Spring Style Guide
Last weekend I got sunburn playing golf, this week I've turned up the heating after being hailstoned half to death. If the recent weather is anything to go by, Spring is most certainly upon us. Dressing in the Scottish springtime can be like sartorial hay fever; annoying at best, painful at worst. We've all left for work on a crisp sunny morning wearing nothing but a suit and a smile, only to arrive home soaked to the core after a Jumanji style afternoon monsoon.
That said, the arrival of the new season is a great opportunity to revisit your wardrobe, reassess your pieces and rejuvenate your style. Around this time of the year I like to have a good spring clean of my clothes, making sure I love every piece and consider where to invest for the coming months. It's a liberating exercise and one that I suggest everyone tries, starting from the bottom, literally.
(top tip - keep storage near by and pack away winter clothes until later in the year, freeing up space and making it easier to pull outfits together.)
Underwear - you should really be buying new underwear every six months, at least, so if you're still rocking those Pierre Cardans you got for Christmas, get rid of them and invest in some new stock. There's a whole host of new British underwear brands making great quality products, so think outside the usual CKs. With socks, tuck away any thick or long wools for later in the year, instead focus on good quality cotton or fine wools.
Shoes - it's not quite time for loafers or boat shoes but equally your heavy boots have done their walking for now. Stick to your leather oxfords or brogues for the time being.
Trousers - they say dark denim should only be worn in winter, I disagree. I own one pair of jeans; organic raw denim that never get washed, these are perfect for weekend adventures with the Mrs, the boys or the dog, whatever time of year it is. However, with sunnier days and the tropical Ayrshire climate I bring out lighter-weight chinos instead of relying on heavy denims. Charcoal and navy are good basic colours to have, with burgundy, tan and olive tones as nice alternatives. Trousers should be slim cut with a break at the bottom. Avoid skinny cuts unless you are any of the following i) 16-19 ii) a noughties new romantic band iii) female
On top - knitwear. Invest in good quality knitwear. Ditch anything synthetic i.e. Acrylic or Polyester; these man made fibres actively induce sweating and don't have the ability to get rid of it, resulting in a layer of cold sweat sitting on your skin, making you feel like a cold Melton Mowbray pie. Instead, look for lambswool, merino or cashmere and invest in the best quality your budget will permit - these pieces will last longer and there are few luxuries in life greater than wearing cashmere.
Shirts - For casual affairs the classic Oxford is my go to; versatile enough to be worn at most occasions and easily paired with jeans or chinos. Stock up on whites and blues.
T-shirts - the humble tee should be an item that is evaluated every year, as your style, taste, body shape and age changes as should your t shirt collection. Be honest with yourself - is it time to archive the band tees? Are you really "cool as FCUK"? And did you ever go to "Paul's boxing gym" or "Frankie's vintage garage" Now is the time to ditch the slogan tees and invest in some classics, again block colours, white or grey marls are versatile and timeless.
*a note on the Breton - stripped nautical tees are timeless and versatile. Go for black or navy stripes, avoid red, especially if you wear glasses, you don't want to be mistaken for expert hide and seeker Where's Wally.
Coats and jackets - a light raincoat / trench coat or Mackintosh is a sound investment for repelling those unexpected Spring showers or blustery days. Smart enough to wear to work with a suit and casual enough to team with jeans and knitwear at the weekend, the raincoat is a classic. In terms of fitting and colours, I'd look for fawn, navy or charcoal instead of black and make sure it's fitted to your shape, baggy and I'll fitting coats can carry the danger of looking like a flasher or inspector gadget. For a lighter alternative, a classic Harrington bomber jacket should always have a place in your wardrobe. Worn from the 60s throughout the decades by likes of Steve McQueen and Elvis it's a piece that is as relevant now as it's ever been.
Suits - springtime means weddings, and with that the dilemma of what to wear. If you're buying a new suit buy the best you can afford and have it tailored to fit. Again navys and greys are a safe bet here as they can be accessorised easily to give different looks. If you have a suit, maybe look at a new waistcoat in a contrasting fabric texture or colour. Play around with different shirt styles and colours, try a light blue or light grey instead of white or a wide spread collar or double cuff. Accessories with ties and pocket squares, but remember that subtlety reigns supreme in suiting.