Editor Will Vietze dishes on dressing for the most fickle time of year—and his favorite seasonal styles.
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Dressing for spring is the best.
I will die on this hill—even as fall fanatics gather below me with scented candles and decorative gourds held aloft, even as my eyes swell shut from pollen and my shoes soak through with rain. I don’t say that lightly, nor do I say it with pastoral visions of pastel pants and floral shirts swaying through my head. Spring should be weird, even a little shifty and inscrutable—and that’s why it’s simply the best.
The other seasons speak a predictable vernacular; they conjure the same images and words with clockwork precision and specificity each year. Fall, for example, is cozy and plaid and hopefully a little quaint. You wear a vest. You scroll through images of leaves, such beautiful red leaves. Spring is not like that. Sure, there are flowers blooming and that Justin Timberlake meme, but every moment of the season is underpinned by a wide-eyed sense that anything could happen.
The next few months will be fickle and the style will follow suit—that’s all I can really say. One of your neighbors will garden in his fishing gear. The other will, apparently, step out of an Edwardian novel and set to gathering wildflowers in her apron. You’ll find yourself shoeless, dressed like Monty Don, staring at a bee like it’s the most beautiful thing that ever was. Spring will unleash that inner weirdo you thought might’ve died some time around Thanksgiving—it’ll give you permission to be your most unencumbered self, even if only fleetingly.
That means you should feel free to wear shorts with your favorite sweater and boots. Or buy a huge gardening hat. Or dress like a sort-of-unhinged French painter tending to his asparagus. Basically, have fun, be prepared for anything, and mash up all the other seasons into one. Here are some of my favorite spring styles from the shop.
The “Spring is Here” Sweatshirt
A crewneck sweatshirt can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Wear it to putz around in your basement woodshop and it’ll fray a little at the sleeves and tell everyone you know that you’re busy with spring chores. Or just wear it on its own for a pop of cheery sunshine—your friends will thank you…then ask where they can get one.
If you’re not wearing your chukkas all year round, you’re missing out on some serious opportunities to show them off with shorts. That said, the toes of your brown autumnal pair might look pretty “different” after a couple rainstorms. (See Seinfeld‘s “The Jacket” for evidence.) The navy blue color and rubber capped toe on these ensure they’re super spring-proof—and the fact that they also meet the highest standard of sustainability is just incredible.
A Sweater You Should Wear With Shorts
I don’t know why, but I have this sense that everyone in New Zealand is really skilled at dressing for spring. Maybe it’s all the rain, but I imagine Kiwis in some delightful blend of sweaters, shorts, and muck boots, like they always have some chores to do. Which is all to say I think this sweater would look really nice worn that way—or not. Basically, it’s substantial and somehow airy and refined and laid back all at the same time—in the exact way that spring should be.
The Envy of All Other Shirts in the Room
I’m not saying you have to festoon yourself in flowers just because it’s spring, but a plant or two on your shirt couldn’t hurt. With a quick-drying cotton-poly blend, UPF 15 protection, and a back yoke to let it breathe, this is the layer for getting that garden going again.
As I said earlier, this is the season to get a little funky with your shorts. Wear this hyper-sustainable hemp pair with the sweater you’ve been bundled up in all winter and some waterproof boots and you’re cooking with gas. And by “cooking with gas,” I really mean “channeling that uncle from Vermont who runs his beloved Subaru on fryer grease from the samosa stand at his local farmers’ market.”
Birkenstock. Water. Resistant. Clogs.
No four words have come together quite so beautifully before. If spring could pick out its own footwear, it’d slip into some Super Birkis the washable clogs beloved by chefs and gardeners and crunchy uncles alike. Somehow these remind me of opening up the shed, rooting around for that rusty trowel and those moldy work gloves, and figuring out what to make of the backyard after so many months of snow. In other words: These are the perfect tool for the season.
Linen: Not Just for Miami-Based Detectives
If linen stills makes you think of Miami Vice, I hear you. But I’m here to tell you that linen is the stuff spring dreams are made of—at once substantial, with a calming hand, and super breezy, it can immediately change your mood on a muggy day. I tend to form most of my warm weather wardrobe around an almost-white shirt just like this, because it can be worn so many ways and in every setting.
A “Cowboy Hat”
If you, like me, grew up on one coast and then moved to another, wearing a “real” cowboy hat might seem a little disingenuous. I wish I had the guts to do it, but I think this will suffice…and it’s in Giants colors, meaning I can blend in at some games this spring without betraying the Red Sox.
…..and “Cowboy Shirt”
One way or another, I suggest getting a little western grit in your wardrobe this spring. You could steal the shirt your dad picked up from Taos in the ’70s….or just get your own. Your call, but I know which option he’d prefer.
Dress (Sort of) Like Monty Don
If you haven’t spent a couple hours watching Monty Don describe the intricacies and joys of gardens, have you really lived? Moreover, is there anybody more qualified to know what to wear in a garden just after it’s rained? I think not. But if you’re not as obsessed with his charm as I am, it’s all good—the benefits of a hardwearing denim chore coat are impossible to overstate. Here are just a few of the boxes it checks off.
- Pockets for tools, beers, “herbs,” a bouquet of wildflowers
- Wears in, not out
- Monty Don would wear it
- An elderly French man playing pétanque in a wisteria-fringed patio would wear it
- Claude Monet would wear it
Socks from Shakedown Street
Last year I wrote a pretty strange piece about tie dye and that one Deadhead uncle everyone seems to have. At the time, I was mostly thinking about old tees from Shakedown Street, but now I’m thinking socks (with those Birkenstocks up there) are the way to go. Sometimes (read: almost always) a subtler hit of tie dye is a whole lot more fun.
It was tricky whittling everything down to that, so I’d suggest heading over to our Spring Lookout for the full scoop. Oh, and I should add—if you’re looking to tap into the spring vibe:
- Read One Hundred Years of Solitude, because it rains for a looong time and then every plant imaginable grows and grows and grows (Lanny by Max Porter is also perfect).
- Watch, you guessed it, anything by Monty Don…for the vibe and some actual advice.
- Listen to Plantasia, Mort Garson’s cult-classic album that sold exclusively at a house plant shop, and “Grantchester Meadows,” Pink Floyd’s most earthy, spring-vibed song.
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