As the weather warms up, many women get to work transitioning their wardrobe. Heavier, darker clothes get packed away and lighter, brighter items get moved to the front. But what about men? Is there much transitioning going on, or is it simply a case of putting away the pea coat and pulling out a short-sleeved shirt?
That may have been the case in previous years, but there is no doubt more men are taking an interest in the way they dress. And in a nod of recognition to the sartorial strength displayed by the city's chaps, this year's Melbourne Spring Fashion Week will present its first event dedicated to men's fashion - MSFW: Mr.
Designed to inspire men to explore the Melbourne's unique fashion and creative industries, it will also provide a few tips to those men looking to make a seamless transition into springtime style.
Here's five things to consider when hanging up the winter coat for the year.
Spring is definitely the time to wear shirts that have a bit more personality, says Nick Demkiw, a designer with the Autonomy label.
“Patterned shirts definitely. Whether it be a louder style or something more subtle like a micro-dot, a geometric print or a really subtle floral. I think guys are definitely including more shirts in their casual wardrobe and there is a lot more expression in men's shirts,” he says.
At made-to-measure tailor Oscar Hunt, head tailor Jules Lichtenstein notes that as the weather warms up, classic checks also come into play as they give a more relaxed or slightly casual feel.
“I find they can dance between corporate, formal or general social wear. But you throw it with a classic French navy blue blazer and jazz it up with a pocket square, then you're out to play at night.”
Unstructured linen or cotton blazers are sure to be popular over the warmer months, according to Karl Bartl, founder and creative director of the Jack London label.
“Linen blazers – in navy, camel and turquoise – have been a big item for us and it's not even that warm yet. What's on trend as well is your cotton blazers in a rust, lemon or cobalt blue, which look great matched with a pair of cotton chinos with a nice crisp white or blue shirt,” Bartl says.
Lachie Watson of Oscar Hunt notes that the double-breasted jacket is also back in vogue.
“Certainly, the double-breasted option is having a resurgence. And that is not only in wool, but in cotton and linens. I think you'll find that guys this spring will get a nice double-breasted cotton or linen jacket and also throw on some trousers with a bit of a pattern through them or which have a different texture. Guys wearing linen jackets with cotton trousers, is one thing I definitely think you'll see come through this spring,” Watson says.
Understated, yet characterful shoes
The warmer weather naturally means clothing is a bit more relaxed, and shoes are no different. For Scott Lewis, co-owner of South Melbourne shoe store Beggar Man Thief, nothing says relaxed better than a pair of well-worn, characterful, high quality shoes.
“I think that in the spring/summer a really well-made, worn-in derby is a great look for all sorts of occasions, and look out for lots of high-quality tanned suede. Also a nice characterful loafer, which has become more of staple shoe for many men of late, will also continue to prove popular,” Lewis says.
When it comes to colour, Lewis's advice is to keep it simple. “With whites and blues proving popular colours in men's clothing this spring, shoes will likely be a bit more understated, both in colour and texture.”
White and blues
The main colours of this spring appear to be white and blue. According to Demkiw, white will be everywhere this spring.
“White shorts, white chinos and white jackets, the whole works. It has always been big in Europe but I think it has permeated into the mainstream market, so I think that's a big style cue for spring/summer as well.”
And if white is not your thing, don't worry, because just about every shade of blue – midnight, baby, royal, cobalt, navy – is in style as well.
Tai Henschke, a designer with Calibre, says the label is doing a lot of blue on blue. “We're mixing more shades of blue together, as well as with neutrals. It's more tonal than where we've been.”
According to Bartl, when it comes to the silhouette of a suit, it's a continuation of the tapered style that has been dominant over the last couple of years.
“The fit is getting more streamlined, a lot more tailored and slim-fitting. It's still our best-selling shape.”
Henschke agrees. “The look for suits is still very, very sharp. Very, very tailored.”