Men’s Spring Fashion Guide: Everything You Need To Know For 2023
The tips, tricks, trends and techniques to help reposition your wardrobe for spring, so you feel confident and comfortable no matter what the conditions.
Spring is a glorious season; nature begins to wake from its slumber and a broad spectrum of colour seeps into our lives once again. And yet when it comes to putting together a wardrobe for spring, there are often more questions than answers thanks to the often changeable weather.
Dressing for four seasons in a single day comes with its own set of conundrums but thankfully there’s something of a blueprint to help you navigate this. Being smart with lightweight layers is crucial as this allows you to peel off and add on as and when the weather changes. Your silhouettes are important too – cropped jackets and blousons really come to the fore as your bigger, bulkier shapes go back into hibernation.
And finally, material choice is critical: breathability, warmth, protection, moisture-wicking ability… all factors you need to consider when choosing between lightweight natural fibres and even lighter weight technical fabrics.
Read on to learn the tips, tricks and techniques to reposition your wardrobe for the changeability of spring so you feel confident and comfortable no matter what the conditions.
Men’s spring style tips
The term ‘transitional’ gets used a lot in the fashion press around this time of year, but what does it actually mean? It’s used to describe any kind of garment or style that can be worn in that strange limbo period between one season ending and another beginning, but especially spring, which can be meteorologically nuts to say the least.
A transitional look then consists of clothing that you’ll be comfortable in on a chilly morning that evolves into a warm afternoon or vice versa. Sounds simple in theory, but harder to pull off in reality, as anyone who has naively left the house on a bright spring morning only to be shivering their proverbials off by midday will testify.
Transitional pieces are your wardrobe’s all-rounders. We’ll get into the key pieces in a bit, but suffice to say that you need items that are constructed from mid-weight fabrics both natural and technical, with an element of inherent protectiveness.
If there was one lesson to take from this article, it’s learning to layer. Layering is a critical component to dressing well for spring as not only does it cover all weather bases, but done correctly it also creates an interesting and multi-faceted look.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as chucking on one garment over the other – you need to consider fabric weight, colour, pattern and texture, and pull all these elements together in a cohesive and sophisticated way.
There are certain menswear aesthetics that lend themselves well to layering. Take preppy style for example, which often incorporates shirting, knitwear and outerwear in an outfit, varying the weights of cloth and the types of fabrics used in order to create a spring-ready look. Nothing about the preppy look is bulky; it’s about light- to mid-weight natural fibres complemented by a technical outer layer in most cases. Or think of a contemporary tailoring look, which might use a lightweight cotton suit, cotton jersey shirt and technical parka or mac.
Layering gives you the ability to create smooth tonal looks or bold statement fits that clash patterns and colours, depending on your mood and the occasion.
Natural vs Technical
Fabric consideration is all important for spring given the changeable weather, and especially so if you’re going to be layering. You typically need to decide between natural fibres or technical fabrics – but the best looks usually include both.
Wool, cotton and linen all have excellent breathability and regulate temperature well so they’re a no-brainer when it comes to tees, shirts and lightweight knitwear. Merino tees or polos tick all the boxes as a stylish yet functional layer whatever the weather, and you can easily style them with a lightweight blouson or blazer.
When it comes to the outer layer however, you might be better off refining your search to lightweight technical jackets, which will do a much better job at waterproofing you while remaining breathable, therefore not adding any unnecessary bulk or causing you to overheat.
Key spring fashion pieces
Take a leaf out of the Italian dressing handbook and opt for unstructured suits for spring for a more natural fluid drape that looks casual and relaxed. With soft shoulders and zero canvassing, a well-tailored unstructured jacket will feel almost like a piece of loungewear.
Linen might be a touch lightweight for spring (but a no-brainer for summer) so opt for cotton or tropical wools for a bit more substance. A boxy, oversized silhouette is preferable if you’re making a fashion statement, otherwise the best advice is to get an off-the-peg jacket altered to fit.
Whether it’s a classic MA-1 silhouette or a more contemporary interpretation, a bomber jacket is essential kit for the spring months. That cropped shape with a tapered waist is flattering on all body types and many come slightly padded so you can throw it on over a tee or polo without fear of getting cold.
The military references give the bomber utilitarian appeal but if you prefer a more preppy look then opt for its collegiate cousin, the varsity jacket. There’s great diversity in bombers so you’ll be able to find cotton styles that have more of a tailored look to them, as well as contemporary versions cut in shiny technical fabrics. Either way, it’s an extremely versatile jacket that every man should have in their spring wardrobe.
Don’t sleep on the overshirt. The Swiss army knife of spring dressing, you can use it as a top layer over a tee or as a mid layer underneath a technical jacket on cooler days, providing you with ultimate versatility.
The main consideration to make with the overshirt is fabric – for a soft textural look then wool flannel is hard to beat, but a heavyweight cotton style with patch pockets will be a nice addition to a workwear-inspired wardrobe. Otherwise, lightweight cotton and linen styles will be great breezy layering pieces as you transition into summer.
A mainstay of preppy wardrobes since the 50s, the cardigan is a welcome spring addition, bringing retro vibes to your wardrobe. They’re a great way to introduce bold colours, or to break up your look with a grungy oversized silhouette, while they also offer a tactile and textural contrast.
Simply layer one over a tee with distressed jeans and sneakers for a bohemian look or opt for a more fitted vintage style to capture an old-school collegiate aesthetic.
Another icon of military menswear, the parka jacket is usually associated with the winter but you can now find a slew of brands designing lightweight technical versions of this iconic piece of outerwear.
While the hood certainly comes in handy during April showers, it’s the longline silhouette of the parka which is the game changer, providing a voluminous shape to backstop your look. Moreover, technical fabrics such as nylon and ripstop are extremely durable and bring a modern urban edge to any fit.
Denim and chambray really come into their own in spring, especially in shirting form. Both have a certain rugged appeal inspired by Americana and are typically constructed from mid-weight cotton so they feel substantial without being heavy.
A chambray shirt is a great way to dress down spring tailoring, be it a suit or separates, whereas a denim shirt fits into the workwear mould with ease. It’s also a great addition to an Ivy League look beneath a fine-gauge, crew-neck jumper.
Another iconic silhouette, the trucker jacket is a versatile option to have in your spring arsenal, given how easy it is to style with most types of looks. Suede designs are an excellent way to dress down smarter trousers such as cotton double pleats, but don’t fare too well in the rain.
A more rugged, casual bet would be a trucker cut from denim or a cotton twill with a semi-spread collar which you can wear over polo shirts, tees, oxford shirts, lightweight knitwear and everything in between.
The trucker is perfect as part of a workwear look with fatigue trousers, and a no-brainer with quality raw selvedge jeans.
Long-sleeve knitted polo
It might come at a premium but a long-sleeved merino wool knitted polo shirt is trans-seasonal gold dust. For a start, merino wool has natural temperature regulating properties, and feels truly luxurious when crafted into a slim-fitting polo shape.
It’s a peerless garment for dressing down tailoring but if the temperature rises it’s more than smart enough to hold its own without a jacket or blazer.
A favourite of workwear aficionados, the classic three- or four-pocket field jacket is another menswear classic that has its origins in the armed forces. Part cotton canvas overshirt and part jacket, it’s the perfect hybrid layer for spring climes given the heavyweight cotton drill it’s usually constructed from.
Functional to the core thanks to the multiple patch pockets, the traditional colour palette is olive drab or khaki, which pair well with neutral tones such as beige, off-white and tan. Opt for a navy field jacket if you want to elevate it to something more refined.
Cotton chinos and flat-fronted trousers are a mainstay of spring wardrobes thanks to their versatility. From navy and earth tones to off-white and neutrals, cotton chinos can be dressed up with tailored separates, or dressed down with preppy sportswear.
Just make sure you go for good quality cotton, preferably organic. Add a roll-up to the legs for a casual cropped finish.
Whether jeans, chinos, pleated or suit separates, wide-leg trousers seem to be here to stay, and the move away from the skinny silhouette of recent years begins to gather pace.
You don’t need to go overboard with Oxford bags-style dimensions, but a wider leg for spring can add a nice twist to your casualwear and tailoring proportions.
Slinky tailored styles in a silk blend work well for a polished, fashion-forward look, otherwise look for mid-weight cotton styles to slide into your casual fits.