The 1997 trend for super-tight suits has been loosening up lately

The scoop on men’s style

It’s time for Batman and Robin to get new costumes. The supertight look of 1997 — promoted by designers from Tommy Hilfiger to Gucci — is disappearing as fast as the latest Batsequel. Sure, Beck wore a body-clenching suit to last spring’s Grammys. And Michael Keaton looked shrink-wrapped at June’s MTV Movie Awards. But Stan Williams, of the menswear paper DNR, says, ”Guys said, ‘I can’t wear that stuff. No matter how wonderful it looks on a runway.”’ Adds stylist Phillip Bloch, who dresses Jim Carrey and Will Smith, ”Even the extra-larges were still too small.”

So breathe a sigh of relief: At New York’s recent spring ’98 men’s shows, relaxed fit prevailed. Suits hung off the body. Shorts at Nautica and Gene Meyer were baggier. Even John Bartlett, one of tight wear’s biggest advocates, eased up. ”Our slim pant is a little more relaxed,” he admits. ”But I hated the oversized looks of the ’80s. I don’t want to go back there.” Still, a larger cut seems to be the happy medium.