Dressing for the Season

Fashion can be many things to many people: creativity, self-expression, lifestyle, professionalism and image. Regardless of how one perceives clothing, the single underlying influence that binds all looks together is seasonality, which has specific criteria for the Spring and Fall. Within the two seasons that dictate the ebb and flow of fashion, there are three guidelines to which all collections, wardrobes and outfits bend: fabric weight, fabric type and fabric colour.

Lightweight fabrics and light colours are the foundation of any spring fashion season. Warm-weather fabrics such as silks, linens, lightweight cottons, for example… poplins and woollens, which are less than 300 grams, make for comfortable and complementary attire while embodying the energy of summer. Pink, yellow and lavender are just a few examples of the lighter shades that characterize spring colours, which should be prominent within any man’s spring wardrobe. When light colours are combined with airy fabrics, a man’s look is in tune with spring’s fashion style.

When dressing for the fall fashion season, outfits should consist of heavy fabrics and dark colours. Typically, trousers, sport jackets and suits are made from heavy cottons, which are over 350 grams, woollens over 300 grams, for example four-harness textiles, or woollens mixed with over 20% cashmere. Furthermore, flannels, Donegals (tweeds with a bird’s eye pattern) and tweeds are all considered staples for the colder half of the year. Although there is more flexibility for shirt cottons, allowing for more year-round options, the same general rules apply. However, one great option for fall dress shirts is a heavy twill fabric. In addition to the weight of fall fabrics, the colour is just as important and needs to be taken into account. Autumn’s dark colour palate, such as burgundy, plum and brown, should be mirrored by your shirts, trousers, suits and sport jackets. Clothing is an outlet for self-expression but each season has its own personality and your clothing should reflect those characteristics.

Just as all guidelines have exceptions, fashion is no different. When it comes to picking seasonal colours for shirts, white and any blue are acceptable all year-round. Black and navy suits are also exempt from seasonal constraints as long as the fabric weight is appropriate for the season at hand. Conversely, lighter-weight fabrics can be worn throughout both seasons if their colours match seasonal palates. Lastly, medium colours for shirts, trousers, suits and sport jackets can be worn at any time. When it comes to knowing when to apply the guidelines of seasonality, the general consensus is light colours any time after May 1, dark colours after September 1 and heavy fabrics after October 1.

To stay current and lend a modern touch to one’s appearance, one should be aware of the most recent fashion direction regarding seasonality. Within the context of slimmer-looking, more fitted silhouettes, which now dominate the fashion landscape, soft checks, stripes and small patterns are all on trend for suit fabrics, which are designed with an attention to detail – including such features as side vents, ticket pockets, hand stitching and fancy silk linings. To finish one’s overall appearance, consider soft pastel shirts with white collars and cuffs or strong patterns such as ginghams, plaids and bold stripes. If adding a tie to the mix, take into account solid tones, small neat patterns or stripes.

It never hurts to step outside of one’s comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and colours. Bold stripes on suits match well with soft checks on shirts. Pink and lavender shirts work well with brown and charcoal suits. However, if one has an aversion to significant shifts in daily dress routines, then just tiptoe outside your normal boundaries. The most popular accessories these days, which add a touch of character and a splash of colour, are fancy patterned socks with bright colours and pocket squares. A general rule of thumb when sporting a pocket square is to either match one’s tie or shirt. Of course, one could let their whimsical side loose and select a pocket square that is totally off the wall. There are numerous ways to fold a pocket square, all of which are suitable and can easily be found on the web. Take some time to be creative and it will reflect on your appearance and confidence.

Whatever your style, you cannot go wrong by following the guidelines of seasonality. This summer, make an impression by choosing colour. After all it is summer, the sun is shining and patio season is underway. Cheers!