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The Measure of a Man

On September 15th, we’ll discuss our next book, the memoir The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit by JJ Lee.

Lee is an unlikely tailor’s apprentice. At 37 years old, he has trained as an architect and worked as a style writer… but he doesn’t actually know how to sew. Ignoring these limitations, he approaches the tailors at an iconic Chinatown shop and ask for a position.

Suits are more than clothes to Lee, and these elderly tailors are more than mentors. In the shop, Lee must face his traumatic past and the legacy of his alcoholic father.


How it works

You can find The Measure of a Man on Amazon or at your local library. It’s also available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and as a Overdrive library ebook (in some regions).

We’ll discuss the book on this blog in three weeks, on September 15th. Let people know you’re reading along with the hashtag #ColetteBookClub. Send any comments or recommendations to

If you can’t find a copy of the book, you should check out Lee’s radio series/podcast, Head to Toe, which you can listen to for free. This series originally aired in Canada in 2014.

The End of Fashion 

Readers were split on our last book, The End of Fashion. While some people loved it, and admitted that they’ve read it more than once, others found a bit dry (though very informative).

Hélène shared an interesting perspective:

“There are several aspects of the fashion industry that I found similar to the home sewing world. For example, cult of personality and personal brand play a huge role in both fashion and sewing pattern retail in a way that I don’t see in many other industries. Where they have Armani and Gucci, we have patterns by Gertie or MimiG and independent pattern companies named for their creators (as I assumed Colette was for some time!). And as garment sewing has become popular again, patterns themselves have been democratized with simpler, more comfortable styles coming to the forefront.”

It’s so interesting to think about the interplay between the fashion industry and the home sewing industry. (Is it just me, or does it sound weird to call home sewing an “industry”?)

The Next Book

Our next book is Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner. This novel imagines the inner life of iconic designer Coco Chanel. It is available at book stores or at your local library. You can read a sample here.

Join the Colette Book Club email list!

Beginning next month all bookclub announcements and reminders will be sent through email. Don’t miss out on any good reads and sign up for the mailing list today.

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Kat Siddle

Kat Siddle is a librarian and fashion school dropout from Vancouver, B.C. She blogs about beauty and sewing at


Dina Warde

August 27, 2016 #

I love the photos of you all floating down the river. Thank you for such an interesting blog.


August 29, 2016 #

Very interesting! The next one looks great.