Despite the still-freezing temperatures and the snowflakes that fell the other day, the vernal equinox has come and gone, which means Spring is here. You know, flowers blooming, birds tweeting, days getting longer, and all that other nonsense.

If you live in an area of the county that has to deal with seasons, this means that it’s time to prepare for weather a bit nicer than what we’ve been dealing with the past several months. Which likely means changing out your wardrobe, and maybe picking up a few new items to replace some pieces you have to retire.

Professional dress should be changed out seasonally as well. So let’s discuss how you can prepare yourself for spring.

Put away your heavier-weight suits.

For winter weather, there’s nothing better than a nice heavy wool flannel fabric. It’s warm, it keeps out the wind, and it’s soft to the touch — it’s like wearing a blanket.

But once the weather starts turning, the characteristics that make it a great winter fabric become problematic. Once temperatures reach 60-65 degrees, you’ll be a little less appreciative of flannel’s warming qualities. And who wants to show up to Court looking a sweaty mess? So store them for the warmer months.

But I don’t have enough space to store them!

Balderdash. You probably have enough space to pack your winter suits away for the season; you don’t even need a second closet. You just need a few clothing boxes (mine fit under my bed and on top of my wardrobe) and a rudimentary understanding of how to fold things.

I could spend a few hundred words explaining how to fold your suit jackets properly, or I can show you a great video on how to do it via Put this On:

Once you’ve folded the suit jacket, pair your pant legs along the crease, fold them in half, and put them with the now-folded coat in the box. Throw a few cedar blocks in there to keep moths away (and to keep your clothes smelling fresh). Put the box under your bed and forget about it until fall. Voila.

Bring out your spring and summer colors

With warmer weather, you’ll be able to get away with wearing some brighter colors now. Take advantage of it. Here are a few tips.

Get a tan suit


Tan suit. Bow tie. No Shame.

Tan is one of the less formal suit colors you can wear and still look professional. So while it might not be appropriate to wear during a trial, there’s no problem wearing one to the office, or even to a brief court appearance now and again.

When you pick up your tan suit, get one made of poplin or a linen/cotton blend. While there are plenty of tan suits out there made from lighter-weight wools, I can’t recommend them; the informality of the tan color juxtaposed with the formality of a worsted wool just looks wrong to me.

Brooks Brothers has an excellent tan poplin suit available this season, and Banana Republic has a less-expensive tan chino option. You should have one.

Buy a madras tie


The tie on the right is madras. And damn, it’s bright.

Even man needs a madras tie.

While, this advice runs contrary to the simple and sedate row I’ve been hoeing since I started writing this column, it’s the exception that proves the rule (whatever that means).

Madras is a brightly-colored plaid cotton fabric that originates from India. As the story goes, it was the local take on the tartans seen among the English colonists in the 19th century. It’s long been associated with the “preppy” style and had its heyday in the 60s among Ivy Leaguers. Its bright colors and lighter weight also made it a perfect spring tie.

Wear your madras tie sparingly, and only when you’re wearing an otherwise relatively sedate outfit. For business casual environments, it’s a seasonally appropriate way to spruce up the the classic blue blazer.

Don’t take it too far

Hint: this is too far.

Hint: this is too far.

You might get excited while the weather’s warming up and catch yourself some of that spring fever. That’s natural, but temper your zeal.

Remember to keep away from short sleeve dress shirts. These are an abomination. If you want to have shorter sleeves, just buy a long-sleeved shirt and roll the sleeves up.

And don’t take my advice to get some color in your wardrobe too far. Avoid pastel shirt and tie combos. You’re not an easter egg.

Until the temperature rises, I am going to continue thinking warm thoughts. Continue to send me your hate-mail, or troll me in the comments.

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  1. Those ties are cool!

    Nut my wardrobe is black jacket and pants year round. Booooring, I know. I do trade my winter boots in for black shoes in the summer, but that’s about it.

  2. Mark says:

    I have always wanted to buy a tan suit. But because of their distinctive nature I worry about how often you can wear one without becoming the guy who wears the tan suit.

  3. “it’s the exception that proves the rule (whatever that means)”

    Just because this is something that’s come up before in my life, I figured I’d chime in: the original phrase is “the exception that proves that there’s a rule to be excepted.” Basically, you have to have a rule before you can have an exception to it, so the fact that there IS an exception proves that there is a rule.

    Also, too, bowties rock.

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