If the essence of Autumn style is dominated by subdued earthy tones and heavier textures, then shift into Spring and it’s all about brightening up your look with vibrant colours, striking patterns and lightweight fabrics. Chances are that by the time the sun comes out to shine, you’ll be itching to lighten things up.
For me, the ultimate expression of Spring panache is a sport coat in striking bold colours and creative patterns. I’m not talking about basics like a navy blazer, but the statement pieces that command attention, and which higher end menswear designers tend to have a better handle on. In fact, many Neapolitan tailors create such eye catching ready to wear garments by favoring the use of alluring eye catching fabrics. The result, despite the higher price tag, is an aspirational style proposition which might convert even a skittish buyer to the dark side. While probably not your first jacket, eventually you may want to invest in a 'look at me' piece, and a little focus on how to earn maximum style points from it is worth a thought. A dashing image is in the cards if you get it right, and the good news is that the formula is super easy, but does require a difficult skill: restraint.
A common mistake is to assume that the jacket requires a similarly loud shirt and accessories in the spirit of exuberance. The truth is that dialing back the shirt and tie and everything else will win you the kind of double takes that you want by letting the jacket do the talking. Everything needs to balance out properly or else it can look like a desperate grasp for attention; picture what I'm wearing here with bright red chinos and a floral orange shirt – an abomination if there ever was one. It's much easier to express flamboyance by means of a jacket pattern than say a bold shirt and tie, since the formula doesn't require any real pattern coordination skill.
Step 1. A simple white or light blue dress shirt goes with pretty much everything and let the jacket do its thing without interruption. Odds are that you have something like that in your closest. Sure, a discreet pattern shirt can work too, but unnecessary pattern for the sake of pattern can seem forced. Depending on the jacket's colour tones, a dark solid shirt like navy or grey may work as well – just avoid black.
Step 2. This isn't the time for a bright orange print tie with tiny horses playing polo. But it is one of those times I get to repeat how much I love knit ties – I do it a lot and for good reason. The knitting provides texture that adds depth as well as a pattern that is devoid of any noise, meaning they are an ideal choice for a bold sport coat ensemble. If you haven’t yet picked up a couple good knit ties, trust me that it’s a worthwhile investment.
Step 3. I like to anchor the outfit with some neutral coloured trousers. If the jacket is a lighter tone, chose darker trousers, and if it’s darker then chose lighter ones. In this case, the jacket pictured is a lighter tone, so a darker trouser will work every time, and of course the opposite is true for a darker jacket. As a general rule, a lightweight pair of brown trousers can go a long way for your summer wardrobe.
Easy enough right? And that’s the point. The right centerpiece jacket can bring some flash to your style, but is easier to pull off than you might think, and allows you to put your basics to work. To tone it down a bit, simply swap out the trousers for some chinos or jeans and ditch the tie – maybe add a hat or scarf as well.