Once, its classic kit was worn by the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary and Margaret Thatcher. Now Aquascutum, the king of British rainwear, is chasing an altogether cooler clientele. Cat Callender hails the return of the mac

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The men pictured on these pages run vintage clothing stalls and shops, but they usually wear jeans and T-shirts to work. Here they try on modern British suits, and give their verdicts

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TO BE trendy this season you need only sport a decorative hood attached to your coat or top, yet the best-looking hoods around can be found on that most classic of coat shapes: the duffel coat.

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Modelled by Stella Tennant, worn by Jarvis and Noel and shot for the pages of Vogue and Frank, that check is suddenly, unexpectedly hip. James Sherwood reports on the Regent Street revivalists

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One advantage of leaving your Christmas shopping to the last minute is that you can scoop up some bargains in the pre-Christmas sales, says Tamsin Blanchard.

City Breaks: Call me stingy

Call me stingy (as I'm sure the family will, when we exchange presents), but this column's modest end-of-term prizegiving ceremony is about to begin.

Christmas presents: Fashions for men

Wooden toy pistol

Dear Handbag: What is a Tory prime minister without a handbag?

Ruth Picardie, who died yesterday, age 33, wrote extensively and wittily on the features pages of `The Independent'. In October 1993 a TV documentary revealed to her what Thatcher had and Major lacked

Shades of the casting couch

Challenge Charlie; A roll-neck does something for a man. A grey-and-black one does it better.

City+: Is that Lacroix she's wearing?

It could be - or the next best thing, a lookalike from a designer outlet village. Belinda Morris on the smart solution to executive dressing

Crown gets streetwise

New commercial realism has helped the Estate to record profits, writes Dana Rubin

Business News

High street labels are to stage their own rival showcase during London Fashion Week, hoping to benefit from London's cool quota. Participants might include Frank Usher, Jaeger and Mrs Thatcher's favourite, Aquascutum. The event could be launched as early as February 1998.

The Intelligent Consumer: Polo performance

Fine-knit polo shirts, I have decided, are rather scrummy. In winter, a man in a long-sleeved, fine-wool polo shirt can do little wrong in my book. But it's nearly summer, so this week we are looking at short- sleeved, lighter-fabric ones, as modelled by Chris (far right), our in- house model, who likes art, the opera, sport and standing around pensively doing things with his hands. Anyway, polo shirts: they aren't as obvious as your bog-standard man's cotton shirt (and easier to wear because they don't need ironing, yeah!), yet they aren't as sporty as those in textured cotton (think Lacoste). At the big, grown-up, designer end, Nicole Farhi and Paul Smith make some of the best, although I have a bit of a penchant for John Smedley ones in the silk-like Sea Island cotton (if you've never stroked someone who's wearing Sea Island cotton, get them to a John Smedley stockist and make them try one on, for goodness sake). So ragazzi, there is no excuse for shabby T-shirts, creased shirts or string vests this summer. AB
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