When it comes to men’s spring fashion, guys face a few challenges.
For one thing, the warmer months of spring don’t force us into the easy, if repetitive, wardrobe decisions that winter does.
Whereas the depths of winter basically necessitate that you wear the same down parka and insulated boots each day, warmer weather requires you to put a bit more thought into your getup.
And while that’s true of both genders, come spring guys also face a unique challenge that women don’t have to contend with:
The spring season is defined by brighter color schemes and bolder patterns (we’re looking at you, floral prints), which are fun, but not what most of us consider to be traditionally masculine.
It’s easy to both look sharp and feel like a man’s man in the fall and winter, when you can layer down hunting jackets over chunky wool sweaters, and look like you just stepped off the Yellowstone ranch.
But it’s a little harder to generate the same kind of masculine pride when you’re wearing lightweight spring fabrics, or the kind of bright colors that would look more at home on Andrew Bernard than John Dutton.
The good news is that finding the right balance between strappingly masculine and seasonally appropriate is definitely doable—as long as you know the spring outfits, colors, clothes and accessories that make a man look his best on warm days.
Below I’ve rounded up the must-have men’s spring wardrobe essentials that will help you look sharp and stand out when warm weather (finally!) returns.
Smart & Stylish Mens Spring Fashion
Breaking Down the (Absolute) Best Men’s Spring Styles ↓
The Best Spring Colors for Men
Looking sharp in spring basically comes down to two fundamental factors:
- Choosing the right pieces to wear, and
- Wearing them in the right colors
So before we get into the spring wardrobe essentials that will help you look your best, let’s briefly look at the colors you should buy them in.
Spring is arguably the most optimistic time of year:
A period of growth and renewal in which we crawl out from under the oppression of winter and embrace the light, both literally and figuratively.
It’s not quite time for the bold color that works so well in hot summer months, so you’ll probably have to leave those neon green Bermuda shorts in the drawer for a few more months.
But it’s the perfect time to ditch dark blue and black, and start moving toward lighter shades of solid colors.
Here are the key colors that should make up most of your spring wardrobe, and the best pieces to buy in each color:
- Button Down Shirts
- Button down shirts
- Cardigans and V-Necks
- Jeans and chinos
- Button down shirts
- Cardigans and V-Necks
- Blazers and/or Suit Jackets
- Casual Jacket
Other Colors Worth Considering
- Light Grey
Mens Spring Shoes
Around here we like to say that shoes are the secret weapon of style, because the right shoes can elevate your whole outfit, while the wrong ones can ruin an otherwise on-point look.
When winter’s frigid temperatures finally give way to warmer spring weather, stylish guys tend to ditch the chunky, heavy boots in favor of lighter weight styles that are both sleeker and more seasonally appropriate.
Everything from a stylish pair of suede chukkas to a reliable pair of leather boat shoes (one of the most iconic American footwear styles of all time) are perfect for spring, so it’s easy to find a pair that will work with your wardrobe.
Pick up any of the smart casual styles below in a classic color like tan, brown or white, and you’ll be able to go anywhere from a boardroom with a business casual dress code to a (probably still heated) patio for happy hour drinks.
Mens Spring Sunglasses
Men’s fashion trends seem to come and go quicker than ever nowadays, and nowhere is that more true than in the world of eyewear.
The same shades that looked fresh last summer may already be over this spring, which is a problem, since even the most affordable sunglasses aren’t exactly cheap.
So, what’s the best way to win the trend game?
Simple: don’t play it.
While the masses scour through Tik Tok (and blow through their savings accounts) trying to keep up with the latest trends, the sharp-dressed man heeds the words of James Bond:
“Sometimes the old ways are the best.”
Instead of wasting your money on a style that might fall out of fashion within 12 months, the smarter play is to invest in the kind of classic shades that have already stood the test of time.
We put together a whole post breaking down the most classic men’s sunglass styles, but below are three of our all-time favorite frames shapes.
The Splurge: Steve McQueen’s Persols
Mens Spring Jackets
Spring may be warmer than winter, but in most parts of the world there are still plenty of chilly days between the end of winter and the start of summer.
Fortunately, layering a light jacket over the rest of your outfit is not only a great way to keep warm, but an easy way to add an extra element of style to your look.
(for when it’s technically spring, but the weather’s still pretty damn cold)
Denim Jacket aka Jean Jacket
Sport Coat / Blazer
Mens Spring Suits
A well-cut suit is one of the most essential items a man can have in his closet.
In fact, with the exception of very formal looks like a full peak lapel tuxedo, a nice suit might just be the sharpest, most dapper and distinguished piece of clothing most of us own.
But while suits are sharp at any time of year, spring’s in-between temperatures make suiting up a little trickier than other seasons.
Whereas the hot weather of summer necessitates unlined suits made from breathable fabrics, and winter’s cold months call for thick fabrics like wool and flannel, spring suits sit somewhere in the middle.
The Spring Suit Sweet Spot:
Medium Weight, Lighter Color
A good spring suit has enough structure and weight to withstand a strong gust of wind on a particularly cool day, but not so much that you’ll be sweating through your shirt once you move inside.
In terms of fabric, cotton is usually your best, since it’s warm enough to keep your body heat relatively contained, but breathable enough to accommodate warm temperatures.
When it comes to color, a lot of guys make the mistake of wearing the same heavy, dark suit in spring that they wore all winter.
That’s why my favorite move is to opt for lighter shades that help you stand out from the crowd.
Lighter shades of standard suit colors like gray and blue can help you distinguish yourself from other guys, but if you really want to go next level, opt for something like a medium green or salmon, which will really stand out.
While choosing the right color certainly helps, the best way to look sharp in a suit is to make sure it fits like a glove.
Check out our breakdown of how a suit should fit to understand the nuances of what makes for a good fit, then find a local tailor who can tweak it to your specific size and body type.
Where to Buy Spring Suits
Suits are definitely one of the more expensive pieces of menswear, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to look sharp.
Check out our round up of the best affordable men’s suit brands to find the best places to for ballers on a budget to suit up.
Mens Spring Shirts
A lot of the same rules that apply to choosing the right spring suit also come into play when choosing a shirt.
The perfect spring shirt is made from a medium-weight fabric like cotton or merino wool, and comes in a lighter color, like any of the spring colors mentioned above.
(So if you’re sitting on a few silk Louis Vuitton statement shirts and you’re just dying to wear ‘em, stand pat until summer, when you can pair them with short shorts by the pool.)
The most classic example of a spring shirt is the Oxford Cloth Button Down, better known in menswear circles as the OCBD.
It’s been a cornerstone of preppy fashion for decades, and with good reason:
These are the type of long sleeve shirts that look good on just about every body shape.
Plus, they perfectly straddle the line between dressed-up and dressed down, making them one of the most versatile pieces in your closet.
As a senior editor at a fitness magazine, for years I would tuck in my OCBD white shirt and wear it with chinos and a light sweater for a perfect business casual outfit.
Then on weekends I’d untuck it and wear it with jeans for a more laid back, casual look.
Other Solid Spring Options
While an OCBD is one of the key items you should have on hand come spring, you definitely don’t want it to be the only thing in your closet.
Below are a few more types of shirts that are perfect for spring’s up and down weather.
Rugby Shirts and/or Long-Sleeve Polos
Long-Sleeve Henley Shirt
Mens Spring Pants
A lot of the same rules that apply to spring shirts also apply to spring pants.
When the weather starts to warm up, leave your thick corduroy and heavy wool pants in the closet.
Instead, opt for a good pair of chinos in lighter colors like khaki, light blue or – if you want to get an early jump on summer style – even white.
Denim can still work well in spring, but keep the same principles in mind.
Come spring I like to opt for jeans that are made with a bit of spandex or elasterell, which both gives them some stretch and makes them a little lighter weight.
And again, spring is a good time to move away from the navy blues and blacks you’ve probably been wearing all winter, and try lighter shades of blue, gray and white, all of which will pair well with the shirt and shoe options listed above.
(And if you’re really feeling the warm weather vibes, don’t be afraid of showing off a little ankle by opting for some good no show socks.)
Mens Spring Sweaters
As a Canadian who spends much of the year swaddled in thick winter jackets, there are few things I love more than sweater weather.
I have multiple drawers stocked with just about every color, weight and type of sweater you can imagine, and one of my favorite things about spring is the fact that it gives me a chance to wear damn near all of them.
During the cooler early months you can wear chunky shawl collar cardigans in place of a lightweight jacket.
Then, as the weather starts to warm, you can transition into thinner options, like a nice cashmere cardigan or a good merino wool v-neck.
Mens Spring Hats
While there are dozens of different men’s hat styles to choose from, the truth is that nowadays most of them look more like a historical costume than a hip choice for the modern man.
(I love a good straw hat as much as the next guy, but unless you’re on a beach vacation, panama hats are exceedingly difficult to pull off in real life.)
Instead, I suggest sticking with more options like a baseball caps or – for a more stylish alternative – newsboy caps, both of which will keep the sun out of your face without making you look like your one bow tie short of joining a barbershop quartet.
Mens Spring Grooming
In winter I like to keep my hair longer and grow a gnarly beard in order to combat the frigid onslaught of snow and ice that befalls us here in Toronto.
But spring is not only a perfect time to shed a few layers of clothes — it’s also the right time to refine your hair and grooming regimen.
There are dozens of short, stylish men’s haircuts that you can choose from, and how short you decide to go is a matter of personal preference.
My own take is to scale my side part down to a sleeker taper for spring, then go all the way to a close-cropped taper fade come summer.
It’s a progression that goes kind of like this (minus the muscles, talent and millions of dollars in the bank):
But plenty of guys opt to skip the transitional phase altogether, including a few guys who ooze creative energy — Tom Ford and Kim Jones, two of the biggest names in urban fashion.
Instead of going for the in-between option come spring, they maintain a close-cropped cut pretty much year-round, which is both a safe choice, and a good way to simplify your style.
Mens Spring Outfits
A Bit of Style Inspiration to Help You Pull it Altogether
Now that we’ve covered each aspect of men’s spring style individually, let’s look at how you can pull it altogether.
What’s the best way to do that, you ask?
The same way my mom decides what wallpaper she wants in her bathroom: by using Pinterest.
Yep—I’ve put together a Pinterest board.
It’s chock full of smart spring looks that combine a lot of the principles mentioned above, and can serve as a great visual guide to the ins and outs of sharp spring style.
More Resources ↓
More Seasonal Style Guides:
- The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Summer Fashion
- What to Wear in the Fall: The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Fall Fashion
- The 21 Most Stylish Pieces of Men’s Winter Fashion
More Men’s Style Advice from Irreverent Gent:
- The Best Summer Shoes for Men
- The Best Men’s Shapewear
- In-Depth Undone Watches Review
- The 35 Best Underwear Brands for Men
- The 9 Most Stylish & Comfortable Dress Shoes That Feel Like Sneakers
- The Absolute Best Men’s Sweatpants and Joggers
- The Best Affordable Sunglasses Brands
- The Best Wrinkle-Free & Non-Iron Dress Shirts
📷 Banner image: kiuikson / Shutterstock