Spring Style Essentials, Part One: Shorts

Warmer weather means it's time for shorts. Navy polo and shorts by J. Crew Stanton. Belt by Target Merona. Glasses by Burberry.
Warmer weather means it’s time for shorts. Navy polo and shorts by J. Crew Stanton. Belt by Target Merona. Glasses by Burberry.

With what appears to be the arrival of spring here in Michigan (finally!), it’s time to unpack some essentials from the closet. Spring bring with it breezy weather, sunshine and some occasional rain, all of which necessitate dressing differently than other parts of the year. Fall brings in colder temperatures and winter brings in chilly snow, meaning those parts of the year are about increasing the weight of textures and adding visual interest to outfits through unique layers.

With spring here and summer upcoming though, this time of year is all about lightening things up — in weight, color and texture.

These can be done through simple combinations that can easily rotate in and out of a personal uniform — an incredibly helpful and useful style move that can solve even the biggest conundrums. An easy upgrade to start comes with the occasional move from pants to (gasp!) shorts. Now, there’s a difference between putting on shorts and putting on shorts (kind of like the difference between a dinner jacket and a dinner jacket).

Forgo the bulky cargo pockets for something a bit more streamlined, like this Old Navy pair.
Forgo bulky cargo pockets for something more streamlined, like this Old Navy pair. Khaki works, but also look for color!

The right pair of shorts fall right in line in terms of fit with the best pieces in your wardrobe — as in slim or tailored.

This means that cargo shorts should be thrown out altogether, as there’s too much fabric hanging around with those extra pockets, bells and whistles (get a look at the top picture here). Several brands out there offer nice varieties of slim-fit shorts, which add a much more polished look to something as simple as a pocket T-shirt or striped henley.

A great starting point (slightly pricey, however) is J. Crew’s Stanton short. Unless you’re exceedingly tall or exceedingly short, look for something with about a 9″ inseam, like the Stanton — that seems to hit a little above the knee for most people, creating cleaner lines and an overall more tailored look. A wide range of colors for those J. Crew shorts is a nice touch, too. The Comer Chino shorts from Land’s End also are a personal favorite — two pairs have been in the personal rotation for two years now with lots of wear, and they’ve held up great. A lower price point is certainly beneficial, as well.

And because there’s less fabric on your legs, it’s OK to play around with color (for example: It might be too much to wear, say, bright blue pants at this time of year, but colorful shorts are definitely alright). In fact, stepping away from the typical khaki shades of shorts gives you more leeway to mix and match smaller colors in other parts of your outfit (just don’t go too color-crazy — keep it to one large pop of color and smaller complimentary colors elsewhere).

There also are both dressier and more casual options to pair with shorts —from a simple pocket T-shirt to a blue or white OCBD, but those will be explored in greater detail in future posts, as will essentials like spring shoes. Are there any go-to brands or colors you have for shorts or other spring style items? Leave feedback in the comments below!

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