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 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.
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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 collectionsRELATED) or a good quality merino wool 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.
Merino crew neck jumper, €59 at arket.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 white trainers 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 trainers in particular lift any look.
Hook and loop strap trainers, €59.95 at Zara
Sport a floral pattern. Anything with a botanical pattern looks uplifting at this time of year. This gorgeous silk maxi dress 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, Lee Mathews, €690 at net-a-porter.com
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 fitted blazer for this stunning linen herringbone blazer at Massimo Dutti. It offers a little laid-back cool, but within a silhouette that’s smart enough for the office.
Slim fit blazer, €99.95; trousers, €69.95; 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). This ruffle-front top, 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.
Ruffle-front top, €59 at uterque.com
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