The transitional season is about saying goodbye to winter heaviness and hello to cool, lighter pieces (or vice-versa). The weather is certainly warmer in the lead up to summer. Which means men need an eye-catching outfit but without the instant sophistication of a tailored top coat or styled layers.
The following six items are fashion must-haves to craft simple trans-seasonal outfits – sans fuss. With the easy things sorted, you (the maker) get to select specific colours, textures and brands – for a personalised approach to fashion this warm weather season.
#1 Invest In Quality Jeans
While winter is all about selvedge or raw jeans, spring denim should be turning lighter – in wash and fabric. Jeans are taking on personalisation again too, meaning individualised rips, tears and shreds are in again (just ensure the slits don’t go thigh-high above the knee – tastefully ripped denim is the attitude to adopt, not dragged-through-the-dirt).
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Dark denim still has its place too – think dark blue and black – particularly for nights, under a lightweight shirt-jacket or sports coat. Then choose your shoe-game – sockless Brogue or sneaker. Win, win.
#2 White Sneakers
Sneakers have officially stepped out of the gym and are a worthy footwear choice for spring fashion. The less-is-more approach should be taken when investing in a staple pair (you can buy more brash colours and patterns as the collection builds) so staying white, clean and fuss-free is the perfect sneaker choice.
In a nutshell, stick to earthy neutral colours (white, black or tan) and a low-cut leather silhouette. This way, your cool-dude sneaker attitude can slip into several ensembles – be it smart, casual and smart-casual looks. And going no socks will put some extra spring in your step. Better still, you don’t even have to spend a fortune nowadays to get yourself a premium pair, as plenty of affordable pairs more than fit the bill.
#3 The Classic Fitted T-Shirt
The t-shirt has been essential since McQueen and James Dean. But this spring, the cotton casual top gets reworked into looser tailored fits and luxury yarns – across an array of muted colours. Styling is easy (and is meant to be), chucking the tee on nonchalantly under an open indigo denim shirt or tucked into cotton suit pants with a light jacket slipped on over a fitted t-shirt.
With an array of models on offer (and some not so good), it’s worth checking out the best t-shirts for men and then stocking up from there.
#4 The Basic Sweatshirt
In the name of luxury sportswear, the daggy sweatshirt is now seen in a new light thanks to high fashion’s approval of relaxed clothing.
Contemporary street brands are crafting minimal versions of the top in monochrome hues (some with stylish branding); while more conservative labels are delving into a basics version of the sweatshirt – plain and neutral in colour made from light jersey cotton for spring nights over jeans and a white sneaker.
The springtime sweatshirt won’t fit or look like your current bed top or gym jumper, but it should feel just as comfortable.
#5 Commuter Backpack
Backpacks are spring’s bag of choice and pair well with any outfit – a casual tee and jean or a blazer and chino short combo.
But there are rules. Keep the bag luxe (not hiking style) – sticking to premium fabrics (think leather or neoprene), muted colours (black, brown and navy) and look to minimal design (think one pocket varieties) with subtle zip fastening.
#6 Baseball Cap
The major cap for the new season is the ‘snapback’ – a reimagined cap that features the classic plastic snaps fastening system known to baseball. No longer baggy jean-tied to the Nineties, the snapback plays its part in the activewear arena too, working particularly well with longline styles and slim jeans or cuffed trouser joggers.
Like the backpack, the cap comes in cool new fabrics – think leather and felt – in minimal shades, and cotton or synthetic materials – with subtle patterns and prints. And sneakers are a must – with both styles.
#7 Tailored Shorts For Summer
Tailored shorts are the kind that look like trousers – cut off just above the knee. They are far dressier than board shorts or elasticated jersey versions, with belt loops, a zip-and-button fasten – and even tab pulls in some cases.
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Coming in an array of colours in the new season, darker hues create a smarter rendition, while beige (under a white linen shirt) is super summery. Otherwise, take a sharp jacket and crisp cotton shirt, and you’ve got an ideal alternative to formal trousers for attending garden parties and wedding receptions.
For these events, team tailored shorts with dress shoes, such as Brogues, Oxfords and Derbies or suede loafers, driving shoes and low cut, slim sneakers for something a touch modern.
#8 Indigo Denim Shirt
Cotton is such a versatile fabric for casual buttoned shirts, and comes in many weave strengths and dyes. Varied shades of indigo is the new season’s must-have, representing menswear’s current obsession with American works shop pieces and Japanese cotton.
From Chambrays to Western shirts to light and airy linens, eliminate any tacky add-ons – studs, logos, badges – from the shirt, and let the wash of the indigo play its part in making the shirt look – and feel – great.
Indigo aficionados should look to double-denim, placing an indigo shirt (loose and untucked) over faded black or raw denim jeans – ensuring the wash of top and bottom aren’t matching. Conservatives – stick to neutral-hued chinos or tailored shorts – rolling the ankle of the pant to match the roll-sleeved shirt.
#9 An Unstructured Blazer
Often made from a single-layer fabric – cotton, canvas, linen or lightweight wool – the separate is perfect for spring’s warmth, while the occasional casual details (think exposed seams and patch pockets) accentuate the jacket’s lack of structure – and coolness.
Try pairing a navy or burgundy blazer with clean t-shirt and slim-cut denim – in a dark or lighter wash – the latter being more day-time appropriate.
#10 Suede Brogue / Derby Shoes
Suede is a hefty winter fabric. But not when it’s on your feet. Keeping it chic (though we do love a good camel suede boot) leave the textured animal hide to the Brogue – the dress shoe recognised for its punch-hole details.
A Derby silhouette in chocolate or tan is perfection – sat under summery trousers or jeans (cuffs rolled and no socks) – for a European aesthetic.
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Dressing it up, go wingtip in deepest brown or black, paired with a dinner jacket in midnight blue velvet and silk lapel, a black bow tie and crisp white shirt. Let the party begin.
#11 Nylon Bomber
Jackets carry winter connotations but not the flight bomber. Its shape takes on the legendary MA-1 fighter jacket, while its textile is more sports-inspired – a lighter nylon fabric which acts as a windbreaker and also breathes well when made from active fabrics.
Cut in a slim and cropped fit, the elastic waistband and cuffs keep the silhouette cinched where it counts. Play around with contrast shades (between the cuffs and jacket fabric) and in keeping with the style, buy a jacket with the flight bomber’s signature zipped sleeve pocket.
Seen mostly in navy, olive and black, this jacket is typically casual. But it does hot-up a basic white t-shirt and jean combination; while acting as a monochrome active outerwear option (in nylon) for a jogger pant and sneaker collaboration.
#12 Smart Knitwear
The sweater (despite its tendency to be labelled as winter wear) is the ideal top piece when the weather can’t decide what it’s doing. And the new season welcomes in smart sweater options too, meaning the suaveness of a jacket isn’t needed to balance out a slouchy sweatshirt.
Luxury fabrics (cashmere, organic cotton and Italian polyesters) are the key ingredients here, matched with tailored design in the shoulder – taking this once couch-bound jumper into the style arena.
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Worn solo, play around with texture – looking to the fisherman’s cable knit if it’s chilly or a waffle knit for a finer gauge. Feeling spring-ish? The modern Breton stripe in a thin sweater weave is a cool transitional version of the French summer t-shirt – just with long-sleeves instead of short.
Trans-seasonal periods can be a tricky time with the weather brazenly hot one minute – then, slightly coolish the next. So lightweight casual pieces – like the ones mentioned above – are your best bet.
Helping you out in the transitional season, most come in heat-reflecting colours and are made from natural fibres that insulate and breathe – all at the same time.
Then, style things simply but with attitude, throwing in some key men’s jewellery pieces to jazz up the easy-go outfit. Let the springtime fun begin.