THE pinstripe might be the fashion statement for which the City is best known, but it’s not a statement people are making too stridently this winter. A couple of years ago, when markets, banks and bonuses were flying high, a loud-as-you-like striped suit was pretty much a required part of every true City boy’s wardrobe. However, yesterday’s flash harry is today’s brash plonker, and subtler tastes are required for more circumspect times. <br /><br />James Sleater, director of Square Mile tailors Cad & the Dandy says very few of the suits he makes now are in high-contrast stripes. “We’re definitely noticing people playing it down,” he says.<br /><br />So what to go for instead this winter? The times may have changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to be positively funereal. A plain dark grey or navy blue suit will never go out of fashion – and if cut well, will always look classy – but there are always options to make things a little more interesting. <br /><br /><strong>SUBTLER WEAVES</strong><br />The cloth itself can make a difference. Flannel is perfect for winter, being warm and comfortable, and the loose nature of the weave and the way it’s treated creates visual depth.<br /><br />“Flannel is a worsted material that’s made in such a way that you get a bit of pile on it, which creates a nicely textured effect,” says Karl Matthews of Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard. For the same reason, flannel will carry a gentle stripe more subtly – Matthews recommends an understated chalk stripe. “It ends up being quite mottled and dusty – and flannel sums up that soft, wrapped-up feel you want for winter, while being very elegant.”<br /><br />According to Grame Fidler, head of menswear at luxury retailer Aquascutum, classic textured weaves give depth and character. Even these are being made subtler. For the chevron-shaped herringbone he advocates choosing a very small, finely woven pattern, and he says even the bolder birds-eye style is becoming a little more delicate than a few years ago.<br /><br />“It’s about adjusting something that’s quite traditional, making it a little less obvious,” he says. “You want something that’s sophisticated, finessed and a little bit different without being overtly so – that’s a very fine line.”<br /><br />If you’re prepared to walk a little more daringly along that line, consider getting a tweed suit. Tweed, of course, is often seen as the preserve of the country shooting set, and traditional tweed is perhaps a little too sturdy for town life. But just as semi-casual tweed jackets are being seen around town this season, more lightweight versions of the cloth are appearing that work beautifully for a winter suit.<br />“You can wear tweed without looking like a court jester,” says Sleater. “It’s being revamped for modern wear so that it’s a lighter, versatile hybrid. You can look smart, without having to look stereotypical – and that’s always a good thing to aim for.” <br /><br /><strong>YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A CUSTOM-MADE OVERCOAT</strong><br />To celebrate the opening of its new premises at Castle Court near Bank station, tailoring practice Cad & the Dandy is offering a free, bespoke overcoat to one City AM reader. Send an email to email@example.com, with the subject heading “City AM”, before midday today, to be entered into a prize draw.