When mild weather arrives, men hang up their wool three-piece for the season and make a fresh start in lighter fabrics. But looking great in a spring suit isn't just a matter of wearing one. In order to put together an outfit that is, in equal turns, casual and formal, men need to pay close attention to the details – and have some fun with it.
First and foremost, spring is about color. No one is suggesting that you wear pastels, but adding something from the spectrum banishes the drab solemnity of winter, especially when it comes to your socks, ties, shirt, or pocket square. Lighten the mood and avoid appearing dandy-ish by sticking to one palette (think: saturated greens or light blues instead of earth tones). Self-control is important - if somewhat overrated. Put on some cool shades. Hell, put a flower in your lapel if you think you can pull it off.
Eager to make the most of our spring suit, we asked a group of menswear designers and experts to weigh in on what we need to look our best. They told us to think of spring dressing like spring cleaning: Out with the old; in with the new.
A colorful sock is a foolproof way to introduce some whimsy into an outfit. If your pants are tailored correctly, a sliver of ankle should be visible when you're walking or sitting down – and an eye-catching sock will peek through. If you prefer a coordinated look, make sure the sock is the same color palette as either your shirt, tie, or pocket square. If you want to have a bit more fun, go for a sock that stands out, maybe even clashes a bit.
If you have suit pants tailored on the slimmer, straighter side (wide-leg trousers are always the wrong decision, unless you're trying to hide gun) another option is to go sockless – "or at least appear to be wearing no socks," according 2(x)ist Creative Director Jason Scarlatti. Terry cloth insoles available at any drugstore are a good way to prevent sweaty feet, as are no-show peds, the pads women pretend not to wear under their heels. "They give you the modern sockless look with the comfort, confidence and support a sock provides," says Scarlatti. Buy peds with small rubber grippers on the back of the heel to prevent them from sliding down and bunching up in your shoe.
Credit: Catherine MacBride / Getty Images