FashionLooking Good

Go Bold & Bright For Spring 2016 – 6 Power Looks to Warm Up The Season!

Produced and Written by James Vincent


What nice thing can anyone say about March? It’s still winter – though, blessedly, toward the end. It’s not spring yet, but it’s close enough that you can at least start planning a spring wardrobe. And as has been pointed out here in this column before, it’s always a good idea to shop AHEAD of the season to grab all the first great looks before the stores run out of your size and the selection that you want.

With it not quite spring yet, try out your new wardrobe picks warming up for a cozy early spring dinner – or lunch –  in a Chicago original – Gene & Georgetti located in the busy and trendy River North area of the city. Since 1941 they have consistently been the place to go for a swank steak dinner. The restaurant proudly boasts a legion of regular customers, some going back more than 50 years.

Plaid men’s tailored wear has been trending for several seasons now and is especially strong for Spring & Summer 2016. So, start out with a bold blue and grey plaid suit like this Glen plaid with an overlay of a window pane plaid – go ahead – it will rivet all eyes on you in whatever room you’re in – so ramp up your personality to keep up with your look. But don’t stop at just a bold suit. A bold patterned suit needs a shirt and tie combo that can stand up to its boldness – so don’t cop out with a plain white shirt and a blah tie. A suit like this can, should and will very comfortably take on an equally bold plaid shirt. Just keep it in the same color family and in a smaller, tighter pattern. For the tie – get away from plaid but don’t take the easy route with a solid color – get a denser pattern more heavily saturated in the same color as here with a dark blue on blue paisley. Throw in a multi blue toned pocket square and you’ve got a look that will take you anywhere this spring into summer.

Suit, Coppley; Shirt, Tommy Hilfiger; Tie, Michael Kors;  Belt, Nautica; Pocket Square, Nordstrom Rack; Tie Bar, Vintage.

With any early spring – especially in Chicago – it’s always a good idea to have a top coat ready for whatever crazy weather early spring conjures up. But don’t just keep hauling out your winter weight top coat – get a good heavier weight model rain coat  – as here with this classic trench coat – don’t bother actually belting it. Its heavier cloth will keep you not only dry but warm when you need it to. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the pocket just in case – for wishful thinking – you’ll be glad you did and look drop dead when the sun finally does come out.

Trench Coat & Sunglasses, H&M.

A good sport jacket – any sport jacket – should be versatile. It should be able to be dressed up or dressed down. If it’s bold and colorful – all the better. This bold orange crush and white windowpane plaid – windowpane again – is a charmer and will boldly take you out into the evening as well as to work. The orange is just begging for more color – so go ahead and take orange’s color across the color wheel – purple, but tone it down to lavender. This lavender Glen plaid perfectly complements the larger windowpane. Again, you’re pairing up a larger plaid with a smaller, denser plaid for balance. Pull it all together with a bright diagonal stripe silk tie. A pop of unexpected blue in a pocket square says you are confident enough to not be all matched up.

Sport Jacket, Coppley; Shirt, Michael Kors; Tie, Ermenegildo Zegna; Belt, Nautica; Pocket Square, Nordstrom Rack.
Sport Jacket, Coppley; Shirt, Michael Kors; Tie, Ermenegildo Zegna; Belt, Nautica; Pocket Square, Nordstrom Rack.


Then for a casual weekend day where you need to be a little more polished than a tee and jeans – take that same jacket in a whole different direction. The white windowpane on orange is just begging for more white – so go ahead – go all white. White jeans – yes, they’re out this early in the year – and a white polo to complete the look. Roll the sleeves up a bit, flip the collar and add in some wristbands and you’re ready to look and feel great for whatever the weekend holds.

Polo, Calvin Klein; Jeans, 7 For All Mankind; Pocket Square, Vintage.
Polo, Calvin Klein; Jeans, 7 For All Mankind; Wristbands, H&M; Pocket Square, Vintage.

With all of this pattern it can be easy to overlook a solid color sport jacket. Sometimes a solid color just works – like this bright blue with a nice hopsack weave texture. The texture gives the color an almost pattern like look without going all the way. The bold color delivers the brashness of a pattern and makes it versatile to dress it up or down. It’s such a great all around jacket – it deserves a classic treatment. Pair it with a muted blue plaid shirt to keep the blue color story going and give it a bold primary contrast color of yellow with blue diagonal stripes for a clean and classic look and – grey trousers –  always a good choice.

Sport Jacket, Coppley; Shirt, Bugatchi; Tie, Hickey Freeman; Pocket Square; Nordstrom Rack.
Sport Jacket, Coppley; Trousers, Nordstrom Rack; Shirt, Bugatchi; Tie, Hickey Freeman; Pocket Square; Vintage.

Then take this same dressed up look and think how the jacket will look with jeans. A dark wash jean looks terrific with this Mediterranean, azure type of blue. What’s the obvious color to pair with a bright blue that might scare some people but is a classic pairing? Orange. If you’re already confident enough to wear this bold of a color – go ahead bring on more color!

Sweater & Wristbands, H&M; Jeans, Citizens of Humanity; Boots, Red Tape; Pocket Square, Vintage.
Sweater & Wristbands, H&M; Jeans, Citizens of Humanity; Boots, Red Tape; Pocket Square, Vintage.

*Model: Nicholas for Ford Models Chicago; Photography, Alejandra Guerrero,; Grooming, Jennifer Mendoza; Styling, James Vincent; Shot on location at Gene and Georgetti, Chicago, IL



The Author

James Vincent

James Vincent

JD Vincent is a freelance visual merchandiser and display designer based in Chicago, IL, with a life-long interest in fashion. He has been a local Chicago display designer for many years and has been an independent contractor in wholesale and retail visual merchandising for 20 years. He started the wholesale tradeshow design company, tradeshowoffs! in 2013. You can see his company’s wholesale and retail projects at His visual merchandising clients have included well-known companies such as Reebok, The North Face, Cartier, the Chicago Merchandise Mart as well as many other local retail and wholesale companies. His product focus in recent years has been in the men’s wear tailored arena. He has honed his professional styling skills with companies such as Hart Schaffner Marx, Zegna, Hickey Freeman, Kenneth Cole, DKNY amongst many others. Mr. Vincent currently resides in Chicago and works as an independent visual merchandiser and designer for both retail and wholesale companies that include, among others, Bobby Jones, Hickey Freeman as well as yet to be discovered new clients.

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