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Fashion for men

What to wear is not just a female quandary. Gone are the days of the gray-flannel-suit uniform. Choices have been broadened by designers borrowing from the Peacock Revolution of the '60s/'70s, the casual Fridays of the '80s and the ''creative black-tie'' of the '90s. No wonder today's men are puzzled over style.

Men's fashions are as fickle as women's. Jacket lengths, like hemlines, now go up and down. Prices only go up.

Since a guy's choices have become almost as broad as a woman's, he would do well to learn what many women know: how to shop. With designer T-shirts and jeans in the hefty three figures, there are men for whom staying au courant is worth the investment. Many, however, look at such spending with disdain, yet they will blow far more on electronic gizmos guaranteed to become obsolete faster than the designer T-shirt will fade.

To look good, money helps. But the real investment is thought. What looks good on me? How much should I spend? Fortunately, here too the choices are broad.

Men's apparel grew into a $53 billion industry last year, at a faster rate than the $101 billion women's market, which means guys are updating their wardrobes -- like women have always been telling them to do. That growing industry wants you to keep updating, and brands that sell moderately priced jeans and T-shirts hire their own (anonymous) designers to keep up with the trends.

And what are they keeping up with? Coral Gables-based bespoke tailor and men's fashion designer Christian García sees a return to the Peacock Revolution among young and middle-young men. ''Once again, men want color -- even a daring style. What they don't want is a uniform,'' he says.

''The difference is a tinge of classicism that wasn't present in that era,'' García adds. ``And American men are adopting a European tendency: to buy less goods but of higher quality and with a well developed consciousness of design.''


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