Spring 101: Dressing For the Weather

Making a smooth transition from winter to spring can be very challenging. You don’t need to look very far to spot a lost soul wearing flip-flops and a rain jacket or a Gilligan-style bucket hat and a fleece. In Vermont, the arrival of mud season also marks the arrival of awkwardly combined warm and cool weather garments. Despite its many challenges, entering the realm of 60 degree weather can be successfully done without leaving one’s pride and personal integrity in the attic next to the ski boots. There are a few rules to follow to make sure that the combination of spring fever and winter blues is not as deadly as the combination of ammonia and bleach. Spring can be seen as the antithesis of fall; one leads to summer, the other to winter. When one begins, the temperature starts cooling down and when the other begins, things start warming up. One brings life, the other decay. The comparisons can go on forever. But for our purposes, the most important comparison between the two is about adding and subtracting clothing. This is very similar to solving a math equation. Fall means that you will begin to replace summer clothing with winter wear by adding key elements such as scarves, sweaters and hats. The key word here is “add.” Spring, on the other hand, is the gradual subtraction of these winter items – this is where the equation becomes complicated. Not all spring items carry equal weight. While a light sweater can be worn early in the spring (you need to only shed one winter layer), a summery hat will demand the removal of all winter wear before it can rightfully adorn your head. A good rule of thumb is that the first items to leave your summer wardrobe once fall arrives are the last to become part of your spring getups. Some of these items are flip-flops, summery hats, and beachwear. If it belongs on sandy dunes, wait until it is at least 85 degrees out. The best items to mark the beginning of a new season are demure and understated. Good examples would be a turquoise ring, a cream colored v-neck sweater, pastel shirts, or a cute capelet. Another great choice is a spring skirt (or “Bermuda”) paired with a “poor boy” sweater to fight the morning chills. Once you have shed the last remnants of your winter skin, which should be warm shoes, you will be able to use your judgment more freely. Bags are key items that all fashionistas should count on. The best colors for bags are all shades of browns, from buttery to chestnut. Brown can take you from summer to fall and from winter to spring without any bumps on the road. Floral and beach-y themes, however, should be left at home until strawberry-picking season has begun. The beauty of mastering the art of seasonal transition is that it applies to both men and women, old and young. Once you know the basics, you can apply them for the rest of your life. As the weather enters its more benign incarnation (which I predict will be sooner than you think, courtesy of global warming), making the right wardrobe choices will be the single most important part of your day. Leave questions such as “should I dump Matt and date Leroy?” on the backburner until you have decided whether or not it is time to wear ballet flats again.