Spring is a transitional season. The winter chill is giving way to intermittent great British sunshine, but showers still threaten to dampen your days. How do you dress for unpredictability? Too light an outfit and you risk being cold and drenched. Too heavy, and you’ll look like a background character from South Park.
We’ve singled out four spring fashion faux pas and tapped up Ollie Arnold, style director for Mr Porter, to suggest more on-point alternatives. It’s time to ditch the winter blues and brighten up your wardrobe.
The Culprit: Heavy Coats
Spring means the risk of rain wherever you go, but the transition into brighter weather means the time for Siberian coats have passed. Heavy winter attire makes you look overplanned and unable to judge the situation – speaking volumes about your character.
The Solution: An Anorak
“The change in weather requires men to adapt to all areas,” says Arnold. With that in mind, it’s time to look to a staple on the runways this season: the anorak.
No longer the domain of campers and trainspotters, the light nylon or cotton layer is easily packed and back on-trend for SS16. The simple zip-throughs offered by technical brands like Stone Island are utilitarian and classic.
The Culprit: Bulky Cargo Trousers
Never. Ever. Unless you’re going camping and need more carabiners than you have pockets, cargo trousers in the city are a capital offence.
Of course, looser, lighter legwear is required in the spring, but cargo pants are designed to do a job. And it’s not to look good.
The Solution: Slim-Fit Cotton Trousers
“An easy way to add style to your outfit,” says Arnold. “Lighter cotton trousers will partner with chunky knitwear, relaxed tailoring and lightweight linen shirts.”
Slim-fit cotton is perfect for this season, especially in versatile light neutral shades like beige and stone. Arnold recommends this Dries Van Norten pair.
The Culprit: Canvas Slip-Ons
As well as the urge to pack heavy for winter, the emerging sun might tempt you to jump into summery shoes. Don’t.
Unless it’s the height of summer or you’re in a kung-fu movie, canvas plimsolls (with socks or without) will leave you with trenchfoot if you don’t keep an eye on the forecast.
The Solution: Brogues
If you’re wearing half-decent trousers, the quintessential leather brogue is a solid choice to keep your feet tidy. If you’re dead-set on a material alternative, Arnold recommends these Harvard wingtips, which straddle the line between casual and smart thanks to their desert boot-style crepe sole and on-trend suede upper.
Just remember to apply a fabric protector before you step out in them.
The Culprit: Thick Hoodies
While we’re transitioning into summer (and the weather’s still cold enough) it’s tempting to crack out the varsity pullover as a practical, easy-to-throw-on piece.
But no-one north of Newquay or aged over 20 is attracted by the beach-bum look. If you’re no longer a student, the fashion-conscious man doesn’t wear a hoodie outside of January or Val d’Isère.
The Solution: Lightweight Top Layers
You want a lightweight, breathable top layer that will work with all your go-to casual looks. Queue the bomber jacket – a menswear staple that has been trending hard for the past two years (and won’t be going anywhere soon). “Crafted from lightweight coated linen, this Paul Smith slim-fit bomber jacket is a clever choice for those unpredictable weather days,” says Arnold.
For work or evenings at the bars, a versatile blazer is a must – look for something unstructured and in a material such as cotton or jersey.