Man Fashion: Summer Stripes Fashion

    Just as summer finally hots up, man fashion stores are already filling up with wintry clothes - it's hardly ready-to-wear. The month of July and August is always the Bermuda Triangle of clothes shopping, when the fashion- hungry have to use their wardrobe like a store cupboard - to be stocked up with woollen goodies which aren't quite ready for wearing.

    Everyone knows that new clothes have to be worn right now, not next month, and although a few die-hard fashion followers might be prepared to sweat out the rest of the summer in Prada's cashmere cape or Balenciaga's double- breasted suit, most of us would rather keep cool in the more literal sense of the word.

    Yet, by August, there's an understandable reluctance to splash out on a summer trend that might very well look stale before the month is out. So forget CK and Gucci - only a few trends are going to make it to the end of the summer season, and right up there in the lead is stripes.

    The stripe may be the insignia of this particular summer, but there are a handful of designers who always step in line, particularly, man fashion designers such as Paul Smith and Jean Paul Gaultier as stalwart supporters who have made them a signature for their labels.

    Both Smith's English Eccentric version of multicoloured vertical stripes and Gaultier's traditional navy-and-white Breton pattern are having their time in the sun. They chose their trademarks well, because stripes, more than polka dots or houndstooth check, are a classic. That's why they don't suffer for appearing late in the season. In their simplest form, stripes can cast off any designer reference to Fifties beachwear or Sixties Op Art, and only seem clean and modern.

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