Need Inspiration For Men’s Spring Outfits? Master These 7 Commandments for Tasteful Spring Style

by Chris Xavier  |  in Casual Style

Want to put together some killer spring outfits? The unpredictable temperature changes and wet weather requires strategic style planning, and men’s spring fashion is really all about managing the transition. If you want your spring outfits to hit, make sure you take to heart and practice all seven of these commandments.

Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year (and I’m not just saying that because I have a spring birthday!) As the flowers bloom and the sun returns after a winter’s long hibernation, it’s time to throw those cold weather clothes in the back of the closet and bust out the transitional weather pieces!

One of the most exciting parts of the changing season is the chance to refresh your wardrobe with a few new, fashionable items for your wardrobe. And after months of bundling up in your thickest coats and accessorizing with beanies and scarves, it’ll feel great to be able to wear just a T-shirt again.

an example of a great men's spring outfit: chinos, a tucked-in T-shirt, denim jacket, and slip on shoes

If your local climate permits, you’ll find yourself reaching for the black peacoat less and the blue trucker jacket more. Wool trousers will be replaced by lightweight chinos. And your heavy-duty boots you wore every day in the snow?

Those will be swapped out for sneakers. Finally!

Brands have been stocking their shelves with the latest spring styles for the past month. There’s so much out there! So let’s start you off on the right foot by establishing some ground rules.

These will help guide you to greener style pastures as the weather warms up.

Here are my SEVEN style commandments for dressing well this spring.

1. Thou shalt always carry a piece of light outerwear

Spring is a transitional season—we see the weather going from cold to warm, meaning we can bust out the shorts and T-shirts most days, something that we look forward to all winter long.

As the temperature continues to rise and we find ourselves in need of fewer layers, it’s important to remember that spring weather can be unpredictable and a chill can arrive swiftly like a thief in the night.

Because of this, it’s important to always keep a piece of light, transitional outerwear on your person at all times.

  • The Patagonia Nanopuffer would be my pick; its insulation is top notch and it barely weighs anything. You can fold it up, throw it in your bag, and forget that it’s there.
  • I also love the Lululemon Navigation Down Hoodie — it’s similar to the Patagonia puffer, but a touch thicker and sleeker in my opinion.

Light outerwear can also take the form of thin bombers, denim trucker jackets, or coach jackets. Just find whatever works for you. The lighter and more portable, the better, so if it does stay warm, you can keep your layer tucked away in your bag.

2. Thou shalt not wear a watch with a leather strap in the scorching heat

Look, we all love a leather strap on a watch. It looks classy and upscale. I have a brown Seiko Cocktail Time with a brown alligator leather strap, and when I wear it I feel like a million bucks (despite the watch only costing $315 at the time of purchase).

Unfortunately, when it heats up, I won’t be wearing it outside. Leather straps have a tendency to make your wrist sweat in the heat, causing damage to the leather. It’s also pretty uncomfortable.

During the warmer months, it’s best to stick to steel bracelets or rubber straps. I wear a Seiko Turtle a lot in the summer because it’s a durable, versatile dive watch on a rubber strap that can withstand a beating from the elements.

The Tissot PRX is also a choice that has gained a ton of popularity over the last two years. The quartz version can be had for $350 and the automatic goes for $650. With options at 35mm and 40mm plus an assortment of colors, you’re sure to find the right option for you.

3. Thou shalt embrace the camp collar shirt

Camp collar shirts, sometimes referred to as “resort shirts” or “Cuban collar shirts,” have been hot in the streets for a few years now.

They take inspiration from the casual button-downs that men used to wear in tropical locations like Havana or Miami in the 1950s.

The style is characterized by a flat collar, designed to let you bare a bit of chest hair on a hot day, and an easy, flowy silhouette for maximum comfort and minimum effort.

You may find this interesting:

Ten Types of Collared Shirts For Every Occasion

There’s no shortage of colors and patterns to choose from when it comes to a camp collar shirt.

Tombolo makes some of the most fun options with motifs of vacation like booze, sports, and nautical imagery. I love them because they’re made to not be taken too seriously. They announce to the room that you’re here to party. 

If that’s not your style, you can find many more toned-down variations. This Abercrombie shirt will do the trick as it’s a fun color but comes without the fuss.

4. Thou shalt look for a loose (but not too loose) pair of light-wash denim

Spring should feel easy, breezy, lemon squeezy. There is nothing more effortless than a worn-in, slightly loose light wash pair of blue jeans.

This may come across as high maintenance, but there are a few requirements here:

  • The jeans obviously must be a light wash.
  • Some subtle fading may be in order, but not necessary.
  • Don’t go for anything slimmer than a slim cut, which is already pushing it.
  • Slim straight, straight, and relaxed fits are better here. These give off a more nonchalant vibe and are more comfortable to wear.
  • Lastly, they should not be low-rise! Look for pairs that gently hug your waist (the jeans’ waistband should sit right below your belly button).

Vintage is always better as they’re already worn-in and most likely pretty sturdy quality (most brands made stronger denim in the 80s and 90s).

Flint and Tinder All American Stretch Tapered Denim

Classic 5-pockets in a 12oz Cone Mills denim with unique-to-F&T details cut, sewn, and washed in LA.

Shop Huckberry

Be on the lookout for good vintage Levi’s—the Orange Tab or made-in-the-USA pairs are some of the best vintage jeans you can buy.

I found a pair of Old Navy jeans from the late 90s at a Goodwill outlet for $2. They’re a straight-cut pair of jeans with a light blue wash and a natural fade. I wear them multiple times per week, often wearing them around the house during my work-from-home days. They’re my best-fitting pair of jeans and are perfect for warm weather.

5. Thou shalt not wear swimsuits when not near the water

It may be tempting, boys, but you should not be wearing a swimsuit anywhere that doesn’t have a body of water. I understand they’re incredibly comfortable, but we have to do better.

A workaround here is wearing running or basketball shorts. Athletic shorts with collared shirts can be a controversial move but I give it a pass.

Imagine a pair of black Nike running shorts with a white pique polo shirt. You’ll look like you just got off the tennis court.

Or try a pair of Stussy basketball shorts with a striped button-down shirt from J.Crew. Wear t-shirts with both running and basketball shorts for a more traditional aesthetic.

Here’s the kicker: The shorts need to be a modern cut—no massive, oversized basketball shorts from the early 2000s. Also, no tiny 3” inseam running shorts that can be mistaken for underwear.

And it goes without saying: no pool slides or thong flip-flops anywhere away from the water!

6. Thou shalt wear more colors

Your winter wardrobe is most likely filled with neutrals like blacks, whites, greys, creams, and tans.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I also tend to wear a lot of neutral colors during the winter months; they just seem to reflect the general weather and atmosphere.

Now that it’s warming up and you can see a little more blue in the sky, it wouldn’t be a sin to wear more colors.

Spring is most commonly associated with Easter, which in turn is associated with preppy (or baby) pastel colors. During the Easter season, you’ll see stores filled with light yellows, blues, greens, and pinks. These colors are great, but they’re not for everyone.

Prep can be hit or miss, and while I enjoy dressing in pastels from time to time, if they’re not done right, you can look like an overgrown fraternity boy (or a large Marshmallow Peep).

To be safe, experiment with strong primary and secondary colors. Red, yellow, blue, orange, green, and violet are good colors to add to your wardrobe.

Now I’m not telling you to grab purple jeans and a purple hoodie and step out of the house looking like a grape. Just go for a pop of color in your otherwise menswear neutral-filled outfit. Utilize the Swap Trick if you’re not used to injecting color into your outfits.

A green t-shirt or hoodie with your light wash blue jeans and white sneakers. Layer it under your black or blue jacket.

Maybe you throw on some orange sneakers with neutrals up top. Color is all about self-expression, so you can do as much or as little as you want. It’s all in good fun. Here’s an easy way to approach color combos if you’re just getting started.

7. Thou shalt fall in love with the Minimalist sneaker

The perfect minimal sneakers can come in leather, canvas, or suede, but the one differentiating factor is that they’re all relatively plain… in a good way. No superfluous adornments or design details, just simple, clean design.

I wear a pair of white Vans Authentic sneakers all year long, but they especially feel good during spring and summer. They cost $60 and look better every time you wear them. Beat them to shit and they look as cool as ever.

I’ve been preaching about Vans for so long that I feel like I should be on the company payroll at this point. They’re literally the perfect shoe!

Vans aren’t the only brand coming out with good minimal sneakers, though.

Check out the Converse All Star Chuck Taylor 70s for another canvas classic, the Koio Capri for something more elvated, or the Everlane Forever sneaker if you want the most versatility.

Many brands have aspired to achieve the same ubiquity that Vans have reached in the casual sneaker department, so there are a lot of great choices out there.

If You Want Great Spring Outfits, Follow These Style Commandments

Gents, dressing well this season should feel effortless, and spring is arguably the most fun season to dress for (a case could be made for Autumn, but that’s a different article).

Just follow the good word outlined for you in this post and you’re well on your way.

These rules will get you from the office to the rooftop bar to the park to the dinner date and back again. (It’s also important to accessorize properly, but we’ll cover that in further detail later. For now, check out some of the articles we’ve published on Cladright, our men’s jewelry-focused site.)

You should be wearing breezy, flowy garments rich in color and texture. As long as you’re not dressed to go swimming when you’re walking around the city, you’ll be fine.