Dress right this spring with simple staples

By Dane Feldman


Although New England weather threatens us each and every day, there is no denying the fact that spring has arrived at last.

With spring’s arrival come the ever-challenging and awkward temperatures that toy with us and test our abilities to properly dress for the weather. The mornings start out cool and calm, yielding to a warm but windy afternoon promising to have us tossing our fleeces aside. The question is: Do we really know how to layer up properly?

The way the weather is in these parts, it’s important to be prepared for practically anything at any given moment. What’s the best advice I can give you? Find a light sweater, zip up or crewneck sweatshirt and carry it with you wherever you go. With so many different styles and cuts, you will find that these are possibly the most versatile items you can add to your wardrobe.

Sweaters are great because they allow a bit of creativity without being too out there. While you probably shouldn’t be donning a Christmas sweater in April, there are tons of great patterns that are fitting for the springtime. The most perfect and classically New England way to go is with a nautical striped sweater, say American Apparel’s Sailor Stripe sweater for $48. What’s wonderful about a sweater of this type is that it can be paired with a crewneck t-shirt, an oxford or a polo. It can also be worn alone as if it is a long-sleeve tee. Pair this with your favorite leather boat shoes, canvas sneakers or flip flops for that effortless Cape Cod look we all know and love so well.

If you aren’t in the mood for something quite so classic but still subtle and simple, the best option is the zip up. Instead of dropping $50 on an American Apparel zip up, go over to Old Navy on Route 9 and grab their version of the solid colored hoodie for under $20. The quality between the two is hardly worth comparing since they are practically the same (and if you’re a bit of a brand lover, they also aren’t noticeably different). This item goes well with pretty much anything you pair it with be it a graphic tee, an oxford, jeans, chino shorts or Vans. Go crazy. This piece isn’t called a staple for no reason.

Last and most certainly not least, my favorite: the crewneck sweatshirt. Think John F. Kennedy in that famous photo of him on his boat: effortless, timeless, remarkably handsome and nonchalant. Pull of the look with a polo that pops out from underneath, a fitted pair of stonewashed chinos, no socks, wayfarers or clubmasters and white canvas sneakers. Or pair it with anything you please. After all, it goes with absolutely everything (especially if you buy it in grey). Now that’s heritage. Find it at J. Crew for $49.50.

What’s best about all three of these items is that they are timeless and elegant without being stupidly expensive or overdone. There are many ways to take these items and make them your own. Sew elbow patches onto the sweater. Paint the fence white in your backyard with the zip up on. Be careless. Be messy. The more worn and original these pieces look, the more “heritage” they become and the more recognizable they will be as staples in your wardrobe. Just because they are classics doesn’t mean they have to be boring. And remember: layer up! The wind rarely ceases around here. Don’t get caught with goosebumps on your forearms by the pond.

Dane Feldman can be reached at [email protected]