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Mark Kennedy

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11/2/2007 10:52:00 AM   
Ex-merchandiser releases 'menswear bible'
Author passing on his knowledge of the industry
We all know what Bermuda shorts are, but if you had to, could you give them a technical, Webster's Dictionary-like definition?

If not, but you'd like to hear one, try this: "Bermuda Shorts - A particular type of short trousers. They are popular in Bermuda and, unusually in business, are acceptable (even encouraged) for work and other occasions where full length trousers would normally be deemed appropriate."

That's one of the roughly 2,700 definitions found in a book on menswear written by veteran merchandiser Richard Woolnough.

His new 400-page, 'The A to Z Book of Menswear' is a compellation of terms and definitions of all things menswear. As he puts it, "[the book] covers everything from the clothing on the rack to the first stitch in the fabric and before that - to the wool on the sheep's back, or the gum in the silk worm's mouth."

After cutting his teeth in the men's clothing boutiques of London, Mr. Woolnough came to Bermuda in the late 1960s to work as a buyer for Trimingham's.

Having nearly four decades of experience in men's clothing retail, he came to realize that there was a whole slew of industry-related jargon that someone should write down, and he took upon himself to do so.

"One of the things I discovered over the huge amount of time in the industry is that you pick up and store [different terms] in your brain."

With his new book, he said, "you can pass it on to newer people in the industry."

Mr. Woolnough originally wanted to pass on this information through an autobiographical account of his life he planned to call 'The Life and Times of a Menswear Buyer.'

"But after I got to the end of the first page, I realized how boring it was," he said.

His book, which officially went up for sale on Wednesday, is being sold on a print-to-order basis from the retail site for $24.95.

It also can be translated into 10 different languages, he said.

And though it's only been on the cyber-shelves for two days, a U.K. magazine is already expressed interest in ordering a copy of the book, Mr. Woolnough said.

His target audience are those in the retail, wholesale and manufacturing sectors of the menswear business, as well as students of fashion and retail, who could use a comprehensive book.

Now more than ever, the book could become a reference tool for tailors and men's clothing retailers as men become more fashion-savvy.

"I think men in general are getting more knowledgeable in what they wear, and they want the people selling to them to be knowledgeable," Mr. Woolnough said.

But he's the first to acknowledge that there are so many more terms that could have been included in work, and he's already added more definitions on his website,

And with this book's completion, Mr. Woolnough said he's working on a second piece he intends to call 'The A to Z Book of Retailing.'

That'll be for general, across-the-board terms used in retail," he said.

Like his first work, he expects to complete that one in about two years.

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Author and men’s clothing industry guru Richard Woolnough. Photo by Mark Kennedy
‘The A to Z Book of Menswear’
Author: Richard Woolnough

Tel: 295-0951


To place an order for the book, visit

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