As Binghamton warms up to a high of 40 degrees, we are seeing fewer sweatpants and more basketball shorts on campus. Spring is here! Men, look no further for the newest trends and where to buy them.
Fit is the most important. You can purchase the nicest, most high-quality cotton shirt on the market and still look 14 if your clothes don’t fit right. For button-downs, make sure your collar sits around your neck without constricting it. The sleeves should not extend past your palm and should not bunch up when cuffed at the wrist. For regular T-shirts, the sleeve should sit halfway around your bicep, and the bottom of the shirt should not rise up when you lift your arms. Similarly, pants should not need a belt to stay on. If the legs billow or rise up when you’re sitting, your pants are either too long or too short.
Nothing beats a classic plain T-shirt for the hotter months. You can find inexpensive, quality fabrics at stores like J. Crew or Uniqlo and even Target’s Merona line. Stores like H&M, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 carry shirts that won’t last as long but still look and feel decent. A regular crew neck is ideal, but those willing to venture can try a scoop or v-neck as well. Apparently Binghamton summers are actually pretty hot, so a tank top in any neutral color can look great (no neon). Button-downs are another great option. Oxford cloth button-downs, particularly in colors like blue, gray and white, can work in any season with any outfit. J. Crew sells at great deals, but you can pick these up anywhere, from Walmart to JC Penney. Remember these are not dress shirts, which tend to have a longer collar and are made from twill fabric or broadcloth. As it gets hotter, look for lighter materials like chambray or linen. This season, floral print and all-over designs are in. Stores like PacSun and ASOS carry all-over designs. Just avoid oversized Hawaiian shirts — you’ll look like your dad on vacation.
Although it’s time to stash away the North Face fleece jacket, spring and summer nights tend to get cold too. A hoodie is acceptable but often lazy-looking. A snug crew neck sweater, anywhere from Old Navy to Macy’s, coordinates with anything and won’t get too hot. Denim jackets (like Levi’s), Barbour coats (ASOS), rain jackets or anoraks (North Face, LL Bean) are also lightweight and handsome options.
For spring, a pair of Levi’s, Uniqlo, even American Eagle denim jeans are good quality. Avoid sulfur dyes and opt for indigo-dyed (dark blue, light wash blue) jeans instead. For more colors, check Bonobos, J. Crew or the aforementioned stores for chino pants. Colors like blue, gray and khaki are versatile. Black pants often provide too much contrast but can work with other neutral colors. As summer comes around, pairs of chino shorts from Land’s End or H&M are lightweight and comfortable. Shorts should sit from 1 to 3 inches above the knee. Navy and khakis are safe bets, but louder colors like red, green or yellow work better for shorts than regular pants do. You’re not in middle school anymore — avoid madras designs and never, ever wear jorts.
They say the things that keep you on the ground — your mattress, car tires and shoes — are the most important investments you can make. Never buy cheap shoes. Stores that carry “in-house”-brand shoes like Forever 21, H&M and American Eagle should be avoided at all costs. For spring, a pair of boots like Clarks Desert Boots, Wolverine 1000 Miles and Red Wing Iron Rangers can break the bank but will last for years. As summer rolls around, low-top canvas shoes are lightweight and comfortable. Brands like Vans, Nike, New Balance and Keds in colors like gray or white look great. Boat shoes (Sperry Top-Siders, Eastland, Quoddy), bucks (Alden of New England), Blucher moccasins (LL Bean) and penny loafers (Allen Edmonds) are also good casual-wear options. Since it’s hot, either wear low-cut socks or don’t wear socks at all. If you choose the latter, buy scented shoe trees, change your shoes every day … and actually wash your feet daily. Also, we don’t live in Southern California, so flip-flops and sandals can look ridiculous. But if it’s scorching hot, then by all means wear those instead.
A baseball hat is an undisputed classic. Avoid fitted caps and snapbacks by brands like Obey or Stussy. Ebbets and Urban Outfitters carry wool- or cotton-brimmed baseball caps for cheap. Do not buy a bucket hat or fedora unless you’re a fisherman, Jason Mraz or feeling very bold. A pair of wayfarers or club-masters from Ray-Ban or Warby Parker are great sunglasses. Do not buy aviators unless you are Tom Cruise. Lastly, a watch from Timex or Omega is inexpensive but a timeless addition to your wardrobe (no pun intended).
Lastly, fashion is an entirely subjective form of expression. If sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt are what you feel good in, then by all means wear that instead. For those interested in dressing a little better this season, hopefully this guide will fit you nicely.