Easy Style Upgrades

It’s safe to say that spring has well and truly sprung here in the UK. And, in typical fashion, it happened without any of us really noticing, like the sneaky ninja season that it is.

This sudden temperature change has left many sartorially-inclined men (myself included) underprepared. And, as is the case with most creative endeavours, timing is everything.

Sure, you can always have a dig around in that suitcase you stored away labelled ‘Spring Stuff’ for those reliable classics: white jeans, Breton striped top, short sleeve madras shirts and cotton shorts. But is that enough? What’s a new season without a few new, key on trend pieces to spice up your warm-weather looks?

Because, at the very heart of it, that’s exactly how a truly stylish man dresses. Yes, they follow emerging trends and styles. Yes, they keep track of the best and up-and-coming brands. But what they constantly have at their disposal is a wardrobe full of classic, simple and versatile staples that they know they can pair with all these seasonal additions.

This allows them to pick and choose the trends that suit their personality and style best, incorporating them as much or as little as they like. For example, a lot of the current trend-based patterns don’t suit me when applied to larger items like tees, shirts or trousers. Instead, what I prefer to do is nod to these influences by using accessories such as pocket squares, ties and hats.

Yet this is only possible due to the solid foundation of basics I already have. If my wardrobe only consisted of other trend-led pieces, it would be extremely hard to pull together any cohesive looks.

So, that’s what I’d like you to bear in mind when reading through the list that follows. The obvious, timeless choices for spring/summer aren’t included because I’m assuming you already own them. If not, browse through FashionBeans‘ extensive archives and you’ll find all the pieces that should be in any capsule wardrobe.

With that said, let’s break down five easy ways you can instantly boost your SS14 style…

1. Pay Attention To The Fine Print

This season, patterned shirts are going to be appearing everywhere and at every price point.

My personal favourite will always be floral print but Hawaiian, stripes and other geometric patterns are having a moment too. Yet what makes SS14’s print selection so appealing is that they all come in a slightly reduced size/scale, adding a sense of texture and subtle point of interest to your look rather than an in your face brashness.

Pair them with your solid suits and ties to add depth to your office attire and then simply lose the tie and the jacket, roll up the sleeves and you’re ready for the evening.

Alternatively, if you are looking to upgrade your casual wardrobe, consider a short sleeve version, which looks just as good under unstructured tailoring or a bomber jacket as it does on its own with tailored shorts.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Printed Shirts - Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

house of fraser ss14jigsaw ss14selected homme ss14ted baker ss14new look ss14he by mango ss14selected homme ss14pepe jeans ss14he by mango summer 2014Nordstrom 2014jigsaw ss14reiss ss13
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Aster ShirtAllsaints Aster Shirt
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Floral Linen-blend ShirtHe By Mango Slim-fit Floral Linen-blend Shirt
  • Ted Baker Endurance Onshir Geo Printed ShirtTed Baker Endurance Onshir Geo Printed Shirt
  • Topman Selected Homme Print Long Sleeve ShirtTopman Selected Homme Print Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Mp Di Massimo Piombo Slim-fit Printed Cotton ShirtMp Di Massimo Piombo Slim-fit Printed Cotton Shirt
  • Incotex Glanshirt Slim-fit Flower-print Cotton ShirtIncotex Glanshirt Slim-fit Flower-print Cotton Shirt
  • River Island Brown Holloway Road Geometric Print ShirtRiver Island Brown Holloway Road Geometric Print Shirt
  • Reiss Concorde Diamond Print Shirt WhiteReiss Concorde Diamond Print Shirt White
  • Beams Plus Slim-fit Printed Short-sleeved Cotton ShirtBeams Plus Slim-fit Printed Short-sleeved Cotton Shirt
2. The Essential New Suit

No-one gets more excited about a new suit than I do. And spring is the perfect time to start looking around for something a little bit different.

Winter has seen you reach for the classic navy, grey and pinstripe versions, but now it’s time to introduce some colour to your formal wardrobe. Olive green and petrol blue are great options that will breathe life into any shirt and tie combination, while also turning your plain old white/grey/navy tee into the perfect summer garden party outfit.

Another personal favourite of mine is the off-white/ivory suit – it adds a Great Gatsby edge to your tailoring and is extremely versatile when split into separates. Not only that, white-on-white is a major trend for SS14, meaning you have already nailed 75 per cent of the look.

Pair yours with neutral colours like blue, grey, white and brown and you can’t go wrong.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Spring/Summer Suit Colours - Petrol Blue, Olive and Khaki/Beige/White

reiss ss13j crew ss14he by mango ss14Gieves & Hawkes ss14tommy hilfiger tailored ss14h&m ss14he by mango ss14BOHEMIAN ss14tommy hilfiger tailored ss14berluti ss14mj bale ss12digel ss13
Key Pieces
  • Tailored-fit Italian Stretch Chino Suit JacketTailored-fit Italian Stretch Chino Suit Jacket
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In LinenAsos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In Linen
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In GreenAsos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In Green
  • Topman Dark Green Tonic Skinny SuitTopman Dark Green Tonic Skinny Suit
  • Reiss Lungano Three Piece Wool Suit BlueReiss Lungano Three Piece Wool Suit Blue
  • River Island Dark Blue Wool-blend Slim Suit JacketRiver Island Dark Blue Wool-blend Slim Suit Jacket
  • Reiss Palmero B Slim-fit Two Button Blazer StoneReiss Palmero B Slim-fit Two Button Blazer Stone
  • River Island White Slim Suit JacketRiver Island White Slim Suit Jacket
  • Canali Stone Siena-shape Linen SuitCanali Stone Siena-shape Linen Suit
3. Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White

Monochrome outfits were huge at the global SS14 fashion weeks and there are no signs of the trend slowing down now that it’s starting to hit stores.

The combination of black and white offers a striking contrast that will bring depth and detail to your outfit in a chic and sophisticated way.

Yet this trend’s real power lies in accessories. Although larger items such as trousers and shirts in houndstooth check or graphic prints feel effortlessly cool, black and white ties, belts, watches or shoes are eye-catching, stand out pieces that will add a punch to even the simplest of looks.

It doesn’t hurt that this combination will anchor any colour under the sun either.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Black and White Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

the kooples sport ss14zara man february 2014zara man february 2014ovadia & sons ss14calibre ss14ovadia & sons ss14reiss ss14allsaints ss13asos ss14todd snyder ss14river island high summer 2014river island ss14
Key Pieces
  • Asos Black Quilted Leather JacketAsos Black Quilted Leather Jacket
  • Allsaints Fort Parka JacketAllsaints Fort Parka Jacket
  • Allsaints Bissau ShirtAllsaints Bissau Shirt
  • Ps By Paul Smith Houndstooth Check Cotton SweaterPs By Paul Smith Houndstooth Check Cotton Sweater
  • Neil Barrett Striped Cotton-blend Jersey SweatshirtNeil Barrett Striped Cotton-blend Jersey Sweatshirt
  • River Island Black Basket Weave Contrast Yoke JumperRiver Island Black Basket Weave Contrast Yoke Jumper
  • River Island Black And White Mesh Two-tone Bomber JacketRiver Island Black And White Mesh Two-tone Bomber Jacket
  • Adieu Type 1 Crepe-sole Leather Derby ShoesAdieu Type 1 Crepe-sole Leather Derby Shoes
  • Andersons Leather-trimmed Elasticated Woven BeltAndersons Leather-trimmed Elasticated Woven Belt
4. Get Some Chalk On Your Trousers

Pastel (or chalky) colours are always popular during the warmer months, but this season it’s all about applying them to your bottom half – be it in the form of chinos, trousers or jeans.

My favourite pastel hue is pink as it combines perfectly with the colours the majority of men will already have in their wardrobe: grey, blue, white and black. Pink is also a major colour trend for SS14, killing two birds with one stone.

Other great options to consider would be lilac, yellow, mint green and sky blue. Pair them with a neutral t-shirt and boat shoes for a relaxed Sunday morning on the green or dress them up with a navy blazer, white shirt and brown penny loafers for an evening drinking at a rooftop bar.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Pastel Trousers/Chinos/Jeans Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

scotch & soda ss14David Naman ss13j crew ss13ami ss13he by mango summer 2014gant ss14reiss ss13avva ss14avva ss14lbm 1911 ss14ted baker ss13gant rugger ss14
Key Pieces
  • River Island Light Blue Slim ChinosRiver Island Light Blue Slim Chinos
  • Reiss Sunset Relaxed-fit Trousers MintReiss Sunset Relaxed-fit Trousers Mint
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Textured ChinosHe By Mango Slim-fit Textured Chinos
  • Brioni Slim-fit Lightweight JeansBrioni Slim-fit Lightweight Jeans
  • Patrizia Pepe Slim Fit Jeans – YellowPatrizia Pepe Slim Fit Jeans - Yellow
  • Topman Ice Wash Stretch Skinny JeansTopman Ice Wash Stretch Skinny Jeans
  • Asos Skinny Fit Smart Trousers In Cotton SateenAsos Skinny Fit Smart Trousers In Cotton Sateen
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Premium Cotton ChinosHe By Mango Slim-fit Premium Cotton Chinos
  • Thom Sweeney Brook Slim-fit Cotton-twill TrousersThom Sweeney Brook Slim-fit Cotton-twill Trousers
5. Perfect Plaid

Plaid is always big during the colder months of the year, but for so many different reasons. For example, it looks great on a thick flannel shirt or casual jacket and makes the perfect lining for any winter coat.

However, in spring/summer a different kind of plaid takes over – it’s subtler and comes in cooler palettes like matte blue and grey. This season, much like last, is all about checked tailoring. Whether you opt for trousers, a waistcoat or blazer, if you don’t have a piece of formal plaid in your wardrobe then you’re missing out.

This new lighter plaid is extremely versatile and looks just as good in the office as it does at a summer wedding. Just remember to keep the underpinnings as simple and straightforward as possible: navy chinos, white/blue Oxford shirts, grey sport coats, etc.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Spring/Summer Plaid/Checked Tailoring Lookbook

pal zileri ss14sarar ss14m&s best of british ss14rose & born ss13ravazzolo ss14lbm 1911 ss12sarar ss14gant ss14digel ss14Todd Snyder ss14gant rugger ss14Gagliardi ss14
Key Pieces
  • Next Taupe Check Italian Linen JacketNext Taupe Check Italian Linen Jacket
  • Asos Slim Fit Waistcoat In Blue DogstoothAsos Slim Fit Waistcoat In Blue Dogstooth
  • Topman Black And White Checked WaistcoatTopman Black And White Checked Waistcoat
  • Topman Premium Grey Checked Skinny Suit TrousersTopman Premium Grey Checked Skinny Suit Trousers
  • Selected Suit Trousers In CheckSelected Suit Trousers In Check
  • Topman Selected Homme Check TrousersTopman Selected Homme Check Trousers
  • Paul Smith London Slim-fit Slub Woven-silk BlazerPaul Smith London Slim-fit Slub Woven-silk Blazer
  • Ted Baker Chekfin Checked JacketTed Baker Chekfin Checked Jacket
  • River Island Blue Check Slim Suit TrousersRiver Island Blue Check Slim Suit Trousers
Final Word

So there you have it, my top five picks for boosting your warm-weather style this year.

As always, I’m more interested in hearing what you have to say – is there anything that I’ve missed? What are your planned additions this season? Are pastel chinos just one preppy move too far on my part?

Let me know in the comments section…

Matt Allinson