Spring Suits

Spring Suit Looks & Fashion Illustrations

Spring is often associated with warmer weather or spring cleaning, but for those with a passion for clothing it also means spring suits! Browsing through my fashion illustration archive, I came across a series of spring suit outfits from 1937 that show some exceptional spring combinations.

Mid Grey Spring Outfits

Even though it may seem counterintuitive to wear grey once nature starts to turn more colorful again, mid-grey is a fantastic color for spring because it allows you to wear it with bolder accessories in basically any color you want. This also means you can dress it up for a more formal look with black shoes, white shirt and proper necktie but also combine it with a light green, lavender or yellow shirt, bow tie and brown or burgundy shoes.

Windowpane Suit in Grey

The gentleman on the left is wearing a single button grey saxony tweed suit with blue overplaid and peaked lapels. The texture of the tweed provides a more relaxed look than a worsted, while the colors and peaked lapels are traditionally associated with town wear rather than country attire. His black shoes, winchester shirt and bowler hat underline this impression, while the sweater vest, red carnation boutonniere and brown gloves give the outfit a debonair touch.

Grey Covert Coat

The middle outfit consists of a grey covert coat with khaki cotton drill trousers, suede turf chukka boots, green tweed varsity cap, flannel shirt, horizontal stripe bow tie and pipe. The old fashioned binoculars or camera case in brown leather is popular again, and even the shepherds cane is utilized by stylish gentlemen such as Herbert Stricker. Unlined yellow chamois gloves are perfect for spring because they are not as warm as lined gloves and you can feel the buttery soft peccary leather right on your skin. The chamois yellow is unique and can be combined with all sorts of colors.

Solid Grey Suit

This solid grey flannel suit is a bit lighter in color than most grey flannel suits but that very difference makes it perfect for spring. With dark accessories it is a perfect business suit, whereas brown shoes, beige unlined gloves, a Tyrolean hat and a blue polka dot wool challis pocket square relax the look. The turnback cuffs and jetted pockets are an interesting detail, that make the suit unique. If you don’t have many suits yet, you may not want to opt for a detail such as turnback cuffs, while jetted pockets are fine because they are simply more formal than their flapped counterparts. At the same time, most flaps are made in a way so you can tuck them inside the pocket, resulting in the same look. In my experience, this only really works with thin fabrics because otherwise the pockets gap a little bit. Personally, I think flaps harmonize well with cuffs on the trousers and jetted pocket look neater without cuffs. However, as you see in the illustration, trouser cuffs and and jetted pockets aren’t necessarily exclusive. Note that the full cut trousers are waist high, comfortable and drape nicely from the waist.

The type of tie he wears with a single motif is also known as underknot. It was popular in the thirties and again in the fifties but today you can see it worn by the likes of Lino from Al Bazar, whom has a 7 embroidered onto his tie. Originally, these motifs were woven into the tie fabric or printed and as such they require more accuracy when cutting and making the tie, because if the motif is not centered or located too low or too high it looks careless.

Striped Mid-grey Suit

A striped mid-grey suit is very popular for business. Today, many men wear stripes that are often just a quarter inch apart although a wider gap looks better in most cases. Here, we see a single breasted worsted suit paired with light grey vest, which would also work well with a morning coat, pale yellow winchester shirt, purple boutonniere, white linen pocket square, tie stick pin and black Homburg hat. In his hands he holds white, unlined glacee leather gloves and while they are incredibly elegant, you will have to wash them regularly because they stain very easily. Back in the day, a gentlemen would own dozens of unlined gloves since they were a status symbol: only rich men could afford to have so many gloves that needed to be cleaned regularly.

Spring Topcoat

Probably the most popular topcoat for spring is a Trench Coat , but a loosely woven, thin single breasted tweed topcoat can work as well. It’s certainly more unique and the color depth and texture create a more complex look. Here, it is tailored with peaked lapels, and worn with a red carnation boutonniere, fine striped shirt, foulard tie, lightweight hat in green, grey glen check suit, black shoes and dark brown gloves. As you can see, no man of taste wore black gloves back then!

Navy Double Breasted Stripe Suit

A double breasted navy pin stripe, rope stripe or chalk stripe suit is really so classic that every well dressed man should acquire one sooner or later. Here we see a 4×2 silhouette, which has been more popular lately because it looks different and stands out from the majority six button double breasted suits. This suit is buttoned on the lower button, creating a fuller lapel roll that makes the lapel look much bigger than if it was buttoned to the top button. When you wear your DB jacket like that, make sure that you can button the inside of the jacket at the same height as the outside button, otherwise your lapels will look asymmetrical and odd. While most people won’t notice it is that wrong inside and outside buttoning point, most will recognize that it looks strange.

What do your spring suits look like? 

For more spring fashion illustrations, take a look here and there.

13 replies
  1. Pan
    Pan says:

    Nice article! However, when I wear brown shoes, I personally prefer hats or umbrellas in earth tone colours to black (and vice versa).

  2. Juan Manuel
    Juan Manuel says:

    My spring suits? No spring suits here in Madrid, at least in my case: you go from bleak (more or less…) winter to suffocating summer in a week….

    Excellent article, BTW.

      • Kevin Harper
        Kevin Harper says:

        Here in Victoria, Australia, we are vacillating between hot days of 31C followed by, as today, a day with only a top of 21C. Yesterday started mild but rose to 31C at noon. We are transiting into Autumn. Grey works well in this period, living in a village and and going to a rural city for shopping and appointments.
        Yesterday I had a medical appointment, lunch at the Art Gallery and a committee meeting. Light gray Italian cloth suit, blue and white striped shirt, open neck with Windsor collars and french cuffs fastened with blue-stoned links. Black Oxford shoes, bubble-gum pink socks and pocket square. A black felt Accubra hat and a foiled gray vamp as tropical thunder storms were forecast for the afternoon.

  3. Eric
    Eric says:

    I can’t seem to find an article on canes and walking sticks. I’d love to know more about them, their history, how they came into fashion, etc.

  4. Park Jacob Weatherby
    Park Jacob Weatherby says:

    Great Information Mr. Schneider I just want to inquire about the fabric weight that you recommend for the spring suits and topcoats I live in the Midwest area of the United States and as we are approaching a change of season (winter to spring) I would most definitely like to make a small investment in spring attire?

    Also you seem to highlight darker shades of accessories (brown and black shoes etc.) what is your opinion on colours that accent the lighter shades of spring?

    Best Regards,

    Park Jacob Weatherby

  5. Edgar Bosque's
    Edgar Bosque's says:

    Very good Mr. Schneider, some people don’t understand that early spring straight after winter is still a little chili. Very good on the color choices and fabric. From Edgar (Eddie) Bosque’s who still believes in being dapper.

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