For those who have made their living selling tailored men's suits, the way out of the quandary posed by dressing down is to persuade men that they still need refined, expensive clothes for work.

It is a problem that companies like Hugo Boss, one of the largest producers of high-end attire for senior executives, is wrestling with as it plans to open 10 stores in the United States next year."It's quite a challenge," said Andreas Kurz, the president and chief executive of Hugo Boss USA. The German company now has two stores here, one in King of Prussia, Pa., and another in Bal Harbour, Fla.

Corporations and sociologists are strenuously hailing casual dress as indicative of a flattening of the corporate hierarchy and a signal of the triumph of team management over autocracy. However, high-end fashion executives are loath to lose the profits that come with intricately finished and tailored career wear. They continue to push class distinctions even as they increase the amount of casual fashion offered.

"At the end of the day the boss wants to look like the boss," Kurtz said.

The new stores will offer casual clothes as well as business suits. The first stores are scheduled to open in Newport Beach, Calif.; Washington, and Short Hills, N.J. Most of the stores, all of which will be licensed, will carry the Boss Hugo Boss collection. "Super-stores," likely to be in New York and Los Angeles, will house all the company's lines - Boss Hugo Boss, the trendier Hugo line, and Baldessarini, the top line.

- Constance C.R. White