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French Connection

While not particularly flashy, the menswear offer is solid - a quality step in the right direction.

For spring 12, French Connection’s menswear range has, without too much pomp and ceremony, managed to balance trend items (strong floral, leaf and spot-printed shirts for example) with wardrobe classics that are that bit better than faster fashion retailers’. A strong beige mac is finished well and has good horn buttons, a quality trim trend that carries through the collection, from a white Oxford shirt with similar buttons to a good waxed padded jacket.

For French Connection’s place in the market, the collection’s attention to fabric and trim gives it enough points of difference to warrant the prices. When basic polos are £27 and good quality T-shirts are £22, the brand is on the right lines - the denim at between £45 and £70 hitting the right price point just below the traditional denim brands. Only one garment bucks the trend: a good-looking cotton/ polyester/cashmere (just 3%)-mix cable knit jumper is pricey at £130.

Simple things like clean, flat, light brushed steel ceiling mounted rails contribute to this pared-back approach and let the clothes do the talking. Nothing is fussy or out of place and the staff were very helpful and charming. Changing rooms are large with a decent mirror but the chinos merchandised on meat hooks make seeing the sizing a challenge. Depth of sizing is good without being cluttered, the only exception being the denim area, while mannequins could be styled better.

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