It seems like just yesterday we were talking about making the jump from summer to fall, yet here we are. The reason these two seasonal transitions are the most difficult is because of the more drastic changes in the weather. Spring to summer is as easy as fall to winter – just do more or less of what you’re already doing and you’re set. However, the changeover from the more drastic seasons not only introduces a functional switch, but an emotional one – and a man’s clothing should reflect that. Just like the previous transition, there are a few key ideas to making this easier.
Wear More and Brighter Colors
For most of us, it’s either subconscious or just a result of the clothing that companies design, but our winter gear tends to skew a bit heavily towards the darker shades. Ties, socks, and pocket squares get darker, and most coats are offered in black, charcoal, gray, brown, or a deep navy. There’s nothing wrong with these colors – they reflect the environment and, often times, the mood of the people wearing them. The post-holiday winter months can be something to survive as opposed to celebrate. However, with the increased arrival of spring, optimism comes back and it becomes easier to wear brighter colors. One of the best ways to do this is with chalky shades. As we did with the summer/fall transition, it’s best to embrace the colors seen in nature. This will mean greens, blues, yellows, and other more vibrant choices.
Swap out Your Shoes
This does not mean it’s time to take the sandals and boat shoes out of storage. We’ve all seen the guy in flip-flops and shorts as soon as the thermometer breaks 45 and no one wants to be him. We’re all excited about the end of winter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What it does mean is to change your chunky snow boots for something like desert boots. They’re equally as casual and formidable, but wear a little lighter and look more attuned to the changing seasons. For dress shoes, it means going back to sleeker, simpler cuts – while still keeping the heavy duty dress boots available for the rainy days in which extra protection is needed. Lastly, get some good rain boots. These can be as intense as a pair of galoshes or as simple as rubber overshoes for dress shoes. Either way, a well-dressed man doesn’t want to walk through puddles and have them ruining his shoes.
It’s not rocket science, but it makes the list because it’s effective. During the winter, the more covering the better. It doesn’t matter how well individual pieces work together or how easily they can be shed, because most of a man’s clothing is hidden by his coat. However, with spring getting warmer and warmer as it progresses, layering reintroduces itself as a key element in not only form, but function as well. Spring layering should be approached the same as autumn, just with spring colors and materials. At the beginning of the season, scarves and sweaters come in to play, whereas getting closer to the middle of spring means just a jacket or outer layer.
Change Fabrics Gradually
Just like tweed, cashmere, and flannel are better suited for winter, there are particular cloths suited for spring and summer. Cotton, linen, and lighter-weight wools are the primary choices during warmer weather (though it’s better to wait until summer before breaking out the linen and seersucker). The trick early in the season is in embracing these materials in smaller doses. Ties, pocket squares, socks, and sweaters are all great places to introduce a bit of spring flavor without sacrificing comfort or wearability on the days that feel like we’re heading back into December. One of the best ways to do this is with outerwear. This is the time of year to trade the top coat for a trench and swap the sherling-lined bomber for a Harrington or Members Only jacket. Rather than using heavy wools, these are made from rain-resistant materials like waxed cotton or nylon. They’re enough of a layer to still help protect against the cold, but are more rain repellant than than their snow-intended counterparts. And speaking of all of the upcoming rain…
Use an Umbrella
Remember, it’s not summer yet. There will still be cold days and plenty of moisture. No man wants to be caught outside in clothing that makes the season worse instead of better. Yes the travel-size options are passable, but there’s something dignified about carrying around a full, classic version. Not to mention the fact that their coverage radius is a little larger. And don’t be the guy who tries to use his golf umbrella on crowded city streets. It looks ridiculous. By making a few easy, but conscious decisions in your wardrobe, the end of February and beginning of March can not only be stylish, but more comfortable.