Monday, September 23, 2013

Style: Men's Casual Spring Essentials

I’ve been waiting for the rain and it hasn’t come. Instead the heat and accompanying humidity have prevailed and there is no way of hiding from them, nor is there any abate visible on their part. I tweeted a statement a few weeks ago that ‘it was time to bust out the overcoats and flannels because the real cold weather was finally here’, how misinformed I was. This strange anomaly has had me rethinking my whole take on spring fashion and how most of us can get by in a stylish way. I, thus, present to you my picks for spring 2013. Some essentials every gent could use in their wardrobe.
White sneakers

Nothing says wiping the footwear slate clean quite like a pair of star white sneakers. For me, my pick is the Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor lo in white leather. Incredibly versatile and equally elusive; I have yet to see a pair on the streets, however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other brands. This particular pair is great for casual weekend wear or, dare I say it, casual Friday. They can definitely relax a smart casual look in a combination with chinos and a cotton field jacket, or a light coloured denim jacket.

Driving shoes

With temperatures hovering around the late 20s degrees it’s natural that your feet need to breathe. Get them in a pair of driving moccasins. I saw a young gent a few weeks ago wearing driving mocs and I thought to myself ‘it’s a little too early to be wearing those’.  But looking at the weather at the time, it was uncharacteristically hot for a spring day. Don’t neglect adding these to your list because they are versatile and stylish. There is a popular brand of driving mocs in South Africa called Carvela; I’d like to take this moment to implore you to try other brands out there because I feel that they have as much to offer in the driving moc style. For instance looking at these two colours, one can deduce that there are colours for everyone, both the cautious and the brave.

Brown boat shoes

As colourful as spring allows us to be, I wouldn’t be too experimental in the boat shoe section. That’s why I advocate for brown boat shoes because with their brown sole they are slightly more dressy than other types. Boat shoes in bright colours with white soles are very casual, nautical in fact, and they meld with summer better. The brown boat shoes pictured are great for spring in that they can be worn with chinos and a cotton jacket, as well as shorts and a striped t-shirt. I would go for the slightly dressier look finished off with a brown boat shoe.
Bright chinos

I have always had an affinity for the colour terracotta. Ever since I discovered the myriad combinations one can wear it with, it’s definitely up there on my essentials list. Chinos or a suit in this shade is an exuberant but not flamboyant start to the colourful season. Some gents are apprehensive of experimenting with bright colours; terracotta however is a safe start. Pair them with a navy blue or a grey blazer. In light of this, I can’t wait for the time I will profile a suit in a terracotta colour.

Light grey sweater

This sweater is not dressy at all but what I like about it is that in the right shade of grey and complementary fit, it becomes a stylish alternative to other sweaters in myriad colours. With jeans and chinos, this is as casual and stylish as it gets. This particular sweater has elasticated cuffs and waist; therefore, in the proper fit it will complement your body and outfit
Short trench coat

The weather might not be indicative of the rainy season but I assure you the rain is coming. Spring is incredibly wet so it’s best to get ready to counter the deluge. A short trench coat is a useful way to start because it's fashionable, trendy, and stylish.  The great thing about a trench of any kind is that it transcends all the seasons, maybe even last a lifetime; however, what’s important is adapting it throughout the year. In the context of spring you need a lightweight, breathable piece. You don’t want to burn up. Because I believe that the rains are still coming, you will definitely be wearing your trench right through December
Chambray or Patterned Shirt

This is the time to experiment with a lighter shirt fabric, and chambray is a great start. Somewhat of a cross between cotton and denim, it straddles dressy and casual really well. The two examples  below illustrate just how versatile they can be. And a subtle pattern allows one to experiment with various necktie designs. It follows then that a patterned chambray shirt is right at home when paired with a cotton suit.

Cotton jacket

A jacket is an indispensable item in a gentleman’s wardrobe. As you manoeuvre through the seasons, the same should apply to your jacket fabrics. A gent needs a light weight cotton jacket with little construction in the shoulders and lining. If you’re going for an unstructured jacket, then it’ll mean there is absolutely no shoulder pads and lining. The great thing about a cotton jacket with little structure is that it can be dressy and casual. To the office and going out later in the evening needn’t be dress code strict.

Colourful canvas belt

If you’re ever faced with a challenge when making forays into the realm of colour and are apprehensive about it then start small. If a bright suit, or bright shirt or tie are too bold for you then try a colourful accessory such as a canvas belt. This will lead to other attempts at colour in other aspects of your outfit. The wonderful thing about colourful canvas belts is that they can be worn in a number of ways and with contrasting footwear. So just because the belt has red doesn’t necessarily mean that the shoes should be red, however, the red is merely a guide as what colours  to combine and complement your outfit.




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