Monday, May 7, 2012
A few months ago I laid the groundwork for a practical yet stylish winter wardrobe for guys.
Winter means short days and minimal time outside. Your winter staples are allowed to make daily, repeated appearances, as variety quickly gives way to functionality. It’s good to note, however, that you can bring a few of the staples with you as you transition into spring and summer. The heavy denim you wore through those colder months has probably broken in and softened up nicely. Perhaps you have washed the denim enough that the “next-to-black” indigo has given way to a slightly brighter shade of blue. The dressier boots you might have broken in during our few snowy days have likewise grown comfortable and soft. These pieces are easily workable into the warm-weather mix.
But spring and summer are a time of more sun and activity. We tend to hang out with friends and venture outside more; consequently, our wardrobe tends to shift from simply warm and dry to a mode of freedom and self-expression.
I always make sure I have some variety of the following in my closet come spring:
A pair of slip-on shoes that can be dressed up or down.
I prefer something like leather Sperry Top-Siders or, as of late, leather-soled loafers like Bass Weejuns. These are shoes that work both thoughtfully dressed up for a summer wedding, or tossed on to go to a barbecue or farmers’ market. Check out Foxtrot and Urban Outfitters in downtown Lawrence for a nicely curated collection of spring shoes.
A few pairs of lighter weight chinos in staple colors like olive, gray and khaki.
I prefer slim and tailored so they go well will a low-profile shoe. These pants, again, will work well dressed up. Or you can roll them up with a casual button-down or T-shirt, and they will look just as cool. They will also give the jeans you’ve been wearing constantly a day or two off each week. My favorites are Baldwin’s Ryan Trousers found at the Baldwin Men’s Shop in Leawood.
Oxford cloth button-downs in both short and long-sleeve.
I always make sure I have these breathable shirts around in a light blue and white, as they go with absolutely everything and you’ll stay cool enough all day even in long sleeves. Find them at Wildman or Arizona Trading Co. for super cheap or virtually any store that carries men’s clothes. Make sure they fit well, though, as they are oftentimes made too billowy under the false pretense that they keep you cooler that way.
A lightweight wool blazer in some shade of blue.
This sounds really specific, but if you pick up a great fitting blue blazer, I promise you will be covered for almost any formal occasion that might pop up between now and October. A few of my favorites can be found at Suit Supply online.
A handful of brighter colored T-shirts.
I almost exclusively wear American Apparel; they cost a bit more, but the fit is spot on and their 50/50 fabrics are incredibly comfortable. You can pick them up at ACME and Hobbs in downtown Lawrence.
Finally, a pair of canvas sneakers.
Vans, Seavees and Generic Surplus (to name only a few) all make excellent canvas sneakers in both fun bright colors and match-to-anything basics.
These are the bare bones of a super simple and interchangeable spring wardrobe that will fit your more active lifestyle. Stick to lightweight, washable fabrics that fit well, and those few items will go a long way.