How To Dress For Spring

Get your layering right while the weather's unpredictable

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I really hate to talk about the weather, but you’ll have noticed that it’s changing. I’m in two minds of how to feel about it, if I’m honest. I have a near demented obsession with coats you see. For the winter just gone, I invested in not six, not seven, but eight new pieces. From a beautiful, if implausibly impractical deerskin trench by Berluti (What on earth do all the deer do when it rains?) to a more modest – yet no less wearable – black nylon bomber jacket from Tiger of Sweden, all I’ve seemed to spend any money on over the past six months is outerwear. Who needs food when you’ve got deerskin, right? Right??

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The thing is, after all that time spent scouring the rails for the perfect double-breasted great coat with just the right nip in the waist (Tommy Hilfiger, if you’re wondering), I’m more than a little cheesed off that we haven’t experienced the crippling winter we were promised. Where were the machete-esque icicles hanging from the undersides of cars? And what of the avalanches down Primrose Hill? I was all but ready to conquer the Poles wearing my outerwear arsenal (why Shackleton didn’t invest in a little more Brunello Cucinelli cashmere is beyond me) but, short of a cold snap hitting our shores in the next few weeks, my coats have been denied the opportunity to stretch their legs. And for that reason, I’m feeling conflicted.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love the sun. Give me a lounger, some factor five and a strawberry lime daiquiri (seriously) and I’m a happy man. It’s just that I don’t really like dressing for the summer. Firstly, there’s the shorts dilemma (is it really acceptable to wear a pair of glorified boxers into the office unless you work in a men’s fashion magazine? I’m not so sure), then there’s the sweat patch problem. And what about when it gets cold in the evening? What do you do then? It’s a style minefield.

The transitional periods of spring and autumn require constant wardrobe re-evaluation. Take now, for example. With morning temperatures struggling to crawl above four degrees centigrade, and early afternoons hitting a belting 17 (in central London at least – apologies, readers in Aberdeen) it makes dressing for the day without numerous changes nigh on impossible.

The key? Intelligent layering. No longer is it possible to simply don a thin wool jumper beneath an oversized sleeping bag and get away with it. Nor is it acceptable to wear your jeans with naught but a pair of flip-flops and some Ray-Bans (witnessed, reprehensibly, three times in Soho today). No. In order to make it through the day without a) freezing to death or b) drowning in your own sweat, affirmative action is essential.

More than simply wearing a T-Shirt beneath your jumper (beneath your jacket beneath your coat), the art of layering lies in the interaction between each garment. Wearing a granddad collar shirt beneath a sweater and then throwing a double-breasted suit jacket over the top with a light scarf will look elegant and louche. Turn up the collar of said double-breasted jacket (be sure that it’s very well tailored), peek the scarf out from above the lapel, and you’ll look beyond reproach (and you’ll be warm on the way to work).

Here, to help you build the ultimate layered look for spring are five essential cross seasonal jackets. Light enough to wear with a jumper when it’s cold, insulating enough to don with a Tee when it’s warmer and far more interesting than a North Face wind cheater, I’m buying all five as we speak – but knowing my luck, it’ll start snowing tomorrow.

1 | The LeatherJacket, Dolce & Gabbana

 

2 | The Bomber, Topman


3 | The Harrington, Baracuta

4 | The Trench, Burberry

 

5 | The Blazer, J Crew