The cold weather is on its way out for another year, and as much as we love the wardrobe options that winter opens up (particularly in the outerwear department), it’s safe to say we’re looking forward to shedding a few layers and sitting in a beer garden now.
But there’s still one particularly tricky season to navigate before we can get our pasty legs out in the light of day again: spring.
Building a transitional wardrobe to switch seamlessly from winter to summer in style is no easy task given the changeable weather. But with a little expert advice and a friendly nudge in the right direction, it can be a relatively pain-free process.
With that in mind, we asked a few of our friends in the business to provide some pointers, and from there we’ve compiled a list of foolproof outfit combinations to see you through spring in style.
Track Jacket + Joggers + White Trainers
Even if the athleisure trend is approaching its peak (then again, they said that about beards, remember?), from all fads come a few things worth hanging onto. This classic, laid-back look pulls on three of them.
“This is a great outfit for a lazy Sunday, a minimal take on classic sportswear,” says Luke McDonald, an associate stylist at men’s personal shopping service Thread. “It’s the perfect thing to wear to brunch or for a walk in the park with the sun shining.”
Light, but not too light. Loose, but not too loose. Warm, but not too warm. Oh, and it looks great, too. In fact, it might even make people think you’ve been working out rather than just eating mini muffins and watching Saturday Kitchen. Everything you could want from a spring outfit and then some.
Lightweight Jacket + Cropped Trousers
Winters coats may have been shoved to the back of the wardrobe, but you’re going to want to replace them with something thinner to fend off the lingering chill. A top layer still needs to offer some warmth if/when (definitely when) the weather decides to turn. Cue the lightweight jacket.
Vik Tailor, founder and creative director of award-winning menswear store MKI Miyuki-Zoku, recommends a coach jacket coupled with on-trend wide-leg trousers, but the look works just as well with your trusty mac or bomber.
“This outfit is great as all the layers are light and loose,” says Tailor. “Nothing is too fitted, giving a very relaxed silhouette.”
Tailor suggests using suede runners to finish off the look, but a pair of minimal white sneakers would also work.
mango man spring 2017
Work Jacket + White T-shirt + Jeans
When it comes to nailing casual, understated cool, this combination cannot be beaten. The worker jacket is an iconic French piece, made famous by legendary street style photographer Bill Cunningham, who was never seen snapping New York’s style elite without his.
Wear it with a crisp white T-shirt and some quality selvedge denim for an effortless, French minimalist look.
“A simple, fresh white T-shirt is a staple item in any man’s spring wardrobe,” says Stacey Wood, founder of London-based label King & Tuckfield. “Try a brightly coloured shade like yellow or a soft light blue [for the work jacket], which can be easily thrown on top of a [neutral base] and still keep out the unpredictable English weather.”
Technical Jacket + Cargo Trousers + Work Boots
As anyone who’s ever stepped outside for more than 10 minutes in the British springtime will surely testify – it’s a notoriously difficult beast to dress for.
“As we enter spring, the weather hits a mid-point of either rain, wind or beaming sunlight,” says Dillon Backhouse of The Priory menswear store in Yorkshire.
“The cure for the imbalance [in the weather] is to wear pieces that protect you from tedious climates, and also accentuate the feeling of rebirth that spring is synonymous with.”
Think utilitarian garments that look great but also perform. A technical rain jacket is a great place to start – combine the waterproof staple with some on-trend slimline cargos and a pair of hardy work boots for a look that marries style and function.
Patterned Blazer + Wool Trousers + Leather Shoes
Smart doesn’t have to mean stuffy. To put a spring in your sartorial step, opt for a patterned blazer as opposed to the usual muted versions and add in some tailored, wool trousers – perfect for keeping that crisp, spring chill at bay.
“A quality pair of tailored trousers, which can be dressed up or down, is a solid purchase to carry through the seasons,” says Wood from King & Tuckfield.
“Invest in a pair that is well cut, and has interesting detailing, such as a pleat or turn-up. Lose the winter coat and team these with a pair of leather brogues or loafers.”
Luigi Bianchi Mantova
Suede Jacket + Light Trousers + Trainers
Dressing for spring is as much about nailing the right colour palette as it is staying cool, warm and dry all at the same time.
“Olive, khaki and white are perfect for the transition into spring,” says MKI’s Tailor.
The trick with this combination is to get the colour matching between the jacket and trousers right. Go for olive, brown or stone on the top half and then khaki down below to create contrast.
After that you’ve pretty much got a free pass for the trainers, but we’d be tempted to go with something white and in canvas.
The Idle Man 2016
Leather Jacket + Jeans + Chelsea Boots
The black leather jacket has been a wardrobe staple ever since Marlon Brando rode in wearing a Schott Perfecto in The Wild One.
“Anyone can pull off this classic piece, and it works with any outfit combination,” says Imogen Ashby, a stylist from men’s personal shopping site Enclothed. “For spring [try] a thin knit underneath in an earthy tone like cream or green. Combine with black or grey slim jeans and some black leather Chelsea boots.”
That’s a great look for the daytime, but if you need to transition into the evening, swap the knitwear out for a shirt instead. As easy as that and you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. Yeah, that’s right, we went there.
scotch & soda 2016
Oxford Shirt + Chinos + Desert Boots
The Oxford shirt is already well known for setting a high watermark when it comes to smart-casual pieces. But, true to form, this timeless combination takes it up a gear.
“This is the classic smart-casual outfit. It’s the sort of thing a 1960s-movie star would wear off-duty – think Steve McQueen or Terrance Stamp,” says Thread’s McDonald.
Swapping jeans out for chinos smartens the look up enough to make it acceptable for dinner out, while the desert boots keep it on the right side of casual.
“It’s also a good, breezy choice for this not-quite-shorts weather when the evenings are still on the cold side,” McDonald continues.
Amen to that.