Menswear

By Sharon Mosley

March 11, 2013 6 min read

Guys, it's time to lighten up and spring into action. Rethink that winter weary wardrobe, and update your closet by adding a few new bright spots.

Here are some quick picks from men's style consultant Tom Julian to get your shopping list started:

--Go for color. Take a break from those khakis, and get a little bolder with colored pants and shorts. Color is showing up in everything from sporty five-pocket chinos and cargos to 9-inch walk shorts. The best way to wear these new colored pants is to stick to solid colors on top. Think navy blazer and a white shirt paired with pink (yes, pink!) cotton chinos or a simple white V-neck worn under a washed blue linen shirt and paired with yellow walk shorts. Choose fabrics that have more weight and retain their color in cotton, cotton twill or cotton canvas.

--It's a whiteout. Break out from the "blue" jean routine, and try a new neutral -- white denim. The tone options range from white to neutral to natural. Think of the white jean as a substitute for khaki pants in warmer weather. Julian suggests selecting a five-pocket jean that has a straight or slim fit or even choosing white jeans that are constructed from "Japanese" denim, which has more texture. Consider wearing them with lighter tones on top (blue, pink or ecru sport shirts), and when vacationing opt for the summer brights (royal blue or candy red cotton polos). Stay away from shades of green!

--The new suit. Warmer weather calls for cooler suits. The best neutral is a khaki cotton suit this season. Choose a suit jacket that is semi-lined or unconstructed to make it more versatile to wear to work during business hours or paired with a T-shirt for more casual occasions. Lapels should be between 2 to 3 inches. For true versatility, select flap pockets and a center vent.

--Knit it. Go ahead and get comfortable with a new knit jacket. What Don Johnson started for "Miami Vice" in the '80s has become the new staple for men of all shapes and sizes because of cut, detail and double-knit fabric. The knit jacket can be an alternative to the navy blazer. The fabric should be cotton/nylon for softness or cotton/spandex for stretch. The best silhouette is two-button designed, with open patch pockets making the jacket utilitarian.

--Spread it out. When it comes to warm weather, add a spread collar shirt (beyond the button down or the classic point collar). The pattern for the season is a gingham check, with navy considered the most common. Style-confident men can select lavender, mint or pink for a more seasonal statement. Keep in mind that when it comes to business shirts, select neck sizes -- small, medium, large, etc. -- for casual shirts.

--The straight and narrow. The narrow lapels on jackets and smaller collars on shirts dictate a narrower tie. When it comes to warm-weather dressing, the most appropriate pattern is the variation of a madras plaid in a cotton or silk/cotton blend.

--A city slicker. The most spring-weather-functional outerwear piece besides the raincoat or hoodie is the nylon slicker in nylon/polyester fabric. Look for a single-breasted style. For colors, chose a natural palette offering -- gray, olive or stone. Look for a length of 32 inches.

--Saddle up. Refined as a casual shoe with an oxford shape, the saddle shoe says spring 2013 cool because of new variations on color, sole style and details. For the more adventurous dresser, opt for an upper suede in a color like a natural or nude; but pick a sole with a contrasting color that pops (navy, orange or green).

--Print it. Nothing says sunny days are here again like printed shirts. But don't think these new prints fall into that old "tourist" trap of years gone by. Remember, we're living in the digital age now. Vintage postcard scenes, tropical landscapes or florals are being updated with computer-generated designs and placed on camp shirts, polos and long-sleeve wovens. Cotton and silk fabrics are the most premium. And the colors range from sun-washed desert to rich sunset hues.

--The new nauticals. Time to set sail and leave behind the basic T-shirt, and check out the new crew or V-neck in graphic and bold nautical stripes this season. Many designers have taken the traditional navy/blue and reinterpreted it in a wide range or widths and colors. The most unsuspecting include bold berry shades mixed with Mediterranean blues playing off of exotic darks, like chocolates. And remember: This is not a T-shirt designed to be tucked in. Please wear it out!

--The skinny on prom. If you're a younger gentleman going to the prom this spring, here's a heads-up. Thanks to Justin Timberlake and his "Brat Pack" performance of his song "Suit & Tie" at the recent Grammys, there's a new nostalgic silhouette shaking up the dance floor. Stick to skinny black blazers and pants, and accessorize with "old-school" bow ties or slick skinny striped ties. Then let the good times roll.

Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at creators.com.

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