Thursday, November 27, 2014 · 12:06 p.m.

Five essentials for a man's spring wardrobe

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Men have the luxury of being able to hide their lacking sense of fashion behind layers and layers of clothing during the winter. However, when the temperature heats up, we have to endure what can only be described as hundreds of hobbit-like, basement-dwelling creatures surfacing from a winter-long flatulence and feast fest. We immediately reach for the T-shirts, khaki cargo shorts and flip-flops because they are easy and comfortable. But they are also hideous. With as sincere of an expression as I can muster, this list will help steer your wardrobe in the right direction, whether you’ve been watching football all winter or playing Skyrim. This is for you, fellas.

Ditch the cargo shorts
From the traditional khaki to those madras plaid aberrations, cargo shorts are the easiest way to alienate yourself as a complete toolbag. I used to wear these shorts every day during the spring and summer until a wise friend pointed out that I wasn’t “working roofs” and shouldn’t be dressing like I did. I have no problem with shorts, especially if it’s 90 degrees outside. But if you’re wearing cargo shorts and flip-flops (or, god forbid, shorts and tennis shoes), then it might be time to reassess your moral structure. As Einstein (a fashion guru in his time) famously said, “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Using that as our base, opt for some shorts with about a 9-inch inseam and a simply designed pocket structure. You’ll never go wrong with a light khaki or slate gray color. If you can live without shorts, which is the absolute best route, go with some simple tailored chinos. As a bigger guy, I go for the “classic fit,” but you skinny dudes might want to try a slim-fit variety. There’s nothing more unappealing than a large guy in “skinny-fit” clothing. 

Sunglasses
Gentleman, don’t do this. What are you trying to say by wearing inexpensive, plastic, neon-colored sunglasses? The purpose of sunglasses, first and foremost, is to protect your eyes from the sun! That’s why buying cheap sunglasses is the ultimate signal to the rest of the world that you have no idea how to take care of yourself. It’s also a signal that you want to be repeatedly punched in the face. Invest in a good pair of quality aviator sunglasses. They are not only cool in all the right ways, but they are the most effective piece of eyewear for blocking the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun from all angles. Plus, Don Draper wears them. Here are his exact sunglasses for about $115 shipped. You don’t need to spend more. 

Shirts
Back to Einstein with this one. There’s no need to wear baggy T-shirts with irreverent logos or fancy sayings. You can still be casual without being sloppy. Instead of wearing those big, cheap T-shirts, get something with a little slimmer cut, like these from J.Crew. The No. 1 problem with guys and T-shirts is that we buy them one or two sizes too big. The bottom of a shirt should come down to just above the zipper on your pants. If it goes further, then it’s too big. Invest in a handful of these T-shirts in different colors, and you’ll have a go-to everyday look that doesn’t make you look like you’ve given up. For a dressier, yet still casual, look, I would recommend a couple of Oxford-cloth dress shirts. Both J.Crew and L.L.Bean have affordable varieties. I’ll mention it, too, that this spring, all the dudes will be wearing simple, unconstructed blazers or sports coats that have no shoulder pads and are machine washable.  Steer clear of madras cloth unless you’re a professional. 

Footwear
I know it’s said every year that any form of open-toed footwear on a guy is maybe the grossest thing ever, yet I still see dudes rocking the flip-flops every year. My feet are not my best asset. They have hair on the toes and ill-shaped toenails and calluses. I feel it is my duty to keep shoed these disgusting feet, much like it is the duty of a young mother to keep her ugly baby under a blanket away from the public view. My summer shoes consist of a pair of these and some chukka boots like these. The latter work well with some dark denim jeans for a casual night out. They both go great with the above-mentioned chinos and broken-in T-shirts. To blow minds and your budget, check out Alden’s long-wing bluchers. If you’re buying from Alden, you’re already way ahead of the game, though, and don’t need a lick of my advice.

Shaving/skin maintenance
Even men who dress like Don Draper, take care of their bodies and have little trouble with the fairer sex could use some tips on skin care. For me, my obsession with being “above average” on the style scale started when I found a Web forum called Badger and Blade. The site deals with classic shaving (like your grandpa used to do it) and various other manly essentials like fragrance, skin care and overall gentlemanly health. While I’ve yet to foray into the insanely difficult world of straight razor shaving, I have managed to rid my medicine cabinet of all modern shaving products, including those multiple-blade cartridge razors and generic shaving foams. The best purchase I’ve made in my young adult life—besides 300 shares of Ford (F) when it was $6 a share—was a classic shaving kit and some high-quality, tallow-based shaving soap. Shaving has since become a sort of ritualistic experience instead of the one thing I most hated to do during the day. I would highly recommend investing in classics, especially if you hate shaving. Email me at the link below, and I’ll point you on your way.

And remember, don’t wear flip-flops and cargo shorts.

You can contact Sean Phipps via email and Twitter with comments and questions. The opinions expressed in this editorial belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

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