Out of the four seasons, dressing for spring can pose the biggest wardrobe challenge for men. Summer has its shorts and polos. In the fall, you can always bet on handsome plaids. Come winter, masculine tweeds and wools are recurring closet cast members.
Then, spring comes around the corner, armed with stylish curveballs. Did you see those bold florals coming? How about soft pastels? And whats the apropos length of shorts this season?
Here are the must-have, warm-weather trends in mens apparel for 2014 whether youre a trendsetter ready to spring forward with global-inspired prints and a fresh color palette or youre a traditionalist just looking to update your signature, classic look for the season.
Blue, blue, blue
Among the fresh trends this spring: Trimmer cuts, a renewed blue in the form of indigo, patterned shorts (that hit at the top of the knee) and versatile knit ties that can look just as sharp with a plaid shirt at a barbecue as they do when theyre suited up for the office.
Mix-and-match sport coats and trousers are the easiest thing for guys to adopt, says Joshua Kercher, co-owner and designer at Sebastien Grey Clothiers ( sebastiengrey.com). My rules are simple good fit is No. 1. Next, keep the top darker than the bottom. The rest you can leave up to your imagination.
A good look for late spring and summer is an indigo blue unconstructed linen blazer over white chinos, Kercher says.
When it comes to pastels, Kercher says, the lighter the better (and easier to wear). Try pastels in dress shirts, polos and small accessories like ties and pocket squares.
But spring 2014s standout shade is indigo.
Im a huge fan of the indigo blue trend that is happening now, Kercher says. This is just a beautiful color and extremely easy to wear.
Prints and florals
Another fun trend this season: Printed shorts, especially micro-scale prints. Jorge Valls, mens fashion director for Nordstrom ( nordstrom.com), suggests pairing with a solid-colored polo for a cant-go-wrong look.
Our two favorite trends this season are modern prep which updates traditional American sportswear through the use of bold colors and prints and maritime, which takes inspiration from nautical classics like the striped knit or the perfect boat shoe, says Valls.
If youre not afraid to be experimental with your style, Valls says to try incorporating a modern, tropical print shirt into your wardrobe.
It can be dark florals or a bright, Hawaiian style print but it should be fitted and worn with attitude, he says.
Kercher agrees that floral prints are extremely popular this season, but, he warns, wear them at your own risk. If youre a normal guy when it comes to style, avoid going all-out, super-trendy and opt instead for a mini floral print pocket square to tuck into the breast pocket of your suit or sports coat.
If you are someone who is typically one of the best-dressed guys in the office which means you can get away with a little more then you might try a floral print shirt, tucked in and worn just as you would a regular button-down for work, Kercher says. When you do this, just be sure to keep the rest of the outfit simple. Think solids and subtlety.
Making a floral print masculine is easy so long as you keep the base colors on the piece neutral like navy, black, gray or even white, he says.
Trimmer cuts, knit ties
For men who tend to be more classic, but want an in look for the season, Valls says to give an update to the tried and true classics in your wardrobe.
The idea of a navy blazer will never go out of style, but the proportion has to be modern, which now means a little trimmer and shorter in fit, he says.
For an instant wardrobe update, check out Nordstroms 1901 skinny knit tie. The accessory will add texture to your ensemble and comes in springtime colors including a nautical navy, blue, aqua or cognac.
At Forever 21 ( Forever21.com), some of the spring looks that are trending include printed chambray shirts, bandana prints on T-shirts and structured marbled sweatpants that can be worn with a pair of sneakers for a casual street look.
Kercher says bold-colored raincoats are another trend any guy can pull off this spring.
Just stick with a classic cut and structure, he says.