Wearing Winter In Spring

The transitional period is a tricky time of year for lovers of fashion. We’re all itching to purchase new lightweight clothing and refresh our wardrobe for spring/summer but, in reality, the warm weather is still a couple of months away and it isn’t clear exactly what direction menswear will be headed. This is where the capsule wardrobe comes in.

We talk a lot about the perfect capsule wardrobe here at FashionBeans – it’s seen as fashion’s Holy Grail. Consisting predominantly of classic, neutral pieces that will never fall out of style and can be mixed and matched for any occasion, a capsule wardrobe is the epitome of versatility.

It’s a concept that appeals greatly to men who want to appear stylish and put together on a daily basis, without having to spend the earth or constantly revamp their personal style.

After all, having two completely separate, seasonally-appropriate wardrobes is not practical in this day and age. In the real world, there isn’t enough money, time, space or opportunity. The everyday male must make the most of what he has got and this means using nigh on ALL his clothes, ALL year round.

With this in mind, we are going to show you how to transition key elements of your winter wardrobe into spring…

The Importance Layering &amp Fabric Choice

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: layering is key. If you master layering – and more specifically, creative layering – then you are already half way to becoming a well dressed gent.

Not only does layering allow you to quickly adjust to fluctuations in temperature or weather conditions, it also adds depth, texture and individuality to any outfit.

There are numerous guides on layering on FashionBeans so we won’t go into too much detail here, but there is one key rule you need to remember: thin to thick. In other words, the pieces you layer together should get thicker/more heavyweight as you progress outwards.

Closely linked to layering is correct fabric choice. During the winter months you’ve likely been combining the heaviest materials you own together, in order to combat sub-zero temperatures and historically bad weather conditions. But as we move into spring you should be considering adding lightweight and breathable fabrics such as pique cotton, tropical wools, chambray and linen to your wardrobe – allowing you to continue layering multiple pieces well into summer.

Further Reading:

Cropped Outerwear

As the weather starts to improve, your big winter coat will soon become impractical. Their durable and heavyweight nature, which protects you against the elements in winter, make them hot and stifling come spring, yet it is often still too cold to do away with outerwear altogether.

Switching to a cropped silhouette is the answer. Combined with your winter-weight trousers, chunky knits and long-sleeved tops, these will keep you warm when you need it and cool when you don’t.

Leather or denim jackets offer the perfect balance of hardwearing materials and lightweight protection. Able to be used all year round, they will slot seamlessly into both formal and casual outfits, so don’t be afraid to add a rock ‘n’ roll edge to your work wear by chucking your biker jacket over a shirt, tie and fine gauge knit.

Likewise, suede bombers and varsity jackets are also extremely suited to this period and really come into their own when given a preppy twist with tailored trousers, loafers and 1950s-inspired polos and knitted tees.

Particularly between April and May, a shining sun doesn’t always mean balmy temperatures, therefore layering is crucial. Wool trousers and chunky boots, cable knitwear and long sleeve Henley tops will help to toughen up any cropped jacket, making it far more practical if the temperature drops suddenly.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Cropped Jackets - Wearing Winter Pieces in Spring/Summer - Outfit Lookbook

zara man ss12ovadia & sons ss14j crew ss14Gieves & Hawkes ss14he by mango ss14asos 2014apc ss14Strellson ss14river island holloway road ss14allsaints ss14Todd Snyder ss14drykorn ss14
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Kaqami Denim JacketAllsaints Kaqami Denim Jacket
  • J.crew Rinsed Denim JacketJ.crew Rinsed Denim Jacket
  • Religion Escape Denim JacketReligion Escape Denim Jacket
  • Asos Leather Biker JacketAsos Leather Biker Jacket
  • He By Mango Leather Biker JacketHe By Mango Leather Biker Jacket
  • Allsaints Langly Leather Bomber JacketAllsaints Langly Leather Bomber Jacket
  • Asos Varsity JacketAsos Varsity Jacket
  • Indigo & Maine Suede Leather Varsity JacketIndigo & Maine Suede Leather Varsity Jacket
  • Pull & Bear Baseball JacketPull & Bear Baseball Jacket
  • Topman Tan Suede Bomber JacketTopman Tan Suede Bomber Jacket
  • Asos Suede Bomber JacketAsos Suede Bomber Jacket
  • Reiss Trill Suede Bomber Jacket StoneReiss Trill Suede Bomber Jacket Stone
Winter Knitwear

Your chunky knitwear needn’t be packed away as soon as winter ends. Cable jumpers, waffle knit cardigans and the like are key crossover styles that will actually make up the bulk of your layering throughout spring – especially for those that live in unpredictable climates such as Britain.

Heavyweight knits offer a good heat to weight ratio and look just as good layered under the aforementioned cropped jackets as they do your trusty winter coat. When the temperature begins to creep up, switch to cotton-rich blends in larger weaves that increase breathability without compromising on warmth. As we get closer to summer, simply adjust the thickness of knitwear to suit the daily conditions.

Layering up well underneath with lightweight vests, tees and shirts creates the thin to thick outfit construction we desire, with your jumper/cardigan offering the final, wind-breaking skin. This approach is a particularly good way of managing spring temperatures on sunny days; keeping you cool while basking in the sun but staving off the worst of the chill in the shade.

Oversizing can also be considered, allowing you to play with traditional silhouettes by challenging standard knitwear concepts. Sports luxe pieces like tailored joggers, bomber jackets and trainers work well with large, slouchy knits, helping produce a more fashion-forward aesthetic.

Using knitwear as outerwear is another fantastic way of making the very most of your winter wardrobe. Shawl neck cardigans and knitted jackets make great outer layers if conditions are dry yet cool – when used in place of a tailored jacket or coat they add a smart, formal touch to an outfit without having to resort to a structured blazer.

Finally, layering knitwear over knitwear might seem daunting at first but if you remember to vary your weights (think merino roll neck under a cable knit cardigan) you can’t go wrong. This slightly unconventional technique will inject a touch of individuality and character into any spring look.

Lookbook Inspiration

Wearing Men's Winter Knitwear In Spring/Summer - Outfit Lookbook Inspiration

pepe jeans ss14suitsupply ss14j crew ss14reiss ss14ami ss13ti for men ss14he by mango ss14de fursac ss14he by mango ss14
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Ettrick CardiganAllsaints Ettrick Cardigan
  • Asos Cable JumperAsos Cable Jumper
  • Allsaints Revda Crew JumperAllsaints Revda Crew Jumper
  • French Connection Navigate Knitted CoatFrench Connection Navigate Knitted Coat
  • He By Mango Textured Knit Cotton CardiganHe By Mango Textured Knit Cotton Cardigan
  • French Connection Javan Chunky Ribbed JumperFrench Connection Javan Chunky Ribbed Jumper
  • Reiss Nerve Ribbed Knit Jumper Ox BloodReiss Nerve Ribbed Knit Jumper Ox Blood
  • Reiss Alfie Unstructured Blazer GreyReiss Alfie Unstructured Blazer Grey
  • A.p.c. Knitted Linen SweaterA.p.c. Knitted Linen Sweater
  • Maison Martin Margiela Knitted Cotton And Linen-blend SweaterMaison Martin Margiela Knitted Cotton And Linen-blend Sweater
  • River Island Grey Cable Knit Double Breasted CardiganRiver Island Grey Cable Knit Double Breasted Cardigan
  • Next Textured CardiganNext Textured Cardigan
The Heavyweight Trouser

Jeans and chinos are a menswear staples that have rightly cemented their place in men’s wardrobes all over the globe. But there is a great deal more variety out there than a quick glance around your local high street would have you believe.

Tailored trousers make a fantastic addition to any style-conscious gent’s wardrobe. Expertly straddling the smart and casual divide, they’re extremely versatile and offer an instant upgrade to any of your current go-to looks, whether formal or casual.

During the difficult transitional period your trousers will have a big impact on how warm your outfit is and choosing the right fabric can make all the difference.

Moleskin and brushed cotton versions will help tackle the brisk spring breezes and are able to transition right through to summer when paired with breathable fabrics on your top half. Corduroy and tweed styles are perhaps a little warm for anything other than the coolest of spring days but, again, combining them with the right fabrics makes all the difference.

If you follow the general rule of altering the weight of your trousers based on the weather conditions, you can’t really go wrong. Heavier weight cotton twill or wool mix trousers can be worn well into spring and naturally add depth and texture to any outfit, especially during a season when there is a core focus on stripped-back, minimal style.

For maximum impact, consider getting yours tailored – cropping and tapering will help separate yours from standard high street off-the-peg styles, and such a subtle alteration makes a huge difference to your overall aesthetic.

Lookbook Inspiration

Wearing Men's Winter/Heavyweight Trousers In Spring/Summer - Outfit Lookbook Inspiration

Timo Weilandsuitsuply aw13he by mango september 2012massimo dutti nyc 5th avenue ss13massimo dutti may 2012ovadia & sons ss14reiss ss14ti for men ss14bohemian ss14de fursac ss14ben sherman ss11Todd Snyder ss14
Key Pieces
  • Dockers Alpha Khaki Chinos Slim Fit TwillDockers Alpha Khaki Chinos Slim Fit Twill
  • Allsaints Bermen TrouserAllsaints Bermen Trouser
  • Asos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In 100% WoolAsos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In 100% Wool
  • Ben Sherman East End Moleskin TrousersBen Sherman East End Moleskin Trousers
  • Topman Grey Textured Skinny TrousersTopman Grey Textured Skinny Trousers
  • River Island Dark Red Wool-blend Skinny Suit TrousersRiver Island Dark Red Wool-blend Skinny Suit Trousers
  • Reiss Somerset T Micro Houndstooth Trousers GreyReiss Somerset T Micro Houndstooth Trousers Grey
  • Reiss Medway Classic Twill Chinos GreyReiss Medway Classic Twill Chinos Grey
  • Peter Werth Chino In Cotton TwillPeter Werth Chino In Cotton Twill
The Winter Boot

As we transition into spring, your winter boots can be used to add balance to your looks. As soon as the sun comes out it can be very tempting to lose the socks, roll up the trousers and pull on the loafers, but a chill is often still in the air and you may quickly regret taking such a high summer approach to your ensemble.

Of course, your outfits will become lighter as the temperature rises but winter boots help to keep everything in proportion by adding weight to your lower half. They also maintain a sense of rugged masculinity, helping counteract delicate, seasonally-appropriate materials such as linen, silk and fine cottons.

Biker, brogue and dress boots are all considered choices – these three styles can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion, will not overpower your pared-back spring outfits and yet still make an effortless statement.

In the interest of hygiene and shoe care you will want to stop wearing your boots as soon as the temperatures reach the mid-teens, but between now and then, go wild.

Lookbook Inspiration

Wearing Men's Winter Boots In Spring/Summer - Outfit Lookbook Inspiration

David Naman aw13he by mango september 2012zara man editions 2013Love Moschino Pre-Spring 2013Strellson aw13allsaints ss13he by mango aw13simons aw13simons aw13
Key Pieces
  • River Island Brown Round Toe Low BootsRiver Island Brown Round Toe Low Boots
  • Next Loake Brogue BootNext Loake Brogue Boot
  • Topman Black Leather Hi BootsTopman Black Leather Hi Boots
  • Okeeffe Hand-polished Leather BootsOkeeffe Hand-polished Leather Boots
  • Kg By Kurt Geiger Dodge Biker BootsKg By Kurt Geiger Dodge Biker Boots
  • Frank Wright Regis Leather BootsFrank Wright Regis Leather Boots
  • Allsaints Sigurd BootAllsaints Sigurd Boot
  • Royal Republiq Brogue BootsRoyal Republiq Brogue Boots
  • Next Plain Heavy BootNext Plain Heavy Boot
  • Grenson Sharp Leather Brogue BootsGrenson Sharp Leather Brogue Boots
  • Topman Dune Buckle Biker Boots Topman Dune Buckle Biker Boots
  • River Island Brown Distressed Strap Biker BootsRiver Island Brown Distressed Strap Biker Boots
Final Word

Our seasonal wardrobes are far more versatile than we first think and it seems a shame to spend each new season wishing for the next, just because we want to wear THAT chunky jumper/linen blazer again.

So before you pack all your winter clothing away, consider how you can really make the most of what you already own and adapt key pieces for spring.

But now it’s time to hear what you have to say. Have you got any top tips for transitioning your cold-weather wardrobe into the warmer months of the year? What pieces do you make use of all year round?

Let us know in the comments section below…

Will