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The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father,…

The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit

by JJ Lee

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“The suit tells the tale of the man who wears it.” In the Measure of a Man, Lee sets out to alter his deceased father’s suit in an attempt to understand how the threads of his own life were woven. The alteration process releases long dormant memories of a childhood filled with alcoholism and abuse but it also allows him to get closer to understanding his father.

Interwoven with stories of the alteration, Lee’s childhood, and his apprenticeship at a Gastown tailor, are sections on the history and evolution of the suit. Lee’s description of the people and events that influenced the changing styles of suits was quite interesting, so much so that now I notice lapels and how many buttons are done up on a man’s suit! His fashion intervention of a graduate struggling to find a suit at The Bay was heartwarming. Grads and best men would do well to take his advice on boutonnieres this June. ( )
  Lindsay_W | May 1, 2016 |
Reviewed here.
  scott.neigh | Aug 26, 2012 |
This is a phenomenal book which spans the topics of sociology, personal attire and its historical evolution, and personal development in relationships with the self and others. Reading this will teach you about tailoring, political and class history, art and the artist, and about men as fathers and men as sons. Read this for pleasure, give a copy to a new father, or your own father, or your grandfather; women in the same stages of their lives will also appreciate this. This is the perfect book to give anyone, whether they wear suits or merely like looking at others wearing them. This is the best memoire I've ever read, mostly due to the variety of information in the book as well as the excellent quality of the writing. Do not walk, but run to your local bookshop to buy a copy of J.J. Lee's The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit. ( )
  iamiam | Mar 22, 2012 |
JJ Lee tells the sad story of his relationship with his father as he alters his father's suit. Wonderful story intertwined with the history of the man's suit. Thoroughly enjoyable read! ( )
  hvanwillegen | Nov 5, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0771046472, Hardcover)

FINALIST - Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction (2012)
FINALIST - Governor General's Literary Award - Non-Fiction (2012)
FINALIST - BC Book Prize's Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (2012)
A son’s decision to alter his father’s last surviving suit for himself is the launching point for this powerful book – part personal memoir, part social history of the man’s suit – about fathers and sons, love and forgiveness, and learning what it means to be a man.
For years, journalist and amateur tailor JJ Lee tried to ignore the suit hanging at the back of his closet. It was his father’s suit. But when JJ decides to make the suit his own, little does he know he is about to embark on a journey to understand his own past.
As JJ cuts into the jacket, he begins to piece together the story of his relationship with his father, a charismatic but troubled Montreal restauranteur whose demons brought tumult upon his family. JJ also recounts his own ups and downs during the year he spent as an apprentice at Modernize Tailors – the last of the great Chinatown suitmakers in Vancouver – where, under the tutelage of his octogenarian master tailor, he learns invaluable lessons about life. Woven throughout JJ’s tale are stories of the suit’s own evolution, illuminating how this humble garment has, for centuries, been the surprising battleground for the war between generations.
Written with great wit, bracing honesty, and narrative verve, and featuring line drawings throughout by the author, The Measure of a Man is an unforgettable story of love, forgiveness, and discovering what it means to be your own man.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:03 -0400)

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