- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Designers at New York Fashion Week offered fall collections filled with tailored suits and trendy looks for men, and that’s a good thing because men are looking to buy.

Ed Jay, senior vice president for American Express Business Insights, said male fashion customers were exposed to luxury when prices came down during the recession. Analytics from IBM show a projected 8.2 percent rise in men’s sales from 2010 to 2011, and sales are expected to continue to grow in the first three months of 2012.

“What we’ve seen coming out of the recession, you have new brands just for men,” Jay said. “There’s more for men to buy.”

Designers and style watchers say suits are the hot sellers.

“It’s about guys who are 30 buying suits,” said Tyler Thoreson, head of Gilt Groupe’s menswear editorial and creative divisions. “The sort of traditional boxy suit your dad wore to work is not what these guys are wearing. What these guys are wearing is less formal and it’s much more stylish.”

Men have started following fashion blogs and they’re looking to dress up, said menswear designer Michael Bastian.

“The customer, this young guy, is really educated, reads every blog, is all over the Internet and he really has high expectations with his tailored clothing,” Bastian said.

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TOMMY HILFIGER

Tommy Hilfiger told the story of a young cadet’s military and sporty lifestyle in his fall men’s collection.

“It is an academy look that is sophisticated, modern, a touch rebellious but buttoned up,” he said. The show’s notes called the line “a personalized take on military precision.”

The military theme ran through nearly every piece, from four stripes at the wrist cuffs of coats to peacoats with chain embroidery. Zippers detailed the thighs of skinny pants and collars flipped up to reveal leather. Quilted leather was used in gloves and on the sleeves of jackets. Patches were on the inside of elbows, not the usual outside.

There were even smaller touches, too. Hilfiger showed a few turtlenecks, but one model wore a small buckled belt around his neck outside the sweater like a choker necklace.

Colors were rich autumn tones of burgundy, navy, olive and grey.

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