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Summer Suits

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THAT time of year is upon us: the sticky season, when the only suit a man can get excited about has one of two words in front of it: “swim” or “birthday.”


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So some of the recent goings-on in the world of men’s attire seem strangely unseasonal. First, the relentlessly fashionable online retailer Mr Porter is staging a huge suit initiative starting June 6 to coincide with the new season of “Suits,” the television show about two scheming lawyers whose closets are stocked with the aforementioned garments as well as a skeleton or two. There will be a pop-up shop, a fashion show on the High Line, a choreographed appearance of men in suits on bicycles tearing all over town, an iPhoneapp to play Dapper Dan on, and God only knows what else — but it will involve suits.
Just last week, the up-and-coming men’s wear designer Todd Snyder opened a special shop of his practical-but-stylish suiting at Odin, the downtown New York store where one would scarcely expect to find a single suit much less a collection of them. And the unstoppable clothier J. Crew, taking off on the success of its Ludlow suit, recently opened a seductive little shop devoted exclusively to Ludlow suiting on a sleepy corner in TriBeCa. On a recent Saturday the wait for a dressing room was longer than the wait for a table at Super Linda around the corner.
It’s no secret that men’s tailored clothing has been on a roll. According to NPD Group, which tracks the clothing market, for the 12 months ending March 30, 2012, sales of tailored clothing (suits, jackets and trousers) were up 11 percent over the same period in 2011. In an economy in which double-digit growth in any category is remarkable, the fact that 2011’s nearly $4.5 billion market in tailored clothing rose to almost $5 billion this year is extraordinary.
One reason for the climb: a revamped, dressed-up, stripped-down suit that has all but reinvented a moribund idea: the summer suit a man would actually enjoy wearing.

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