Top 10 Men’s Spring Essentials

There’s only a few weeks of Winter left, so pretty soon we’re all going to have to start thinking about transitioning to our Spring wardrobe. So in addition to your year-round Men’s Essential staples that are already in your closet, Jordan O’Brien from The Gentlemans Cove and I each came up with a list of 10 Spring Essentials that every man should own.

 

 

My Top 10 Men’s Spring Essentials

1. Lightweight, Spring Suit

Whether you go with a linen, cotton, seersucker, or lightweight wool suit, these options will make a statement and keep you cool throughout the Spring and Summer months.

Lightweight Suit Ashley Weston

$650 – J. Crew Ludlow Geyser Grey Italian Wool Suit
$500 – Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Navy Windowpane Suit 
$300 – TopMan Dark Brown / Burgundy Suit 
$105 – H&M Dark Green Cotton Stretch Suit

2. Linen or Lightweight Blazer

These lightweight blazers are perfect for casual Fridays at work or heading to lunch or dinner with friends. They’re a great way to insert a stylish statement while keeping cool. Linen will wrinkle a bit, but that’s part of its character so embrace it.

Lightweight Blazer Ashley Weston 1

$400 – Suitsupply Havana Green Check Sportcoat
$358 – Brooks Brothers Windowpane Linen Sportcoat
$168 – J.Crew Unstructured Ludlow Cotton-Linen Blazer
$99 – H&M Linen-Blend Navy Blazer  

3. Gingham Button Up Shirt

I love gingham shirts for the Spring because they can be worn dressed up with a suit or blazer or dressed down on their own or underneath a sweater. I included some great lavender, navy, and light grey gingham options below.

Gingham Button Up Ashley Weston

$450 – Ralph Lauren Purple Label Aston Gingham Dress Shirt 
$88 – J.Crew Ludlow Navy Gingham Shirt
$80 – Banana Republic Grant Fit Silver Gingham Shirt
$55 – The Tie Bar Grey Gingham Shirt

4. Silk Knit Tie

There’s no other brand that I love more than The Tie Bar. The quality, construction, and color/pattern choice can’t be beat by any other brand. Like I’ve always said, they’re not paying me to say this.

Silk Knit Tie Ashley Weston

$25 – The Tie Bar Scramble Knit Blue Polkas
$25 – The Tie Bar Knit Strip Brown
$25 – The Tie Bar Knitted Wine
$25 – The Tie Bar Midnight Navy

5. Polo Shirt

Polo shirts instantly make an outfit look more put together and Spring is the perfect time to start wearing them. I like John Varvatos, but be careful if you’re not in shape or have erect nipples because their silkier shirts will highlight these areas. The fit on Theory and Fred Perry polos is excellent and H&M is my go-to when I’m more price-conscious. You’ll need to replace those roughly every 8 weeks though due to fading.

Polo-Shirt-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Clothing-Fit-Guide $198 – John Varvatos Collection ‘Hampton’ Silk & Cotton Polo Shirt
$95 – Theory Cotton Polo
$85 – Fred Perry Navy/White Tipped Polo Shirt
$13 – H&M Polo Shirts

6. Short Sleeve Button Up Shirt

Not only do short sleeve button-up shirts look stylish, but every man (regardless of age or body type) can wear these. There’s currently so many great options from J.Crew and come March/April, Topman will have an equally great selection.

Short Sleeve Button Up Ashley Weston $480 – Prada Slim Fit Star Print Cotton Poplin Shirt
$128 – Todd Snyder Short Sleeve Floral Print Shirt
$60 – J.Crew Short-Sleeve Shirt in Jungle Print
$60 – J.Crew Short-Sleeve Oxford Shirt in Blue
$60 – J. Crew Short-Sleeve Shirt in Striped Heather Poplin 
$55 – TopMan Blue Abstract Print Short Sleeve Casual Shirt

7. Suede Bomber Jacket

I’ve maintained in some of my other videos and articles that you should save your suede for Spring. Well, it’s time to break out those items. I love the options below – you can choose from navy, light grey, and brown suede jackets. The A.P.C. jacket is a BIFL piece and will never go out of style.

Suede Bomber Jacket Ashley Weston$1,455- A.P.C. Louis W Suede Bomber Jacket
$1,085 – Hackett Mayfair Suede Bomber Jacket
$160 – TopMan Light Grey Faux Suede Formal Bomber Jacket
$160 – TopMan Faux Suede Formal Bomber Jacket

8. Penny Loafers

Finally we’re entering ankle season, which means penny loafers can finally be worn. I love Ferragamo’s loafers (I got a pair for my fiance Dorian 2 or 3 years ago) and they’re totally worth the price because they definitely hold up and still look great after years and years of wear.

Ferragamo Penny Loafer 2 Ashley Weston$760 – Ferragamo Penny Loafer Shoe
$195 – Jack Erwin Archie Penny Loafer Hazelnut
$185 – Johnston & Murphy Stratton Penny

9. Suede Monkstraps

Suede monkstraps, whether you get a dark brown, grey, or navy pair, can just take an outfit to another level. It’s such a stylish touch to any outfit and can be worn with a suit, chinos, or jeans. Make sure to Scotch Guard them before you wear them for the first time – always gotta protect your suede items!

BB Suede Monk Straps Ashley Weston$698 – Brooks Brothers Navy Suede Double Monk Strap
$398 – Brooks Brothers Suede Double Monk Strap Shoes
$275 – Crosby Square Conley Double Monk Strap Shoe (Espresso and Navy)
$80 – H&M Suede Monkstrap Shoes

10. Chinos

Chinos should only be worn in Spring, Summer, and early Fall and that’s it. They’re a great alternative for those days when you don’t feel like wearing jeans and when you want to just feel cool and comfortable.

Chinos Ashley Weston$575 – Maison Margiela Cotton-Twill Chinos
$75 – J.Crew Broken-In Chino in 484 Fit
$30 – Uniqlo Slim Fit Chinos
$30 – H&M Chinos Skinny Fit

Jordan’s 10 Men’s Spring Essentials

1. Huaraches

These as well as other great alternatives were included in my Summer Essentials E-Book. A lot of Jordan’s picks I actually included in that e-book so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already 🙂

Huaraches Ashley Weston $165 – Vintage Artisan Classico Brown
$88 – Chamula D.F. Dk. (Brown or Navy)
$88 – Chamula Cancun with Natural Crepe Sole

2. Linen Suit

Linen, as well as the other lightweight fabrics I also included in my list, is very breathable and will keep you cool during the warmer months. Here are some of my favorite items currently available.

Linen Suit Ashley Weston$2,000 – Burberry Slim Fit Wool Silk Linen Three-Piece Part-Canvas Suit
$349 – Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Check Linen Suit
$99 – H&M Linen-Blend Suit Jacket
$50 – H&M Linen-Blend Suit Pant 

3. Panama Hat / Straw Fedora

Whether you need some extra sun protection or want to look stylish while staying cool, straw hats are super breathable and lightweight. Every year I get J.Crew’s panama hat, but it only lasts the season before it starts to fall apart. I’m currently eyeing Loro Piana, Brooks Brothers and Stetson’s hats because I know I can count on the quality and construction.

Panama Hat Ashley Weston 1$735 – Loro Piana Laurence Straw Panama Hat
$298 – Brooks Brothers Straw Fedora
$287 – Lock and Co Napoli Hat
$105 – Stetson Men’s Centerdent Fine Panama Hat
$65 – J. Crew Paulmann panama hat with striped band

4. Basic Striped T-Shirt

Striped t-shirts are super easy to insert into your current wardrobe. They look great with your suits, blazers, bomber jackets or just on their own.

Stripe Tshirt Ashley Weston$90 – Todd Snyder Slim-Fit Striped Cotton T-Shirt
$88 – Todd Snyder Fine Stripe Button Pocket T-Shirt in Maroon
$60 – J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Indigo T-Shirt in Stripe
$45 – J. Crew Garment-Dyted T-Shirt in Microstripe
$35 – TopMan Selected Homme Navy and Off White Stripe T-Shirt

5. Long Sleeve Henley Shirt

I like long sleeve henleys when they’re worn as a layering piece, so underneath a casual button down shirt paired with some dark wash jeans and boots or sneakers. If you’re a slim or wider gentleman, I highly advise against wearing henleys on their own because they emphasize your body size even more (and not in a good way).

Long Sleeve Henley Shirt Ashley Weston$150 – Rag & Bone Slim-Fit Mélange Cotton-Blend Jersey Henley T-Shirt
$59 – L.L. Bean Signature Slub Henley
$39.50 – J.Crew Slim Broken-In Henley

6. Denim Jacket

If you’re new to wearing denim jackets, I suggest going with a black or dark grey version because it’ll be a lot easier to wear, especially if you wear jeans a lot because you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a Canadian tuxedo.

Denim Jacket Ashley Weston$295 – Rag & Bone Standard Issue Washed-Denim Jacket
$195 – All Saints Mens Hockett Denim Jacket
$90 – Levi’s The Trucker Jacket (in rinse or lamar black stretch)
$40 – H&M Denim Jacket

7. Lightweight Jacket

On those windy or rainy days, having a lightweight jacket that can combat the elements while looking stylish is always what I strive to find.

Casual Jacket Ashley Weston$280 – Saturdays Travis Windbreaker (Sage or Clay)
$200 – J. Crew Field Mechanic Jacket
$160 – Under Armour Sportswear Meters Panelled Shell Hooded Jacket
$40 – Uniqlo Lightweight Packable Hooded Jacket

8. White Sneakers

I have a whole video and article dedicated to white sneakers because I truly believe every man, regardless of age or body type, should own a pair.

White-Sneakers-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-EssentialsHeader$100 – Nike Tennis Classic Ultra
$75 – Adidas Originals Stan Smith Sneaker
$65 – Converse ‘Jack Purcell’ Classic Low Top Sneaker

9. Classic Timeless Pair of Sunglasses

Be sure to check out my Sunglasses story for specific options I recommend based on your face shape.

Rayban Wayfarer Ashley Weston$325 – Oliver Peoples L.A. Coen Sun
$140 – Ray Ban RB2132 58 New Wayfarer
$95 – Warby Parker Barkley Sunglasses
$95 – Warby Parker Beckett Sunglasses

10. NATO Strap

Interchanging your watch straps is an easy way to insert some fun and personality into your outfit.

NATO Strap Watches Ashley Weston

Here’s a great place for straps that I love – these are my favorite for Spring:
$8 – Navy Perlon Nato Strap
$8 – Navy and Grey Nato Strap
$8 – Dark Brown Perlon Strap
$8 – Grey Perlon Strap
$9 – Black, Red, And Green “JAMES BOND” PVD Nato Strap

As far as watches go, see my Watch article/video.

Sunglasses

So we’ve already established (in the series intro video) that the details in your wardrobe & appearance matter, and just like I talked about before, the first thing someone looks at is your face, so the things that sit ON your face, like sunglasses, should add to the overall sharpness of your outfit/appearance, not detract from it.

How many sunglasses should I own?

I’ve been asked this quite a few times and I think you should own 2-3 pairs. This will ensure your sunglasses will look appropriate with whatever outfit you’re wearing – no matter what. While you can use just 1 pair, I would recommend at least two to be safe.

Do I need to match sunglasses to my outfit?

You don’t technically need to match them to your outfit, but there’s an argument to be made for it, which I’ll get into in the next section.

What color sunglasses should I have?

In order to cover you for all outfits and seasons, you should own a black pair and tortoise shell pair. If you want crazier colors then you should definitely get them, but only AFTER you’ve got the basics covered.

Black

You want a black pair because they go very well with more formal outfits and/or they match with your black accessories – i.e. your shoes or watch strap. To me, it’s not ideal if you’re wearing brown accessories – shoes, watch strap, etc, and then throw on a pair of black sunglasses, but it is still perfectly acceptable because it’s far enough away from these other accessories that it won’t ruin the cohesion of the look. If you only have 1 pair of sunglasses, you should go with black because it goes with any outfit you could be wearing.

Brown/Tortoise shell

This color goes very well with casual outfits, but also looks fantastic with a navy suit and brown accessories. Again, you can get away with black sunglasses with a navy suit, but it’s not ideal.

Any Other Color

If you want to have a crazy fun pair, then go nuts here, but just don’t wear it with anything but casual outfits, otherwise you could start look like Bruce Vilanch. Again, a well-dressed man shouldn’t have anything standing out in an outfit, he needs everything to work in perfect harmony to create an amazing whole. This absolutely applies to sunglasses.

Aviators – The Exception

If your face shape allows you to wear Aviators and you want to wear those, always go with a silver/charcoal metal frame and black/grey/green lenses as the default or “black” option, like I talked about above. For your “brown” pair of sunglasses, go with a gold metal frame and brown lenses. You don’t want a black or brown frame because it looks cheesy and deviates too far away the timeless look of Aviators.


What Color Lenses should I have?

This one is simple and the default lenses are usually great, but here’s my preferences:

  1. Gradient – They look amazing and just give the sunglasses a nice, little extra touch of class.
    TomFordSnowdonSunglassesGradientLensesAshleyWeston
  2. Standard shaded/polarized – Most glasses will come with this type of lens that will probably match the color of the frame (black = black lenses, brown = brown lenses, etc.) and it’s perfectly acceptable, but if given the choice, I’d go with a gradient lens every time.
    Warby Parker Madison in Whiskey

Anything outside of these lens colors and types, included mirrored lenses, are a no go. They’ll detract from the polished look of your outfit and this is to be avoided because your accessories should never overshadow anything else you’re wearing.

Don't be like this guy.

Don’t be this guy.

The best sunglasses for your face shape

The type of sunglasses you should own is dependent on you face shape. You generally want the shape of your sunglasses to be the opposite of your face shape, so they’ll help provide balance to your facial features.

A quick note about the below chart, including other resources out there – most of them will be talking about as many as 10 different face shapes and trust me, it’s a waste of time. There’s really only 3 face shapes that every man falls into:

  1. Round
  2. Oval
  3. Square

Everything else is just nit-picking to fill up space on a website or magazine. The one that drives me the craziest is heart-shaped – that’s just an oval face with a wider forehead. If you’re considered heart-shaped according to the charts below, then just go with my oval suggestions.

You’ll notice that, outside of Aviators, I’m not recommending any frame-less style sunglasses and that’s because I think they just don’t look that great and never put my clients in them.

As for how to determine your face shape, the best resources I’ve found are from good ol’ LensCrafters and FramesDirect:

How To Find Your Face Shape Sunglasses Glasses Men Man Ashley Weston

How To Find Your Face Shape Sunglasses Glasses Men Man Ashley Weston1


How To Find Your Face Shape Sunglasses Glasses Men Man Ashley Weston2

Round Face

Roundfaceshape

If you have a round shaped face, you want to avoid round frames and go for more square/rectangular frames (i.e. Wayfarer style) or teardrop frames like Aviators. These styles will help give your face some dimension and break up the roundness, which is a good thing!

A quick note about why I don’t recommend Ray-Ban’s classic Wayfarers: I hate the angle of the lenses on them. Yes, they’re classic, but that still doesn’t mean they’re good. Notice how the frames are resting on the cheeks in the below picture? It’s annoying as hell and just looks bad on everyone.

WayfarersSunglassesAngleAshleyWeston

Designer Options

Oliver Peoples Brodsky in Sandalwood + G-15 Polar Glass
Barton Perreira Hopper in Black 
Saint Laurent Aviators in Gold

Budget-Friendly Options

Warby Parker Winston in Jet Black
I love the classic, square shape of these sunglasses. For the price point, they don’t feel cheap or heavy.
J. Crew Irving in Soft Tortoise
J. Crew Jack in Gold

Oval Face

Ovalfaceshape

For this face shape, you’re lucky, because you have the most choices for sunglasses. You can wear round, square/rectangular, or rounded square-shaped sunglasses. The one thing you want to do is make sure the frames are as wide as your face – this is very important! Otherwise, it’ll look like you’re wearing kid sunglasses. Also, don’t you ever wear teardrop frames, like what most aviators have, because it’ll also make your face appear long or droopy.

Designer Options

Tom Ford Snowdon in Shiny Black
Fun Fact: Daniel Craig wore these in Spectre. If you have a round or oval face, these Tom Ford sunglasses are one of my all-time favorites! Everything about these square frames – the color, timeless design, and overall weight – couldn’t be better. Also, they’re the perfect width for oval faces which is very important because they’ll look disproportionate if they’re not as wide as your face.
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses in Havana
Oliver Peoples Masek Sunglasses in Matte Black + Grey Mineral Glass
Oliver Peoples Masek Sunglasses in Cocobolo + Cosmik Tone Glass
Think of these Oliver Peoples sunglasses as the rounder version of the Tom Ford frames.
John Varvatos Grand in Black 
John Varvatos Grand in Tortoise

Budget-Friendly Options

Topman Matte Black Sunglasses 
Warby Parker Downing in Jet Black 
Warby Parker Downing in Walnut Tortoise
The thinness of these plastic frames compliment its round shape and are great for men with oval or square faces. I also like that they kept the arms thin because some designers would go with wider arms which would make these frames look unbalanced. These aren’t as wide as the Tom Ford and Oliver Peoples frames that I recommend above, so if you do decide to try these out, then make sure they’re the proper width for your face.

Square Face

Squarefaceshape

For this face shape, you should look for round or teardrop frames. This will soften and balance your angular features. Avoid square or rectangle sunglasses because they’ll literally make you look like a block head

MinecraftBlockhead

Designer Options

Persol Sunglasses Suprema PO3007S in Black
Persol Sunglasses Suprema PO3007S In Tortoise
I love how sleek these frames are! The shiny finish and metal detailing on the arms adds to its sharp design. These are the perfect pair of sunglasses for men with square or oval faces.
Oliver Peoples Finley Esq. Sun in SMBK Moss Tortoise + Graphite
Oliver Peoples Finley Esq. Sun in Hickory Tortoise + Cosmik Tone Mineral Glass
Similar looking to the Persol sunglasses, the finish on both colors is matte and they’re slightly smaller in design.
Tom Ford Erin Aviator-Style Leather-Trimmed Gold-Tone Mirrored Sunglasses
Prada Aviator-Style Metal and Acetate Sunglasses

Budget-Friendly Options

Warby Parker Percey in Charcoal Fade
I LOVE the black to grey coloring of these frames. They look so expensive for what you’re paying for and I appreciate the simple, thin design which softens (in a good way!) the sharper features of a square-faced man. And they’re incredibly lightweight.
Warby Parker Madison in Whiskey
Ray-Ban Aviator at Collection in Gunmetal
Ray-Ban Aviator at Collection in Gold
Ray-Ban aviators are a timeless, iconic design that’s perfect for this face shape because it helps break up your angular features with the teardrop design.

Sunglasses Outfit Inspiration

(LOTS of inspiration images are also in my Summer Essentials Ebook)

Chiwetel Ejiofor Style – The Martian

This article & video is part of the Celebrity Style Inspiration Series, where Antonio Centeno from RealMenRealStyle.com and I pick out great outfits from movies and tv shows and demonstrate how to recreate and incorporate them into your wardrobe. 
As Antonio and I discussed in our other video about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s outfits to emulate, I love how unexpected this one was because who would watch a space movie and think they’d have amazing outfits in it? I thought Chiwetel Ejiofor’s style in the film hit the perfect sweet spot between dressy and casual that’ll be great for any man, regardless of his age or body type. I also wanted to include this one, because I’ve gotten a lot of questions from readers and viewers about how to wear shades of the same color. So I felt this was the perfect opportunity to show how it works.

Here’s the full outfit I’m going to recreate. I wish the full length images were a little brighter, but these were the best shots I could find. Also, they never fully show his shoes, so I’m having to guess a little bit on this one.

Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston4 Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston5

The Cardigan & Shirt

Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston8

Chiwetel is wearing a blue knit shawl collar cardigan with an oxford button down dress shirt. I put my model in a sweater by Rag & Bone and a Brooks Brothers Oxford shirt since they’re just so damn good. Check the outfit details at the bottom of this page for images and links.

Now, as I said in the video, you can either go with a white or blue Oxford button down, like I have my model wearing or you can go with a semi-spread collar dress shirt, or if you wanted to dress it down, you can go with a white v-neck or crew neck t-shirt.

T-Shirts-V-Neck-Crew-Neck-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-Outfit-2

Funny enough, I created a similar look for my t-shirt story.

Pants, Shoes & Accessories

As for the pants, here’s wearing olive chino pants – which are just fine. But I don’t think olive is such a universal color and it’ll be hard to put them into other outfits. Since I’m a huge fan of dark wash jeans, especially for creating a more monochromatic look like I did with my model, I went with those instead. I also did this because it allows me to use some of my favorite shoes ever. Please follow my chino pants fit guide or my jeans fit guide so they’ll look amazing on you, regardless of your body type.

Like I mentioned in the intro, his shoes are never shown with this outfit, but to me this was an easy choice to go with some beautiful brown chukka boots. Blues like this are begging for a nice rich brown leather shoe and accessories, so I had to go with them.

Check my outfit details below to see the chukkas and accessories I’d pair with this outfit.

My Version of this outfit

Here’s my slightly modified version of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s outfit from The Martian. I hope you enjoy it!

Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston3 1Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston2

 

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0845G
Warby Parker Watts Glasses 
The Frye Company James Chukka Boot


Designer Options

 

Brooks Brothers Shawl Collar Cardigan
Dolce & Gabbana Shawl-Collar Virgin Wool Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Burberry Cotton Oxford Shirt
Diesel Buster 0845G
J Brand Tyler Slim Fit Stretch in Tumble
Oliver Peoples Feldman Glasses 
The Frye Company Phillip Chukka
Allen Edmonds Dundee 2.0 Suede Boots

 

Budget Friendly options

 

Club Monaco Shawl-Collar Elbow Patch Merino Sweater
J. Crew Cotton Cardigan Sweater
Uniqlo Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
J. Crew Vintage Oxford Shirt
J. Crew 484 Stretch Jean
Levi’s 511 Slim-Fit Stretch Jeans
Warby Parker Watts Glasses 
Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka
Johnston & Murphy Grayson Chukka

Outfit Inspiration For Dark Wash Denim