Marks & Spencer is launching a revolutionary new line of men's suits this week. After three years of research, the troubled UK retailer has developed a brand new fabric that allows the suits to be washed in standard domestic machines - so eliminating the need for specialist dry cleaning.

M&S fabric technologists have developed the fabric for the machine washable suits from a mix of cottons, wools and synthetic fabrics. They claim to have perfected a single-breasted garment which has the feel and appeal of made-to-measure but can be washed quickly and easily at home, and only needs a light iron before it is ready for work or a night out.

The new suit comes in two versions, all with three buttons. There is a wool blend for formal wear and a lightweight cotton blend for summer. There are four colours - navy blue, charcoal, stone, and khaki. The trousers are single-pleat, standard fit. Jones says the styles are 'the right look for days in the office or evenings out with friends'.

Jim Oliver, fabric development technologist for men's formalwear, said: "The new suit is a genuine first. I am sure our competitors will seek to try to copy what we are doing but it will be difficult. It is not as if there is a single, magical ingredient that makes the suit unique. What makes it work is the element of know-how we have perfected over many years of trials and experiments."

For more information on M&S's latest innovation, read just-style's feature of the week: 'Men's suits get M&S makeover'.