perhaps the welfare of leftists is not utmost

Then again, perhaps the welfare of leftists is not utmost in the minds of those who, in the words of editor in chief David Granger, seek to help define “that fine line between pursuing quality and indulging in extravagance.”

Yet, in that same note from Granger, there are clues that the sharp minds at Esquire are well aware that many readers will be more of the Syms educated consumer variety than the Gordon Gekko variety. Leave aside that the paperback version of the Big Black Book is red (“Yes, We Know It’s Red,” the cover notes, pre-empting wisenheimers everywhere). “For the most part,” Granger writes, “we grew up in homes where someone worked hard to provide a living, and most of us had either parents or grandparents who believed in one of the defining character traits of the last century: thrift.”

The good-life gurus ease us in slowly with the at least faintly plausible Hogan leather bomber jacket ($1,590) and the $1,295 Gucci wing-tip shoes. Those are both among “The Essentials.” And here I thought the essentials were my $45 loafers from DSW and my 15-year-old Members Only jacket that my wife is (I’m on to you, honey) secretly planning to give to a shelter next time I leave town (she calls it my “Walter Matthau jacket”).

Much of the pleasure of reading The Big Black Book is derived from being reminded that not everyone works in IT. That is, there are still people like designer Taavo Somer and tailor Martin Greenfield who make vintage suits from dead-stock wool circa 40s and 50s.

I’m not the type of guy who could, with a straight face, wear the handsome stallion-profile ring by David Yurman, but it’s something to aspire to, I realize looking at the characteristically splendid photo from Lendon Flanagan. That’s in a section called “The Little Things,” which also ties vintage to voltage with luxuriously arrayed collections grouping