LET'S FACE IT -- COMMUTING IS A FACT OF LIFE IN WASHINGTON, WHETHER IT'S SHUTTLING TO AND FROM

New York or braving the Beltway each day. But who says getting there and back has to be so brutal?

Men have had the right idea all along: Pack light (a briefcase will do) and wear something comfortable. In other words, a suit. For men and women, the best suits combine luxurious fabrics, classic patterns and a custom cut -- all the right stuff to weather the ride. Fashion Associate: Tamara Louthan Hair: Max Pinnell for Bumble & Bumble Makeup: Rumiko Models: Robert Russell, Lou Salvatori, Bill Skinner, Keith, Francesca and Naomi LEFT TO RIGHT: His cashmere and wool plaid jacket, $350, and charcoal wool trousers, $145, by Hugo Boss at Hugo Boss. Her black cavalry twill coat dress, $875, by Donna Karan at Garfinckel's and Woodward & Lothrop. His navy pin-stripe lamb's wool and cashmere suit, $865, silk twill tie, $40, all by Ralph Lauren at Polo/Ralph Lauren. His gray wool pin-stripe suit, $395, by Christian Dior at Hecht's. Her black and taupe tweed suit with leopard lace applique', $2,490, leopard print shearling coat, $3,074, by Geoffrey Beene at Saks Fifth Avenue. His black wool flannel jacket, $235, and trousers, $155, by Stephen Sprouse at Stephen Sprouse, New York. Men's shoes, Bally of Switzerland. FROM LEFT: Her Leicester check wool and silk jacket, $275, matching skirt, $120, and charcoal wool mock turtleneck, $100, by Calvin Klein Classics at Saks Fifth Avenue. His black wool jacket, $185, and gray trousers, $85, from Firma by Andrew Fezza, available through Bloomingdale's. His wool houndstooth check jacket, $295, wool trench coat, $325, and pleated trousers, $150, all by Bill Robinson, collection at Bloomingdale's; polka-dot tie, $65, by Commes des Garc ons at Silhouette. Her tweed jacket, $258, wool and cashmere skirt, $108, charcoal wool turtleneck, $80, and tweed coat, $332, by Anne Klein II at Garfinckel's. His glen plaid wool suit, $410, by Emanuel Ungaro at Garfinckel's. His plaid wool sport coat, $460, and gray wool trousers, $150, by Giorgio Armani at Raleighs. Men's shoes, Bally of Switzerland; briefcases, Mark Cross and Louis Vuitton. PHOTOGRAPHSBYMAXVADUKUL