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.
Shoes for spring suits should be matte brown. Avoid anything with too much gloss as it can read a little formal and ditch the black, instead bringing a bit of warmth with brown leathers and suedes. Derbies and wingtip lace-ups are generally a good call, but shoe designer Matt Bernson swears by a tassle loafer: "I like it for the misty cool-air early European spring feel. They are as classic as you can get, and will last for a decade and still be in style."
The sneakers-with-suits approach is a bit more controversial – don't try it at a wedding or the office – but ideal for spring. A clean white sneaker can off-set the color elsewhere in your look while a vintage-looking running shoe can off-set the outfit's inherent seriousness. See if your old pair of New Balance sneakers looks good. Many are colorful enough that they can be matched with your tie or shirt. Also, you'll have an edge if a game of Wiffleball breaks out.
A quick, inexpensive way to liven up tired shoes for spring? New shoe laces – especially colored laces. Although other parts of your look might have lighter, brighter colors for spring, try to keep your shoe laces in a palette of darker, warmer tones that complement the richness of the leather, not contrast against it. Stick to round, waxed laces that have the same office-appropriate fabrication as your regular laces, but have some color to them for an unexpected pop. Shoe stores that specialize in classic look will definitely have some options in stock.
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