buy me: Docker chinos
What is a man to wear to work on Fridays now that mufti is increasingly the mode? Halfway between jeans and formal trousers are chinos, which are now becoming as commonplace in most men's wardrobes as the denim shirt. And the ultimate in chinos - the range includes more than five different styles - is about to hit London.

Dockers by Levi Strauss & Co are the biggest-selling brand in the United States. That's a lot of chinos - one in five American men owns a pair of Dockers. Their popularity has grown with the move to casualwear, which has opened up a new market in men's clothing.

Research by Levi Strauss's marketing department has revealed that more than two-thirds of business corporations in the United States allow casual dress on a full- or part-time basis. The Americans have found that allowing staff to wear what they want to work not only improves morale, but also increases productivity.

The trend is being echoed here, with City banks finally loosening their ties and unbuttoning their waistcoats. As more and more British companies follow suit, companies such as Levi Strauss are pushing to be the label on most men's "casual but smart" bottoms.

American Dockers are a lowest-common-denominator product, but the British version is designed in Europe and made, the company claims, of best-quality cotton that has been produced in an environmentally friendly way. As well as the classic double-pleat chino, there is a flat-fronted version in corduroy that comes 501-style with a button-fly, or with zip. And the trousers are available in all shapes and sizes: if your waist measurement is the same as your inside leg, Dockers will try to accommodate you.

Dockers are available exclusively from Selfridges, from pounds 49.95; enquiries 0171-629 1234. They will be more widely available from next month.

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