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EXPANDING HORIZONS Stretchy fabrics now included in men's suits


"Stretch for success" should be the motto for a lot of the fashion business today. Look at the way leggings and tights have almost become basic necessities for women from infancy to old age.

For example, no one was surprised this fall when the stretchy body suits, tops, skirts, jeans and pants sold out first in Anne Klein Co.'s new A Line sportswear collection.

In fact, the presence of a certain amount of stretchability woven into any kind of fabric is so pervasive today that it helps shape fashion from the heights and prices of Paris' Azzedine Alaia and New York's Donna Karan to the lowliest goods sold by a street vendor.

The next step is to move into men's wear. A few tailors have experimented with stretch yarns in their solid goods, notably Armani.

Now, Donna Karan is going at itin a big way. Her first men's collection, being introduced at Barneys New York on Tuesday, is filled with fabrics laced with stretch, though you'd never know it to see the suits hanging on the racks.

A man has to put a jacket on, particularly a double-breasted one, to appreciate the ease. When he lifts his arm, the whole jacket doesn't follow.

And when he sits down he doesn't have to open the buttons to relax. Once men get used to this sort of thing, there will be no going back.

Now when will stretch expand into domestic items like towels and sheets? Wouldn't that make for sybaritic comfort?

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