Fashion: The City falls to its knees

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The Independent Online

Even at the best of times, British men are not known for their effortless chic. But when temperatures rise, things can get particularly frightening. From the classic knotted-handkerchief pate-protector to David Beckham in that sarong, summer is the season that masculine style always manages to forget.

As if things aren't bad enough on the beach, the average businessman-about-town provides equal cause for concern. While in winter he might favour a conservative two-piece suit and shirt, in summer he likes to ring the changes with, er, a conservative two-piece suit and shirt, perhaps accessorised with an unsightly sweat patch or two.

Thank heaven, then, for the tailors of Savile Row making a valiant attempt at saving the British male from the sartorial abyss. This season, modern man has no excuse for failing to update his workwear, thanks to couture house Hardy Amies, which has reissued the "shorts suit" first sent down the runway in 1961.

The idea for the shorts suit came to the late Sir Hardy while he was holidaying in Australia in the 1950s, where he noticed the need for a smart solution to dressing in a balmy climate. While it might not have captured everyone's imagination back then, a number of designers seem confident it can do the job now, with Balenciaga, Miu Miu and Thom Browne all offering their own versions.

Quite how many investment bankers will be seen sporting the look in the City this summer remains to be seem, but it's a well-known fashion trend that when economies falter, hemlines rise. Given the current credit crisis, they're lucky to be revealing only their knees.