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High street harvest

Monochrome and steel looks prevail for autumn 07 menswear, as the high street turns to detailing to liven up the basics

CONTEMPORARY

DEBENHAMS

TRENDS

Crisp shirts, slim trousers, db outerwear and fine and chunky knits are in most contemporary men's ranges this season, but Debenhams delivers them with aplomb. With a focus on nailing key items, the steel-shade parkas, leather bombers and oversize knits fit the bill. All feature lavish details that contrast with the muted grey palette, interspersed with lemon and cobalt.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

The pared-down and sophisticated style has appeal across the ages, while the huge breadth of price points (£5 to £250) will lure a mix of shoppers. Looks tend to steer clear of casual basics and there is lots of value to be had.

FRENCH CONNECTION

TRENDS

French Connection's clever details add value to the clean lines and muted palette of a British heritage-inspired range. Shrunken trenches and pared-down pea coats are joined by crisp slim-fit shirts, skinny ties and rustic micro-check jackets. With highlights including cobalt blue, chartreuse and burgundy, the muted palette and traditional tones are bang up to date.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

French Connection's problem has been trying to justify its slightly-too-high prices on a value-led high street, but this Reiss-like range helps to rectify the problem. Added details on the slimmer silhouettes are worth the extra few quid.

HOUSE OF FRASER

TRENDS

Like every other men's range on the high street, House of Fraser steers clear of colour, and only tags on some nu-rave luminosity in its branded buy. HoF own-label Linea embraces the monochrome trend on slim lines including 3sb tailoring, long-line cardigans, white shirts and fine-gauge knits with skinny ties. A buttery soft black leather jacket ups the ante in terms of detailing, but overall this is about layered, moody understatement.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Linea's silhouettes and styles are appealing, but it lacks the details of rival collections. The layering is spot on and offers insurance against erratic weather. But, leathers aside, the offer has a basic feel, sitting well below the aspirations of HoF's branded side. This may mean that customers choose to go elsewhere for key pieces.

REISS

TRENDS

The autumn offer at Reiss is more eclectic than its spring 07 range. Striped T-shirts, three-quarter-length trench coats and slouchy hooded cardies share rail space with slim-fitting jeans. The focus is on the top half, with knits coming up trumps. Tailoring is also strong. But the men's autumn range compares poorly to the women's, with leather outerwear a particular letdown.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

It's a tough call - the slouchy knits, tapered cavalry twill trousers and knitted lounge pants are perhaps too fringe in terms of trend relevance. But there's still plenty for Reiss's target market, from shawl-collared chunky knits to raspberry mini trench coats.

YOUNG FASHION

BURTON

TRENDS

As ever, the bulk of Burton's offer is made up of relaxed-fit denim, crumpled laundered shirting and lightweight knits, but this season there are a selection of more fashion-forward pieces to tempt more adventurous customers. Canvas and nylon bomber jackets sit alongside checked slacks, chunky zip-through knits and cardigans in primary colours. Combat trousers and skinny jeans are all present and correct, while coats and jackets are strong.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Burton has upped its casualwear offer this season and broken out of the jeans, T-shirt and knit combo, with a scattering of pieces that bridge the gap between the directional and the predictable. Meanwhile, 3sb classic navy or grey pinstripe suits at £99 enable the retailer to maintain its cheap and cheerful reputation for tailoring.

H&M

TRENDS

The slim lines of H&M's contemporary-styled summer offer continue alongside more relaxed silhouettes for autumn. Its fashion-forward range delivers 1970s-style tailoring in softer, deluxe-look fabrics with patch pockets padding out the bodyline. Tonics add shimmer to suits while matt looks permeate outerwear, where glamorous detailing includes fake fur collars, leather tipping and buckle fastenings on knits and coats. Colours are subdued and autumnal, with grey and brown shades interspersed with black and white heavy-gauge knits.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

The details are slightly outre, and the vintage style will encourage youthful shoppers to dress up. But overall the soft-touch apres-ski looks are ripe for layering and offer enough variety of weights to insure against a mild winter. If prices stay the same, the store's tailoring and knitwear will tempt shoppers.

NEW LOOK

TRENDS

New Look's menswear continues to grow in strength. The autumn collection is all about slimline silhouettes, flashes of bright colour and dressed-down super-slick tailoring. Key items include a yellow cardigan, skinny-ribbed hoody knit, grey wash carrot-leg jeans and some excellent grey tailoring in either 2sb or a body-conscious Prince of Wales check. The geometric print hoodies are another highlight, while the Hug-A-Hoodie print should win some smiles.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

With New Look still establishing exactly who its men's target market is, the autumn collection is granted a degree of creative freedom, and gives Topman indie kids plenty of opportunities to look different from everyone else at a Bloc Party gig. Particular highlights of the range include the jersey and blouson prints, knits and tailoring. All New Look needs to do now is pay a little more attention to its menswear retail environments.

TOPMAN

TRENDS

Following several seasons of rock 'n' roll styling, Topman takes a more masculine approach to autumn 07. Heavy-knit cardigans, grandad shirts, wool trench coats and laundered parkas feature. More youth-driven stories include a 1980s theme that takes in animal prints across knits and denim, and a rebel theme with bomber jackets and neat gingham checked shirts. The more directional Topman Design range offers more of the same, with quirkier styling including grey felt suiting, a yellow patent duffle coat and a waxed nylon tuxedo jacket.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Although the four main trends tend to blur in terms of styling, the move away from the skinny rock story will be a welcome relief to those who didn't buy into the look and have probably shopped elsewhere since it took hold. That said, skinny denim still features, so followers of the trend won't be disappointed.

MAINSTREAM

AUSTIN REED

TRENDS

Austin Reed's English Eccentric story continues for autumn, with bright ties and pinstripes still important. The colour palette is dominated by deep shades of plum and black, with floral brocade and iridescent finishes featuring on shirting. A more traditional look is also evident, with 1sb and 2sb suiting, trench coats and windowpane check tweeds at the fore.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Despite the odd design twist this is a predictable but well executed range. The balanced mix of outerwear, suiting, shirting and knitwear creates a head-to-toe wardrobe for the classic customer, while an effort to present more on-trend pieces produces some chunky knitwear.

BHS

TRENDS

Although the press show was dominated by the casual basics that have long formed the core of Bhs's menswear offer, its new Trait range offers an entirely different take. With slim-fit suits and separates alongside fine and chunky knitwear in a muted palette, Trait offers a sophisticated, contemporary look that is a world away from the piques, striped T-shirts and combats of Bhs's weekend clobber.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

At last, a clear direction for Bhs menswear. But while this is genuinely interesting product, the way it is marketed and merchandised will be crucial in getting feet through the door and the pounds out of shoppers' pockets. This is new territory for Bhs and it will have to work hard to encourage these customers into its stores.

MARKS & SPENCER

TRENDS

Direction at Marks & Spencer comes from a masculine, military story with a Soviet tinge. A red, black and grey palette comes through on heavy knitwear and coats. The look segues into a 1980s story that references Richard Gere circa American Gigolo, with boxy leather jackets, slim-cut chinos and crisp white shirts redolent of casual luxury. Overall, a smarter element is added to M&S's casual styling. Meanwhile, an ever-widening range of pricing and quality forms a breathtakingly huge depth of tailoring, with suits from less than £50 up to £500, including styles embracing luxury and technical fabrics.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

It looks like a strong season ahead for M&S's menswear, and with each store buying product relevant to their area, this will mean more variety in each store. But the offer is a consistent, well-executed balance of wearability with genuine injections of style.

NEXT

TRENDS

Next's collection reads like a stock-take at Topman: chunky knits, wet-look nylon blousons, lumberjack shirts, skinny ties, waistcoats and fluorescent logo T-shirts all-over repeat graphic tops. But these are wisely diluted styles that offer less directional shoppers a foothold on trends. This is all backed by a solid tailoring offer that includes a heavy grey wool 2sb three-piece suit and the de rigueur trench coat.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

There will undoubtedly be enough of the easy- to-wear styles to comfort regular Next shoppers, but the retailer's autumn product range has been tweaked to offer more fashionability and an extra dose of quality to coincide with the revamp of its stores. The blend of diluted trends and quality fabrics should be enough to inspire more spend from its existing shoppers and could even help to lure back a few lost customers.

VALUE

GEORGE AT ASDA

TRENDS

Focusing on wardrobe classics, George at Asda offers a raft of colour-dictated styles across fine knitwear, T-shirts and polo shirts. Suiting remains central to the offer, and three-piece 2sb styles have impact. Duffle coats and Nordic-inspired intarsia knitwear are key looks with a casualwear focus.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Unlike its womenswear offer, George's menswear collection has broad appeal. This pick 'n' mix approach means that both late teens and 40-plus customers should find something they like, which makes George perfect for female shoppers picking up pieces for the men in their life while wandering around the supermarket. That said, the menswear offer is starting to look a bit tired - there are only so many V-neck jumpers a man can buy before looking elsewhere for something more interesting.

MATALAN

TRENDS

Military green, mustard and lilac dominate at Matalan, with black and grey in the background. Soft military and Eastern Bloc influences are evident on the retailer's heavy outerwear, fake fur Cossack hats and epaulette-adorned shirts. Three-piece suits, pea coats, trenches and lambswool hoodies are all in the mix, alongside a PU bomber jacket. The offer is about delivering key looks at low prices.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

With so many high street players adding quality to their basics, it's tough for Matalan, whose battle is to deliver trends at cheap-as-chips prices. But there are enough details to arouse shopper interest and the basics are good value, with a Fair Isle V-neck for £14 and a grey marl hoody at £7.

SAINSBURY'S TU

TRENDS

Tu's autumn 07 menswear collection is split between on-trend basics and formalwear, epitomised by its suiting offer. Highlights include a navy or grey two-button suit, with jackets at £65 and trousers at £35. On a more casual front there is plenty on offer, including khaki combats, chunky knits and camel pleat cords. Outerwear is another highlight, comprising leather jackets, padded gilets and suede coats.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Tu's menswear collection featured in the brand's first ever catwalk show, but the range was less trend-led than the women's range. With formalwear as its biggest growing category, Tu's spring 08 offer focuses on smart tailoring, as it tries to tempt Next customers. There are still plenty of bargain basics, which will encourage wives to buy for their spouses.

TESCO

TRENDS

Tesco's F&F outerwear is a key category, delivering suede jackets and navy woollen pea coats in clean silhouettes. But the F&F highlight is Heritage, the premium, fashion-led collection. With leather jackets at £90 and lambswool jumpers for £25, the classic take on trends is more fashion- forward, but still has a commercial feel. The more casual Cherokee range offers black leather bombers, khaki parkas and lightweight utility jackets. Denim ranges from dark straight-leg jeans to dirty washes on relaxed fits.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

F&F is well suited to supermarket customers, with watered down but sophisticated trends for a mainstream market. It dovetails neatly with Cherokee's safe but appealing basics. Prices are keen, with cargos at £15 and leather jackets for just £50.

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