New Book: The Rebel’s Wardrobe

The Untold Story of Menswear’s Renegade Past

Why is it called a polo shirt when it was invented by a tennis player? Did cable-knit sweaters actually help Atlantic islanders identify washed-up fishermen? Was Jacob Davis the first to use rivets to reinforce denim trousers? Those who are more than passingly curious about menswear have asked these questions or questions like them at some point.

Our new book, The Rebel’s Wardrobe, has the definitive answer to these questions and countless others. The book explores the often-surprising origins of the garments that have become so ingrained in our cultures and lifestyles that we find it difficult to imagine a world without them. 

Written by Bryan Szabo, edited by Thomas Stege Bojer, and published by gestalten, The Rebel’s Wardrobe looks beyond denim (the focus of 2016’s Blue Blooded) to the broader world of casual men’s clothing. Brimming with beautiful full-colour illustrations and historical photographs, it is the definitive visual and textual history of rugged and rebellious menswear. 

Workaday staples like the five-pocket jean, the tee shirt, the chino, and the sneaker appear alongside the detailed histories of more niche pieces like the engineer boot, the competition sweater, and the bomber jacket. Each garment (more than 40 in all) is given its own chapter that situates the piece within the cultural and commercial context that first produced it and then made it indispensable.

These are the stories of iconic rebels of the stage and screen and the clothes they wore, but also of the unsung working-class heroes who provided the blueprint for rebellious style. Together, these dashing and daring figures moved utilitarian menswear from the domain of the practical into the world of the fashionable.

The rebel’s wardrobe is filled, not just with clothes, but with incredible stories of grit, courage, and sacrifice. We practitioners of rebel style need to hear these stories to better understand the clothes we wear and why we wear them.

A Sneak Peek Inside the Book

Bryan’s writing is accompanied by detailed illustrations of each item and beautiful photography pulled from the archives that showcase the rich history of iconic and rebellious menswear. 

Below are a few examples of pages from the book.

Support Bryan and Thomas, Buy Your Copy Here

The official launch date for The Rebel’s Wardrobe was October 18th, 2022. You can order your copy directly from the publisher via the links on this page.

When you do so, we earn a small commission, and you support us as the authors. It doesn’t cost you anything extra!

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