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Hit or Miss - Menswear Autumn 11

In the third and final of this season’s surveys, menswear retailers at Westfield Stratford took an everyman approach for autumn 11 with style options galore.

With Westfield Stratford City open for less than four weeks when Drapers visited for its Menswear Hit or Miss survey, every retailer was expected to be on their best behaviour, so to speak, with freshly trained staff, shiny storefits and the best product all set to impress. And apart from a few disappointments, most lived up to these expectations.

What stood out was how there was something for every shopper. From £9 to £90, from the brightest shade to a muted accent, whether young fashion, value, mainstream or contemporary, each retailer has worked hard to translate trends and ensure they have a wide appeal to drive autumn spending.

There was also a strong push on good-quality fabrics, with the level of quality often defining ‘value’. It was also good to see some retailers celebrating Great British products, with the likes of Topman and Marks & Spencer drawing attention to pieces designed and manufactured in the UK.

In terms of trends, it was all about a modern take on heritage, with a smarter great outdoors look and a winter utility style dominating, as a variety of twists successfully moved styles on from last autumn.

It’s safe to say that autumn 11 is the season of patterned knitwear, with almost every store backing some form of Fair Isle and intarsia jumper or cardigan option, from novelty reindeer prints to subtle Nordic-inspired patterns and colourful Navajo geometrics.

Outerwear also came through as a key category, with workwear-style padded gilets, waxed jackets and country gent quilted coats all standing out. The key outerwear style however was the duffle coat, updated with seafarer-style rope toggles.

Chinos dominated in every shape, style and colour imaginable, from the most directional skinny-fit, twisted-seam drop-crotch versions to plain old straight-cut styles. A new push on cords was also seen and it was good to see coloured trousers moving into the mainstream, breaking up the beiges that have become so common.

The palette for autumn 11 was awash with autumnal shades like moss green and muted berry tones such as burgundy, among mustard and tobacco shades. In contrast, bright pops of colour caught the eye, with blocked shots of electric blue and orange standing out.

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