When it comes to transitioning your wardrobe from winter to spring, it’s not just about getting rid of coats. Read on to see what I mean.
As a New Yorker, I can honestly say I’ve mastered the art of wardrobe transitioning. Not only do we have all four seasons here, for the most part, but I have to accommodate a Manhattan-sized closet.
For those who’ve never lived in the city, that translates to one that’s not very big. I have to be mindful about what gets put in storage and what stays in reachable, active rotation.
To transition a wardrobe from winter to spring is actually quite tricky. If it were a blatant winter to summer, that’s far more straightforward.
But, both in the practical sense and in the style sense, spring is a middle ground between the two seasons. It has qualities in common with both, and early spring is different from late spring.
Don’t get caught off guard during this transition. Check out these best practices when it comes to curating your wardrobe.
Winter to Spring: Wardrobe From Winter To Keep
Here are some important tips to get you from the end of winter all the way to the early days of summer! Start by figuring out what to keep and what to store from your winter wardrobe.
Don’t Get Rid of All Your Jackets
Having moved from the West Coast to the East, I made some mistakes getting used to different seasons. One big mistake was prematurely putting all of my jackets in storage on the first warm day of March.
Don’t forget that you still need outer layers in spring, particularly during the early days of the season. And, you always want to be prepared for inevitable unseasonal days.
Depending on your personal style, you’ll want to keep one or two of your lighter jackets at the front of your closet. It’s one of the most important spring wardrobe essentials. Consider one (or all) of the following:
- Denim jacket
- Bomber jacket
- Utility jacket
I personally think a Harrington jacket is the most universal. It can be worn over a suit, with chinos, and even ripped jeans if that’s your thing. When you’re done here, check out my guide on how to style a Harrington.
Other jackets you’ll want to keep include:
- Trench coat
- A light topcoat
- Anything water-resistant and wind-resistant
Ever heard the saying that April showers bring May flowers? You may be putting your heaviest downiest coats in storage, but spring can be quite a wet season.
And in the event that you get a few more wintery days in early spring, you can just build good layers in lieu of a coat, which brings us to another important point.
Layers Are Paramount
Layers are another holdover that you’ll keep from winter. This time around, though, you’ll opt for more lightweight layers, but a lot of the same garments remain relevant.
Spring is the warm weather equivalent of fall. Again, there will be unseasonal days. More importantly, many days may start out feeling like winter, move into summer in the afternoon, and then settle into a spring-like evening.
Here are a few important layers that will take you from winter to the middle of spring and even some windy spring nights closer to summer. That latter point is particularly relevant if you live by a body of water or near a desert where nights can be as cold as the afternoons are warm.
- A light scarf — you’ll likely only need one, just in case
- Sweater vests or quilted vests
- Cashmere anything
Even if you aren’t particularly preppy in your personal style, spring is a time when cardigans and cable knits look fairly neutral.
Sure, a buttoned-up shawl cardigan with a button-down, khakis, and loafers screams Ivy League. But, an open cardigan, t-shirt, jeans, and
And it’s especially important to be able to take layers on and off during the spring since the days, as mentioned, can really vary.
Keep a Few Winter Whites
What’s the difference between winter white and warm weather white? The way you style them, of course.
A pair of white suede Chelsea boots with a cream cashmere pullover and black trousers is a dapper combination for a winter holiday party.
Those same boots with clean-lined linen pants and a light pastel knit polo, though? Spring style.
Items you might have in winter whites, creams, or beiges include outerwear like sweaters, button-ups and button-downs, and chinos.
Don’t put those away just yet.
Wardrobe for Spring: Things To Add
Alright, we’ve now separated what winter pieces go in storage and what stays. Next up, let’s figure out what items for warmer weather to take out of storage and bring into your active rotation.
Anything you once had in wool or flannel, opt for versions in lighter fabrics instead. Some of these include:
- Rayon or silk blends
- Light cottons
So, for example, go for a light-weave chambray button-down over a denim one. Seersucker pants, shorts, or even suits (if you’re so bold) will serve you well into summer and will be worn naturally at beach clubs.
A linen suit gives you a resort-like effortlessness while maintaining the clean lines of a wool suit. Lightweight dress shirts can be worn more casually as long as they aren’t too formal-looking.
I think that a light-hued button-up with shorts and loafers is a perfect weekend look in the spring.
For the most part, you’ll want to ditch the stark blacks and dark, dark navies for lighter hues. This isn’t a hard and fast rule since black tie formals happen all year long. Moreover, you have the right to stick to colors you love, and those may very well be darker ones.
However, even in a practical sense, lighter colors are more comfortable in warmer weather. So, even if you prefer darker colors, mix it up a bit. Go for dark-colored shorts and a light-colored top.
Here are some colors to consider for spring garments:
- Olive. Olive isn’t just reminiscent of flora and fauna coming back to life, but it’s pretty neutral. You’d be surprised at how versatile an olive suit can be.
- Brown shades (over black)
- Light charcoals
- Beige and cream
- Generally lighter versions of any color, like sky blue over navy
- Pastels and florals
Warm Weather Shoes
Put your snow boots away and go for some of these options instead:
- Low-profile white
- Leather boat shoes
- Loafers, like drivers and moccasins
- Lighter boots like Chelseas or chukkas
And, of course, classic dress shoes like oxfords and sneaker styles like GATs are year-rounders.
Okay, so how do we put this together? Well, we have a guide for you right here, which includes 30 spring outfits for all personal styles.
Check that out to get some great inspiration!
The important thing to remember about spring is that it is a bit of a transitional season. You have to be flexible, and sometimes you’re even mixing cool-weather items with warm-weather ones in the very same outfit.
A cardigan with linen pants and boat shoes is one example. Shorts, a pullover with a button-down, and loafers with no socks are another.
My go-to work outfit during the spring is a blue or light gray suit with a quilted vest and a pastel tie.
Here are some at-a-glance answers to common questions about transitioning your wardrobe from winter to spring:
How Do You Transition a Wardrobe Between Seasons?
When transitioning a wardrobe between seasons keep your lighter pieces of outerwear, like raincoats and bomber jackets, but store your heavy coats. Start wearing lighter fabrics like linen and lighter colors such as beiges, light blue, and even pastels over stark, dark colors.
When Should I Switch To Spring Clothes?
You should switch to spring clothes whenever the weather calls for it. You may still need outer layers in early spring and not need shorts just yet.
By the end of spring, most of your jackets might be in the back of your closet, while your lightest pieces are in the front.
How Do I Start Changing My Wardrobe?
Transitioning your wardrobe from winter to spring may be a gradual process, starting with storing your heaviest coats before transitioning to taking out your shorts and no-show socks.
Conclusion: A Gradual Transition
Remember that, to begin with, you’re not putting every single winter garment away. Moreover, the items you’ll need for extra hot weather, like shorts and sandals, will likely make their debut later in the season.
As covered in the FAQs, it’s important to remember that it’s a gradual transition. You don’t want to be caught not having an essential piece of clothing when the weather calls for it!
For more information, check out our complete spring style guide.
What are some of your favorite springtime wardrobe essentials? Let us know in the comments!