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Clothes for specific weather

Four outfits for spring weather

Four outfits for spring weather

After a particularly bitter winter, the dawn of spring is even more welcome than usual. Not least because bundling up every day has got old. Longer days and warmer weather bring new options for what you put on in the morning. But the shift in season also brings its own specific challenges; it can feel like summer when you wake up, but winter when you’re leaving work.

“The best outfits are able to adjust to those shifts,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. “The same outfit should work for inclement weather, for light showers and for sunshine.” Layering is your best weapon against the unexpected, as it gives you options. To do it right, you need to nail your materials.

“Against your skin, you want natural, breathable fabrics. They’ll regulate your body temperature,” says Luke. Your outer layers should be able to handle the elements, so think waterproof – or at least fabrics that won’t stain if they do get wet. “Your shoes are particularly important here. As the days get longer you can go for something lighter, but early in spring, they should be more rugged.” When you’re likely to be dodging puddles, leather and darker colours beat white or canvas.

But in the rest of your outfit, take the opposite approach to colour. “The sun isn’t just in the sky for longer, it’s a different intensity, too,” says Luke. “That means that stronger colours look better at this time of year. And the closer summer gets, the bigger the effect.” Start by introducing shades in darker tones, like burgundies or mustards, then increase the brightness with the temperature. “Burgundy can become scarlet; navy can become sky blue. Just stick to one bright piece and keep the rest of your outfit neutral, to ground it.”

The final – and perhaps toughest – part of dressing for spring is adding visual interest. “You’re wearing fewer items and more cotton than wool, which can make your entire outfit feel a bit flat,” says Luke. So you need to use colour and pattern to create the depth that, in winter, you got by mixing up your fabrics.

To ease your transition into the new season, Luke’s broken down a quartet of outfits that will take you from still-feels-like-winter to summer-come-early. With your wardrobe covered, you can focus on planning your first barbecue.

For the office

Spring office outfit

Photographed: MVP polo shirt (£18); Paul Smith trousers (£110); Oliver Sweeney brogues (£199)

Weird weather outside means your co-workers keep playing with the thermostat. To avoid feeling frozen and then boiled, look for fabrics that regulate temperature, like a pique cotton polo, which is full of tiny airholes. “It’s also an adaptable style,” says Luke. “You can undo the buttons, roll the sleeves up, and still look smart." The same thing can look sloppy in a dress shirt.

The cords add that all-important texture and give your look personality. “It’s smart but it’s not an office uniform,” says Luke. “They also go really well with the brown shoes and, because of the texture, you can wear darker colours without looking dull.” Ideal for early spring when you’re dealing with rain more often than sunshine.

For a date

Spring date night outfit

Photographed: Reiss cardigan (£125); Nigel Hall shirt (£85); MVP jeans (£40); Boden boots (£160)

With flowers blooming and the world warming up, spring is the most romantic time of year. Unless you’re not prepared for the weather and spend the entire date either shivering or sweating. “This outfit is smart but relaxed and it offers versatility,” says Luke. “You can button the cardigan or take it off and the outfit still works. There’s consistency.” It also looks good with a top layer on chilly days, particularly something not too formal, like a pea coat.

By introducing lighter shades you lean into the lighter evenings, which stops your outfit looking boring. “The jeans and shirt are dark, classic and easy to wear, but the cardigan creates a point of difference,” says Luke. Plus, the wool means texture, which gives depth you can’t get with a cotton blazer.

For an out-and-about weekend

Spring weekend outfit

Photographed: MVP jacket (£55); Boden t-shirt (£30); H&M Edition jeans (£49.99); Asics trainers (£99)

The best weekends don’t unfold to a strict plan. Which means you need clothes that work wherever you end up, inside or out. “Start with comfortable shoes that can get wet without it being a huge problem,” says Luke. Smart trainers are ideal, particularly in darker colours. “Pair them with washed jeans. They look particularly good in lighter weights of denim, which are more comfortable in warmer weather.”

A lightweight jacket will keep you dry and warm – but not too warm. Muted colours are more versatile; one jacket will work with a range of outfits, and you can use what sits beneath to add personality. “Graphic prints and patterns are more interesting, and that’s important when you’re wearing less,” says Luke. “You don’t have the crutch of a big coat, or statement accessories, to make a look stand out.”

For the first hot day

Spring hot day outfit

Photographed: GANT jacket (£150); MVP shirt (£24); MVP shorts (£24); Novesta trainers (£49)

The British mindset often sees the first day of proper sunshine as a chance to wear as little as possible. Not only is this a style mistake – the less outfit you’re wearing, the less impact it makes – it’s a practical error too. “A warm day in spring is not going to stay that way,” says Luke. “If you’re in shorts and a t-shirt, by late afternoon you’ll be freezing.”

Instead, think layers and shades. When the sun’s higher in the sky, bolder colours look good, particularly ones you might have avoided in winter. “You can take a jacket on and off,” says Luke, “which makes it a great way to experiment, since you’re not stuck in it if you don’t think it works.” But remember the things that did look good in colder weather. “You can still have a tailored silhouette, you can still smarten up with your fabrics or by having a collar on your shirt.” The best looks nod to the heat, but don’t dive in feet first.