Men are being asked to dress extra smartly on Mondays to stop tailors losing their shirts in the financial downturn. For the past three years, menswear sales have declined month on month. Now the Apparel Industry Council has stitched up what it hopes will be a suitable response to boost sales. From next month men will be urged to put on a sharp suit and 'stand out from the crowd' at the start of the working week. Considering the harsh economic restructuring that has been promised and the financial pain it will bring, it might be more suitable for salarymen in the present climate to be told to wear hair shirts. It should be borne in mind that this is a country ill at ease with the concept, however loosely applied, of casual dress. By any standards Japanese men are consistently formal, neat dressers. From Monday to Friday, legions of office workers wear their regimented colours of blue or grey suits. Friday is meant to be casual-dress day, but for many men this involves nothing more risque than changing the colour of their socks and, in rare cases, donning brown instead of customary black shoes. So when these corporate legionnaires are asked to dress up on Mondays they are really being asked to wear razor-sharp suits - with a price tag to match. And made in Japan. No point giving hard-earned yen to European fashion houses. Setting the standard is the dapper image of one of Japan's best-loved comic actors, the late Kiton Masuda, who was known for his fastidious dress sense. His patrician, besuited image will shortly grace posters at train stations and stores throughout the country extolling the virtues of sharp dressing and telling men to 'Stand Tall and Be More Visible'. Beside him appears a coat hanger with the message 'Dress Up Monday'. The posters will also appear in places that men rarely frequent - women's department stores. This is because wives, the financial controllers of many a Japanese household, are deemed to be the key to the campaign's success.