March is such a frustrating month. It looks like spring, but it feels like scarf-wearing weather. Despite the persistent chill, I don’t want to wear the same outfits I snuggled into in January through March. As the days get longer and the clouds begin to clear, polo-necks and layered knits make me feel claustrophobic not cosy. My flat black leather boots from Zara look weighty and cumbersome, while my slate grey Pinko wool coat is too stuffy even for early spring. This is the month I get savvy about how I style my basics. A few simple wardrobe swaps can send out a fresh, season-appropriate sartorial signal without causing frostbite.
Begin by replacing your chunky knits with a striped sweater. Cashmere, if you can afford it (check out M&S, TK Maxx and H&M for well-priced cashmere collections) will protect you against that early March/April chill but looks neater on than thick woollens and tactile sweaters. Plus, a traditional nautical stripe just says spring instantly, and incorporating one into your wardrobe now is the easiest way to acknowledge the change of season. This J.Crew sweater is loose enough to wear over a shirt without looking at all bulky when worn on its own.
Striped cashmere sweater, J.Crew, €285 at net-a-porter.com
Similarly, that preppy New England style immediately evokes images of fair-weather boating trips and beach barbecues – Olivia Palermo wears it especially well – so swap your loafers for a pair of plimsoles instead. Embracing a lighter style of shoe immediately transforms those utilitarian basics you wear through winter (cropped trousers, T-shirt and sweatshirts) into a fresh uniform that feels just right for spring. White plimsoles in particular lift any look, even head-to-toe black.
Chunky soled plimsoles, €15.99 at Zara
Sport a floral pattern. Anything with a ditsy daisy print or some botanical embroidery looks uplifting at this time of year. This gorgeous silk botanical-print dress from Zara is perfect. Wear it with ankle boots now (something textured like suede rather than a matte black), then wear it with a pair of sliders in high summer. For a really retro look, layer the dress over a thin knit and pair it with black tights until the temperatures begin to improve. It would also look fabulous with a smart black blazer thrown over it.
Silk dress, €59.95 at Zara
Nod to SS17’s key colour – pink – for an instant outfit update. Swap a neutral evening bag for this pretty pink clutch from Mint Velvet. Designed in tactile suede, it has a really relaxed sophistication. I’ve started to pair back the contents of my daily tote now that spring is in the air – the wooly hat and gloves are gone, as well as the squishy flats for days when heels feel great, but not when I’m running around checking off my lunchtime to-do list; the umbrella will remain a while longer – so this clutch is something I’d happily use day-to-day as it’s big enough to fit my wallet, keys, phone and notebook. And it may be the only way I embrace this season’s (scary) must-have shade.
Flamingo Fleur clutch, €135 at Mint Velvet
Think about loosening up your silhouette. Spring tailoring should always look a little more relaxed than two-pieces worn in winter. That’s because fabrics suited to this time of year are more lightweight and fluid so will inevitably have more movement. Switch your capri pants and fitted blazer for this stunning striped suit exclusive to massimodutti.com. The wide-leg trousers and loosely buttoned single-breasted jacket offer laid-back cool, but within a silhouette that’s smart enough for the office.
Striped suit blazer, €169; striped suit trousers, €99.95; both at massimodutti.com
Finally, wear a silk T-shirt instead of a button-front shirt for more spring-friendly workwear. Don’t buy cheap T-shirts though. It’s worth spending a few euro more on basics that will wash well and last for more than a single season (there’s nothing more frustrating than having to relegate an item to weekend wear after just a couple of washes). I swear by Finery London’s T-shirts. The knot detail tee, below, is perfect for wearing under a suit, or over smart trousers in spring. It will also add more personality to your look than a plain button-front shirt.
Knot front T-shirt, €49 at uterque.com