Fall is a fun time of year for men's fashions, said Tim Sitzmann, store manager at Mr. B. The basic pants and shirt outfit gets traded for a more layered look.

This year Des Moines retailers are emphasizing higher-quality versatile pieces that are more casual and full of color.

Last year, the dominant color was gray, said Hal Wilson, manager of Sarto, a high-end European-inspired clothing store, but this year it's navy. That's not to say it's the only color standing out in stores. Men are also interested in flashy colors that make a tie, shirt or a combination of the two pop. John Berardi, co-owner of Berardi Bros., a custom tailor and fine clothing store that recently relocated to West Glen, said he's seen everything from blues to lavender and hot pink.

Men also seem to want a more casual style as workplaces move toward a business casual dress code, Wilson said. The sports coat is the key component to this season's wardrobe because it can be paired with a bright shirt and tie for more casual look during the workday or dress up a pair of denim jeans or corduroy pants on nights and weekends, making it arguably the most versatile piece of clothing.

"We're seeing a lot of excitement in sport coat business with relationship to jeans and corduroys," said Sitzmann. "The sport jacket provides an accent piece."

Most casual sports jackets don't include shoulder pads, which allows the jacket to conform to the body for a more relaxed look. Colors and patterns are popular for this type of jacket, especially windowpane instead of pin stripes.

Those purchasing a more traditional suit will find coats with side vents rather than a slit in the back of the coat, a British style, Sitzmann said. They may also see earth tones such as browns and rust colors in addition to the traditional navy, black and deep grays.

"You can still buy a basic color in a jacket and suit and find value by changing accessories or color with the season," said Wilson. Increasingly, a more traditional suit is being paired with a vibrant shirt and tie combo that complement each other without matching in color exactly. When making these purchases, keep these on-trend ideas in mind.

Shirt. Chocolate brown, sage green and other darker earth tones are popular for the fall, says Wilson, along with stripes and patterns, according to Berardi and Sitzmann.

Ties. Paisley prints are going to dominate for the next couple of years, Wilson said, not just in ties, but also in shirts and jackets. Berardi agrees that a neater pattern with a vivid color is in style. Sitzmann says many of the season's ties have bright greens, oranges, gold and yellows, but for the more sophisticated suit, men are sticking with cranberries, reds and deep navies.

Pants. Corduroy is THE pants material this season, especially one that is made from a wool microfiber blend so it doesn't wrinkle and is very comfortable. "You put the pants on and don't want to take them off," said Berardi. Sitzmann has noticed a change to more casual flat pants, unless customers want a dressy suit, which requires pleats. Taupe and olive are great fall colors, he said, although many still stick with the traditional gray, black and navy to match their sports coat.

Shoes. For the casual look, distressed suede is in style and pairs well with jeans for a funky look as well as corduroys. The trend with shoes that pair with suits is clean and classic leather, said Wilson. His store offers a leather shoe a cobbler made from a single piece of leather. Although dressy shoes tend to be more traditional than in years past, Sitzmann notices they are pointier.

Coats. High-quality fabrics including cashmere are still valued. Sarto features a brown cashmere coat, which Wilson says is the "Rolls-Royce of the industry," selling for $1,750. Despite an especially hot day, he sold two the first day they came in. When selecting a coat, look for one that is longer than your sports coat.

If updating your wardrobe seems overwhelming, keep in mind that "men are not filling their closet with a ton of things," said Wilson. They are looking for a few more quality pieces. Once you have your fall line put together, start looking for a "back to the '80s" style for spring, with linens running the show.