This article is part of Spring Fashion Month, where we’re breaking down your must-have fashion pieces for the next few months. From denim jackets to comfy sandals, we’re asking editors, influencers and experts about the go-to pieces they wear through spring and beyond.
With new seasons comes the opportunity for a fresh start. Whether you’re planning to get some deep cleaning done or set new goals for yourself, spring is the perfect time to take a step back and take a closer look at the things in our life that we often set to autopilot, including your wardrobe.
“Spring is defined by new beginnings,” explains NYC-based art world professional Jack Nelson. “It’s a moment to reintroduce vibrancy and light into our days, and it’s an opportunity for us all to consider our personal redefinitions or our style evolutions.” Hazel Morley, Bonobos’ vice president of design, echoes this sentiment. “As the weather starts to thaw, it’s a great time to be more playful and add some color or a fun print into your wardrobe.”
“Take the time to properly evaluate what you can eliminate from the year prior and assess the new pieces you want [to] usher in,” explains Todd Snyder, fashion designer and founder of the eponymous fashion label. “A best practice is to start with refreshing the quintessential wardrobe staples … Once the foundation is set, then look to layer on the more conversational and trend-forward pieces.”
It’s also good to keep in mind the “unpredictable nature of transitional seasons,” explains NYC-based fashion designer Max Kitabayashi, who shares that “smart layering is key” when it comes to effective spring dressing. But most importantly, a spring wardrobe refresh should be an opportunity to have fun with fashion. “I think versatility and quality are things to always look for when shopping for new pieces,” explains professional stylist Fred Kim. “But men’s fashion has come such a long way and I’d like to encourage men to explore brighter colors and bolder silhouettes.”
Ahead, we’ve consulted stylists, influencers, editors, designers and other sartorial enthusiasts on their favorite brands and pieces, and compiled it into this guide aimed at helping you craft your perfect spring wardrobe.
Buck Mason is a menswear brand all about the very best essentials, well loved for its commitment to craftsmanship and consistent high quality. Each of the brand’s designs are produced in the States and are “a riff on an iconic American staple.” So it’s no surprise that when it comes to the most essential of basics — T-shirts — Buck Mason is where our experts look. “I have tees from Buck Mason from 2015 that feel and fit just as new now,” raves Kim. The brand’s attention to details is clear from the universally flattering fit and durable fabric choices.
This classic fit, crewneck tee is Kim’s top pick. “The quality and fit are unparalleled,” he explains. The signature curved hem is super flattering, and the premium, lightweight cotton is knit in the USA and is prewashed so it comes to you preshrunk and perfectly broken in.
The Japanese casual wear brand has been quickly embraced by people around the world, and for good reason. Beloved for its high-quality clothing at impressively affordable prices, Uniqlo is unmatched when it comes to timeless and functional staples that outperform similarly priced competitors. Recommended by multiple of our experts as their go-to destination for T-shirts, the brand’s range of high-quality, comfortable options — think different colors, silhouettes and fabrics — makes it so that there truly is something for every guy.
“I’ve lost count of how many of these I have,” shares Daniel Rathburn, our programming editor. “They are thick enough to wear on their own, and the solid, neutral colors are perfect for wearing under any jacket or denim button-down.”
“My tried-and-true brand for good, quality T-shirts that won’t break the bank is always Uniqlo,” shares DC-based content creator and style influencer Evan Smith. This 100% cotton option is durable, comfortable and one of his — and Kitabayashi’s — personal favorites.
Long-sleeve T-shirts are a super-useful layering piece. LA-based menswear content creator and influencer Vince Lee recommends this slightly oversized option, which features ribbed cuffs and a chest pocket.
Spring dressing is all about a smart transitional wardrobe, and Bylt specializes in just that. The men’s clothing brand excels in comfortable, durable basics that are meant to be worn throughout the year and in all sorts of occasions — from the gym to the office to date night and everything in between. The brand’s tees are a favorite of Roy Lee’s, our operations and strategy lead. “It’s admittingly an Instagram purchase,” he shares. “But I’m glad they targeted me because the fit is great,” he explains, and “the quality is amazing.”
This tee — the brand’s hero product — is made from the Bylt’s signature fabric, a combination of cotton, polyester and spandex. It’s ultra stretchy and has a super-comfortable, slightly drapey, looser fit. “The drop-cut style adds a touch of originality that stands out from your basic T-shirt,” shares Roy Lee. And it’s available in tons of great colors.
“I may or may not have five of these,” shares Roy Lee. The bestselling drop-cut tee in short-sleeve Henley form, this classic, stylish option is the perfect year-round wardrobe staple.
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Timeless and sophisticated yet still accessible, Banana Republic is well known for its range of casual to formal clothing. The brand’s tees are particularly standout, especially given the variety of styles, fits and colors available. It’s a favorite among both experts and everyday guys we spoke to, who were all impressed with the quality and overall range offered by the brand. “I’ve been super impressed with Banana Republic lately,” shares Kenger. “It’s great to know you can count on them for basics.” Mike Bruno, our vice president of commerce, suggests stocking up when the brand runs sales, sometimes with markdowns at 50% off.
Kenger’s tee of choice, this soft yet durable everyday option is made from 100% Supima cotton. The material resists pilling and shrinking, so it’ll last wash after wash for years to come.
Bruno shares that of his collection of a couple dozen solid-colored tees, many are these Luxury Touch tees. “The fit is comfortable without being boxy and the quality is good enough to last,” he shares — and he’s not the only one. The tee is a fan fave, and even boasts anti-odor and moisture-wicking properties.
Founded by designer Todd Snyder, the brand was inspired by Snyder’s love of New York City and its fashion, along with the desire for quintessential wardrobe staples that could help men dress smarter. You’ll find well-tailored, beautifully designed and expertly crafted pieces across product categories, though the brand’s commitment to fit and quality is particularly standout when it comes to its button-downs.
“Nothing is better than a clean white button-down shirt,” explains Kim. “Todd Snyder makes the best oxford shirt that goes with just about anything.” The brand’s founder agrees.
Made from 100% Irish linen, this button-down is piece-dyed and prewashed so it’s exceptionally soft. The perfect warm weather staple, it would be “perfect on its own or layered over a plain tee,” explains Kenger.
“Button-downs immediately make me think of J.Crew,” shares Smith. “And no, not because they are inherently a preppy article of clothing, but because J.Crew has been doing them forever … Dare I say they’ve mastered them?” The timeless brand is a go-to for just about any type of classic clothing you’re looking for. Effortlessly stylish while consistently functional and high quality, the brand’s range of button-downs is crucial when it comes to such an essential piece. “They offer more cuts, patterns and colors than can fit in a single wardrobe, so there is truly something for everyone,” Smith explains.
A revamped version of the brand’s bestselling and incredibly versatile Secret Wash shirt, this classic yet fun button-down is made from a 100% premium cotton material that’s both super smooth and strong.
“When I think of spring fashion, I think of lightweight layering,” shares Smith. “It’s also when we start seeing color make a comeback.” This twill shirt is a perfect transitional piece — you can wear it on its own or over a short-sleeve or long-sleeve tee. Made from 100% cotton selvedge twill, the bright green color is a perfect way to have fun even with essential pieces.
British clothing brand Charles Tyrwitt specializes in formal menswear, and over the past 37 years has amassed a global fan base that stretches far beyond its original London storefront on Jermyn Street. Timeless yet stylish with a “pinch of British charm,” as founder Nick Wheeler describes, Charles Tyrwitt focuses on high-quality, responsible pieces that’ll make you look like a million dollars sans the luxury prices. In fact, the brand believes in the quality of its pieces so much so that it guarantees them for up to six months — in any condition and no questions asked. A CNN Underscored staff favorite, it’s a perfect brand for stocking up on button-downs for the office or for a special occasion.
Described as a “great everyday go-to for work shirts,” Bruno is a fan of Charles Tyrwitt’s quality, customization options, and French-cuff shirts. “Prices are reasonable, especially when you grab the discount for buying three or four at a time,” he explains.
If you’re looking for totally unique, beautiful button-downs, look no further than Perte D’ego. The new menswear brand is based out of Noida, India, and focuses on ethical working conditions and sustainability. It’s even established its own zero-waste studio where designs are made in small batches — restocks happen only when there’s sufficient demand. “The craftsmanship of their embroidered button-downs is unparalleled, and at a price point that isn’t going to send you into distress,” shares Nelson. “This is an excellent brand for the person who wants to experiment with patterns because their textiles have a timeless quality to them,” he explains. “Every shirt that I have from them has served me more well than I had expected, largely because they’ve achieved vibrant patterns that can be styled so universally.”
This elegant floral printed version of the brand’s signature cuban collar button-down is perfect for bringing color — and springtime — into any wardrobe.
Inspired by the landscape of Morocco, this gorgeously earthy button-down is perfect for anyone easing into prints. It’s neutral enough to be effortlessly styled in countless ways while still being super eye-catching.
The British fashion brand is well loved for its high-quality essential pieces — many of which have a high-fashion twist. While its classic-contemporary styles can get pricey, there is a good amount of more affordable options on the brand’s website. In short, our experts and everyday guys both agree that Reiss shouldn’t be overlooked as a go-to destination for when you’re looking to spend a little more on something that looks great and will last. Especially when it comes to the brand’s button-downs.
“The quality is terrific and snug fits are a great match for my body type,” explains Bruno, who has a couple suits from the brand as well. These versatile button-down overshirts are a particular favorite of his.
Founded in 2010, Huckberry is an American online retailer and one of the best places for outdoors-loving guys to discover high-quality clothing, gear and accessories that work equally well for everyday life and the actual outdoors. The brand has a couple of its own products but is best well known for curating the very best products from independent and innovative designers and other brands. So it makes sense that when it comes to smart, weatherproof outerwear, Huckberry is the place to go.
“What I appreciate most about waxed jackets, aside from their waterproof quality, is the patina that is unique to each wearer as they are broken in wear after wear,” explains Kim. “The more you wear them, the better they look over time.”
This fun ’70s-inspired bomber, part of the Huckberry x Coors collaboration, is perfect for throwing on as you head out for a slightly chilly spring evening.
Alex Mill has what many would call a cult following. Backed by the expertise of Old Navy and Madewell founder Millard Drexler — father of Alex Mill’s founder Alex Drexler — and former J.Crew and Madewell creative director Somsack Sikhounmuong, the New York-based brand is loved for its classic styles, high-quality fabrics and unmatched attention to construction details. Alex Mill is also known for its wide use of fun and bold yet classic colors, making it a wonderfully appropriate brand for any transitional, perfect-for-springtime jackets you might be on the hunt for.
“Denim work jackets are dependable throw-on pieces that are perfect for spring layering,” shares Kitabayashi. “Alex Mill’s Botanical Dye collection screams spring by using plant-based pigments to create rich and varying tones.”
“As the weather starts to warm up, your outerwear choice can sometimes be tricky,” explains Snyder, who recommends this jacket. “I always opt for transitional weather staples that you can easily layer with.”
San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer brand Quince is focused on offering luxury-quality products without the luxury markup. By avoiding the additional expenses that are part of the traditional supply chain model — like wholesaling and distribution, for example — it’s able to keep prices low without sacrificing on quality and fair manufacturing processes. The brand is super transparent about the associated costs of each product, and even compares the cost of each of its products to that of similar brands as well as its traditional retail cost. While Quince is a popular brand for all types of sustainable clothing at a great price point, the markdowns on traditionally pricey items like cashmere sweaters and durable outerwear is absolutely worth calling out.
The café racer is a sleek, easygoing alternative to the traditional biker leather jacket. This stylish option is made from 100% top-grain leather and rings in at under $200.
“This cashmere sweater is one of my favorites for the school week,” shares Tyler Moore, who’s more commonly known on Instagram as Tidy Dad. “It’s available in a variety of colors — the Fjord blue is a great color for spring — and is soft and comfortable,” he explains. For cooler spring days, he suggests layering it over a collared dress shirt.
San Francisco-based menswear brand Taylor Stitch was founded in 2008 with the goal of creating versatile clothing that’s meant to last far beyond a couple seasons. The brand’s commitment to quality and sustainable practices manifest in its use of premium materials and ethical manufacturing practices, to name just two components. The brand guarantees repairs or replacements for damaged or defective pieces for its entire lifetime. And its Restitch program gives you the opportunity to exchange gear for store credit — no matter the condition it’s in — so it can be repaired and passed on to a new owner.
“For casual jackets, Taylor Stitch is my go-to,” shares Vince Lee. They’re “great quality and stylish.” This classic take on the iconic workwear jacket has all the stylish and practical details you could want.
If you’re looking for a weatherproof jacket that doesn’t look like every other raincoat, this Clutch jacket is one of the most stylish (and effective) pieces of outerwear we’ve come across. It’s been treated with wax, which protects you and the jacket from the elements and can be reproofed year after year.
A favorite of Hunter Capobianco’s — our director of business development — Bonobos is a men’s clothing brand that’s best known for its range of well-constructed, high-quality pants, though it offers a really impressive collection of shirts, suits and basically anything you’d need in the apparel department. While the brand specializes in pieces that nail that business casual sweet spot, Bonobos is still a bit more colorful and playful than similar menswear brands, which makes it the perfect spot to head to when sprucing up your springtime wardrobe.
“A great-fitting pair of chinos in a spring-forward color like light tan or olive is the perfect foundation for any outfit,” explains Morley. One of the brand’s hero products, this chino pant was recently updated to include a secure zip pocket and is now made from a four-way stretch, non-iron cotton fabric. It’s also available in short form!
Rhone was founded in 2014 with the goal of creating clothing that looks as good as it performs. The brand prioritizes the use of high-quality materials and innovative construction, which can be seen in its range of casual wear, workout clothing and office-ready pieces that are deceptively comfortable and practical for all sorts of occasions. It’s the perfect destination for effortlessly stylish pants and shorts that’ll keep you easy and breezy even as spring turns into summer.
“When it’s 100 degrees in July, these are what I’m wearing when I’m dragged to brunch,” explains Bruno. These shorts, in addition to being lightweight, are stretchy and boost UPF 50+ protection against the sun.
This versatile pant is made from the brand’s super-comfortable Flex-Knit fabric. It’s available in four different styles and comes in a great range of neutral colors.
While the rapidly growing clothing brand may be most well known for its casual shirts — meant to be worn untucked, hence the brand’s name — that’s not the only thing the New York-based brand absolutely nails. Simultaneously polished yet relaxed, Untuckit offers a range of apparel and accessories that are practical and smartly designed, particularly when it comes to comfortable pieces that can be worn both in and outside of the office. A favorite of Kim’s, the brand’s range of men’s pants and shorts are perfect for building up your collection of spring staples in the colors, sizes and even fits that work best for you.
“The best part about these chinos is the inclusivity in sizing,” shares Kim. “They range from a 30 waist size all the way up to 40, including odd number sizing as well as multiple inseam options.”
If you’re looking for a pair of on-the-go pants that still look totally appropriate for the office, this option is made from a quick-drying, wrinkle-free fabric that’s also water-repellent — perfect for rainy days, sweaty days and any other time you need to stay fresh and dry.
“Pants and shorts are usually my heavy hitters,” explains Smith, “also known as what gets worn the most.” Because of this, he prioritizes durability and versatility when shopping for these pieces. “I’m usually willing to shell out a bit more for a great fit and even better construction,” he explains. One of his go-to places to shop? COS. The brand, which was founded in London in 2007, is now part of the H&M group and has quickly become a popular destination for fashionistas worldwide. Its pieces skew modern and trendy while maintaining a minimalist and clean aesthetic that’s super versatile and perfect for when you’re stocking up on wardrobe essentials.
“COS has some of the most unique and playful silhouettes when it comes to pants,” shares Smith. He’s a fan of these wide-leg drawstring pants, which are both comfortable and fashion forward.
You’ll be living in these stretchy cotton shorts all summer long, but the sharp silhouette and navy color also make it versatile enough for warmer spring days.
“Proper Cloth is my go-to place for dressier pants,” shares Vince Lee. The brand, which specializes in custom-made, super-stylish menswear pieces, makes going the bespoke route a lot more accessible than it’s historically been. Shop the brand’s site as you typically would any other online retailer and select from standard sizes, or place an order for picks in your custom size — you have the ability to completely adjust with 0.1-inch increments, different posture options and a whole lot more. Each garment is then made to order and shipped directly to you. If it doesn’t fit, free alterations or a complete reconstruction is guaranteed by the brand.
“I think every guy should own at least one pair of white pants,” shares Vince Lee. This trouser option, made from a cotton and linen blend, is super lightweight and a perfect choice for any and all dressy warm weather activities.
These chic, textured chinos are made from a breathable cotton blend that will keep you cool even as spring heats up.
We’re big believers in that some things are worth splurging on, and shoes are absolutely one of those things. Not only will a high-quality, well-constructed pair last you far longer than any mediocre shoe, but they’ll make everyday life a lot more comfortable and even easier. Koio has created some of the most impressive, durable shoes we’ve ever tested — don’t let the chic, minimalist design fool you. The brand combines premium materials with Italian craftsmanship for a range of stunning shoes that perform even better than they look.
“Koio has been my recommended brand for a white leather sneaker for some time,” shares Kenger, who suggests this specific model. “It’s a great intersection of quality and price.”
While boots may seem like fall to winter shoes, the right pair and a little styling are all you need to make them work for you year-round — even in warmer weather. Just pair with a white tee and your favorite jeans for an effortless yet stylish outfit.
Cole Haan has been revolutionizing footwear for nearly a century, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Loved for its ability to combine classic craftsmanship and iconic silhouettes with modern comfort technology and innovative designs, the brand is a go-to for many for how reliably high quality its range of shoes are. Whether it’s a flexible, lightweight dress shoe or the perfect loafer, it’s hard to go wrong with anything — particularly dressier shoes — from Cole Haan.
One of the brand’s hero products, this innovative oxford is by far the most comfortable oxford we’ve ever tried on. And for that, you can thank Cole Haan’s ZERØGRAND cushioning technology.
We’re longtime fans of Nordstrom, so it’s no surprise that the online retailer is making this list. One of the best parts about shopping on Nordstrom is how easily you can browse and discover products from a huge range of brands, something that’s essential when you’re shopping for a product category as diverse as shoes. Fortunately, the retailer makes it a breeze to find everything you need and a whole lot more. Plus, Nordstrom’s return policy makes it easy to try out new brands or styles without having to fully commit. Which is, once again, super important when it comes to finding the perfect shoe.
“When it comes to sneakers and sandals, the classics are classics for a reason,” shares Smith. “New Balance has, in my opinion, all but dominated the sneaker scene in recent years and I think that’s due to the multitude of styles and the undeniably eye-catching colorways that they offer.”
Recommended by Roy Lee, these waterproof sandals are one of the best warm weather shoes you could have on hand. Smith is partial to the brand’s suede model, which is a classic and perhaps a bit more versatile for transitional weather. Birks and socks, anyone?
Loafers are a perfect spring shoe — comfortable, easy to slip on, versatile for both formal and casual wear and truthfully an easy way to look a lot more put together. There’s no brand that does loafers like G.H. Bass, which was founded in 1876 with the goal of creating durable, stylish shoes that will last years and not just seasons. Its iconic Weejuns penny loafer has come to define the American shoe style, so it’s no surprise our experts recommend picking one up if you’re hoping to incorporate the timeless style into your spring wardrobe.
“A classic for a reason,” explains Kim. “These are effortlessly cool, comfortable and able to be paired with just about anything.” Snyder also recommends this pick.
If you’re looking for a more fashion-forward option, this colorway is everything. “You can dress them up and down — it’s good to have a pair,” shares Vince Lee. “And G.H. Bass makes some of the best ones.”
Founded by three Vancouverites in 2017, Vessi creates totally waterproof sneakers that don’t sacrifice on comfort or style. The brand’s patented Dyma-tex technology is integrated into the show’s lightweight knit material — no coating or chemicals involved. “I walk 2 miles to and from work each day,” shares Moore, “and I love these amazing waterproof sneakers … They’re lightweight, comfortable and designed to withstand walking in rain and puddles, and prevent wet socks.” Perfect for unpredictable springtime weather!
Vessi’s take on the stylish court sneaker, this option doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to ease and comfort.
Classic and perfect for everyday wear, this super-comfortable sneaker is everything it claims to be.
“Hats are a quick and easy way to add a pop of personality to any outfit,” explains Smith. “So naturally, you’ll want a color for every mood.” In what might seem contrary to being a massive, global brand, Gap focuses on a few yet universally popular hat designs made from high-quality fabrics, and offers them in a range of fun colors. Smith opts for and recommends choosing hats made from 100% cotton material for maximum breathability, a nonnegotiable when it comes to all-day comfort for when it gets warmer out.
This classic baseball cap is made from 100% organic cotton and sports a subtle, washed-out detailing for an effortless and natural, lived-in look.
Beanies are great for throwing in your bag and having on hand for windier days or chilly spring nights. This lightweight option is under $10 and available in a ton of super-fun, bright colors.
Melin launched in 2013 with a collection of super-innovative, luxury, performance-focused hats that are loved by athletes and active people in general. “Whether I’m at the gym, concerts, hiking, at the beach or even swimming, I wear my Melin hats,” shares Roy Lee. “They have multiple shapes you can pick from based on utility or your personal preference, including different sizes,” he explains. “They’re remarkably durable, sweat-resistant and you can get them wet.”
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Roy Lee’s go-to is this cap, which is part of Melin’s Hydro collection. Like other pieces in the collection, it is water-friendly, floatable and breathable.
Melin’s most popular shape, this cap — which features the same hydrophobic technology — has an athletic touch that’s perfect for intensive activity and everyday wear.
When it comes to hats, sometimes you might not know exactly what you’re looking for — and that’s the fun of shopping! Asos is most well known for its massive selection of products, which includes tens of thousands of items available from countless brands, in addition to its own in-house label. When it comes to a variety of styles at an affordable price, it’s a natural place to turn to — and where Vince Lee recommends.
“This is a great beanie that you can wear with any jacket for a more casual look,” Vince Lee explains.
Equal parts stylish and practical, this brimmer hat is a fun way to accessorize simple outdoorsy outfits and block your eyes from the sun.