Clothing: Wooing the Cautious Male

If the men's clothing industry could legislate, Everyman's closet would permanently hold eight suits, one tuxedo, five sports coats, seven pairs of slacks' two topcoats, four hats and 18 shirts—the wardrobe that the industry prescribes as ideal. The average American man has always been much more cautious: he has bought only when he needed to, spent only a modest $133 annually. Result: the industry has long been stationary and profit-starved. In fact, 40 years ago, 1,000,000 more men's suits were turned out than last year, when production was 21.7 million.

At last the men's clothing industry seems to be acquiring a...

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