Artisan, 157pp

Have you ever purchased an item of clothing because you liked the way a model looks in it? Have you then realized that your curves don’t fit into that dress quite the way her curves do, or that wearing his shirt doesn’t give you his flat belly and piercing gaze?

Well, you needn’t worry about that as you page through “Menswear Dog Presents the New Classics.” The dozens of spiffy ensembles shown in the book’s photos are all seen on just one model. His name is Bodhi, and you can have no illusions about ever looking as adorable as he does.

Bodhi is a dog.

Fashion designer and photographer Yena Kim and her husband, graphic designer David Fung, dressed their Shiba Inu up in everything from tank tops to trench coats to tuxedos, photographing him in a variety of settings. Each portrait is accompanied by a description of what Bodhi has on.

It must be said that short sleeves are not terribly flattering when you’ve got arms like fuzzy broomsticks — sorry, Bodhi — but in most of the photos he looks handsome and happy. In fact, in his more formal ensembles, he cuts quite a dashing figure.

If you are a serious clotheshorse, you may enjoy this book without learning anything new, but it does have a few helpful tips for beginners.

Here’s its advice on how to wear a floral shirt as part of a semiformal outfit: “Avoid looking over-the-top by choosing smaller-scaled designs — they will seem like textures or allover prints from afar. And as with any other busy pattern, keep the rest of your outfit muted for a good balance.”

Sometimes the advice takes the form of gentle admonition: “Gingham should become your go-to checked pattern … Just don’t wear more than one gingham item per outfit, or you might end up looking like a picnic table.”

Speaking of admonitions, “Menswear Dog” includes lists of dos and don’ts, one of which should be brought to the attention of a certain person who is prominent on the world scene these days: “Don’t let your tie hang below your belt.”

Speaking as a non-clotheshorse myself, I’ll admit that “Menswear Dog” added at least two new words to my vocabulary. One of them is “chambray,” a fabric that resembles denim but is “lightweight and thin enough for layering and soft to the touch.”

The other word is “Henley,” the name for a casual pullover shirt — usually long-sleeved — with a round, collarless neckline and a short row of buttons extending down the chest. It looks masculine, athletic and so wonderfully old-fashioned that if you were to sew a nametag onto one it would have to read, “Call me Ishmael.”

There’s also a very light sprinkling of trivia, such as the fact that Panama hats actually originated in Ecuador.

So, go ahead and enjoy the photos of Bodhi looking fabulous as he models an array of smart clothes. You can always save yourself from jealousy with the thought that at least you’ve got better arms than he does.

Where to Read

In a leather armchair in a wood-paneled den, with a snifter of brandy and a bowl of dog biscuits close at hand.

Maruzen price: ¥2,960 plus tax (as of July 21, 2017)Speech

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