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Suit design, like all other style trends, is cyclical. Sometimes after a past trend is dusted off it takes a while to settle into an acceptable incarnation for its latest revival, as evidenced by the double-breasted suit—the big box of the '80s wasn't going to work; we all started buying only after the form was trimmed and the traditional rules against soft shoulders and patch pockets were discarded.

Three-piece suits are probably beyond redemption for everyone but elderly bankers and tycoons as the middle layer adds pomposity and little else at the expense of comfort. Waistcoats, same trade-off. The solution is the cardigan as middle layer, offering contrast in both texture and colour. Key here is to go with a very lightweight knit (merino is the obvious choice) that will add minimal bulk as your suit is already likely closely fitted. Swap in and out as necessary; this is an opportunity for creativity that may also obviate the need for an overcoat in borderline weather.

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