It’s easy to get down on spring clothes. They don’t have the natural appeal of fall/ winter wardrobes – no plush cashmere or prickly tweeds to draw you in. There’s also little opportunity to layer. Once the weather warms up, a lot of guys are left scratching their heads, wondering how they can remain well dressed while also staying comfortable.
Spring can be a great time to play with brighter colors, interesting silhouettes, and unique materials, however. If you’re looking for ideas on what to wear this season, here are ten things I’m particularly excited about. In order of appearance above:
1. Tobacco Linen Suits
A linen suit is your weekend companion for when you want to look sharply dressed, but still somewhat relaxed. Good for afternoon brunches at a swanky hotel, excursions into the city, and nights at a rooftop bar with friends. Linen does well in navy, tan, and tobacco brown (the last is my favorite, and what I’ll be wearing this season). You can use the pieces together as a suit, or break them up into separates for something more casual. Linen sport coats go well with everything from jeans to tropical wool trousers. Pair these with braided belts and striped, open-collar shirts to create a more interesting look.
2. Suede Leather Jackets
Leather can be too heavy for summer, but it’s perfect for those 60s to 70s temperatures in April and May. I’m particularly looking forward to wearing suede more often this year. It scuffs more easily than calfskin, but in certain designs, that can be part of the charm. I have a suede Harrington and cafe racer, both of which I love, but I’m mostly excited about wearing this Stoffa flight jacket I bought a couple of weeks ago. Also great: James Grose’s charcoal suede double rider. A nice change of pace from the black motorcycle jackets I’ve been seeing everywhere in the city.
3. Leather Slip Ons
Penny loafers and camp mocs are my usual go-tos for warm weather footwear, but this year, I’m enamored with the idea of wearing more casual slip-ons – something in between the formality of dress loafers and espadrilles. Unionmade has some nice ones this season from Barbanera (designed in conjunction with Eidos). I also dig these from Christian Kimber and Baudoin & Lange, the second of which is available through The Armoury. A little less dainty than Belgian Shoes, but has the same kind of charm.
4. Looser Clothes
Slim fit clothes have dominated menswear for the last fifteen years, so I’ve been looking for something fresher. Looser clothes, such as the ones you see fourth photo above, can be a nice way to play with your silhouette when you have little opportunity to wear something more than a t-shirt and trousers. Think: looser fit pants cut a fuller thigh and tapered leg, along with comfy shirts made with dropped shoulder seams. Camoshita, Our Legacy, and Lemaire are good for these sorts of things. Uniqlo can also be surprisingly experimental (and a lot more affordable). Just look at these wide pants!
5. Boldly Printed Shirts
Similarly, when you can’t wear much else, it can be nice to make the most of what you have. A boldly printed shirt in this case – maybe even cut with a camp collar – will look a bit more interesting than your usual, light blue OCBDs (as much as I love those things). We’re big fans of Aloha shirts here. See Pete’s two-part series on vacation wear for ideas, as well as my review of Two Palms.
6. Polo Shirts Under Sport Coats
If your clothes don’t fit as well as they should, this can go tremendously wrong (think: business guys trying to look cool a hotel bars). Instead, pick up something with a nice collar and has long sleeves, which will allow you to show a bit of shirt cuff. Layered under a softly constructed sport coat, this can be a great way to dress down traditional tailored clothing (just make sure everything fits well and don’t pair these with light washed dad jeans). Kent Wang sells some nice, affordable, long-sleeved polos. G. Inglese and Ascot Chang are also worth a look if you have more coin to spend.
7. Tonal Navy Seersucker Suits
Seersucker is an American classic, but in its usual blue-and-white form, it can feel a bit preppy. As an alternative, I’ve been really digging the idea of a navy seersucker suit. It has all the fun and cool-wearing properties of traditional seersucker, but feels a bit more updated and sophisticated. You can wear one with a band collar shirt and Vans slip-ons, like Kyle above, or with a more traditional spread-collar shirt and dressier derbies. Available this spring in a cotton-silk blend through Camoshita (which is the one you see in the photo), or in a wool-silk blend through Ring Jacket at The Armoury (the product page will be up in a few weeks. The Armoury is also hosting a Ring Jacket trunk show in NYC, starting tomorrow).
8. Colorful Swatch Watches
What good is spring style if it doesn’t make you smile? Swatch’s colorful timepieces are a great way to add a bit of cheer to your day. They’re affordable, much like Timex, but instead of those serious, classic designs, Swatch is all about bright, colorful watch straps and pop-art faces. Get one in a ridiculous color, such as sunshine yellow or apple green, or my favorite, the company’s translucent design (colloquially known as the jellyfish, which you can find on eBay). They go with nothing and everything at the same time. When the battery starts to die down, you can get it replaced for free at a Swatch store.
9. Spring Scarves
The easiest way to accessorize a warm weather outfit – at least until the weather gets too hot in June. I love oversized wool and cashmere scarves in the wintertime, but spring scarves call for something lighter, airier, and more manageable. We have some made from Japanese boro cotton that I think go great with workwear. Drake’s also makes some really special designs, including ones in painted stripe, geometric, floral, and patchwork motifs. Another favorite is Christian Kimber’s Melbourne scarf. The clay brown really complements navy, olive, and mid-gray – all staple colors for outerwear.
10. French Chore Coats
French chore coats tick all the right boxes for spring outerwear – zero structure or lining inside, which makes them reasonably comfortable on warm days; cotton drill shell that’s dirt resistant and easy to wash; and two oversized hip pockets that are perfect for carrying an average-sized paperback book and a sandwich. As a relatively simple design, you’ll want to play with the details. Pair them with old tees or Breton shirts, fuller cut chinos, and either slip-ons or boots (if you’re wearing boots, roll the chinos up a bit higher to create a more interesting look). I listed a bunch of options here, but really – when it comes to French chore coats, you should just get a vintage one.