from Bloomberg Businessweek

Ready to break out of your rut?

Fashion isn’t complicated—in theory.

Just wear what you like. But with so many options, how do you know what to like in the first place? We’ll help you decide what to wear this spring. Do you like color? Dig the ’70s? Thoughts on messenger bags? Sharpen those pencils.

Denim is...
Brunello Cucinelli jacket, $2,375, and pocket square, $180
Topman shirt, $40
The Tie Bar tie, $19
Pierre Hardy, $595
Hermès, $1,075
My uniform

Lighter-weight denim flows like any shirting fabric, so don’t be afraid to treat it that way. (Do be afraid of the Canadian tuxedo—that’s still not OK.)

My indulgence

Indigo can be a refreshing alternative to spring’s never-ending procession of navy.

Fine—for the weekend!

Weaving atypical washes into your wardrobe might change your mind.

When you see a guy with a messenger bag, you think...
Billy Reid, $495
A.P.C., $455
Mont Blanc, $1,025
Ralph Lauren, $2,750
Burberry, $1,995
I feel where he's coming from

If you want to retain the messenger aesthetic, but not look like you ride a bike through downtown gridlock, find a model with handles and shoulder straps.

Those were the days

A petite duffel can double as a weekender and an everyday carryall.

Wouldn't be caught dead

Swap out your boring briefcase for one in a bright color or textured material, like raffia.


In 2015 major manufacturers from H&M to Kering, the conglomerate behind luxury brands such as Brioni and Bottega Veneta, responded to charges that their businesses were taking a toll on the environment. They streamlined supply chains and marketed “conscious” collections. But when it comes to sustainability, there’s real passion among smaller brands—and there are new companies worth knowing as much for what they make as how they make it.

Shirting-inspired dresses and trousers from New Zealand’s Kowtow come from fair-trade organic cotton. Amour Vert’s soft tees and blouses use sustainable synthetics like Tencel and recycled polyester—Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan. And Melissa Joy Manning crafts her jewelry from recycled sterling silver, even designing some pieces around gemstones from a Michigan ore refinery.

What decade do you wish you lived in?
Tie One On
The neckerchief is a global style signature. Wrap a silky one around your neck (like this one from Karen Walker, price on request) and look convincingly Parisian, or try a cotton bandanna and look convincingly chic whatever city you're in.
The 2020s! Never look back

Minimalist detailing says “the future” without verging into sci-fi territory.

Wish it was the ’70s, man

Don’t go full retro—keep your lapels well under a mile wide, and opt for pants in slimmer cuts than you’d have worn back in the bell-bottom days.

I like Ike

Fifties fashion doesn’t have to be as boring as a TV dinner. Balance conservative silhouettes with eye-catching prints.

When you put your best foot forward, what does it look like?

Rainbow sandals dominated spring runways. Many were too crazy for officewear, but if you want to experiment, try these technicolor flats or go rogue with a closed toe.


Stacked contrast soles add a bit of unexpected pop to loafers.


Dressy doesn’t have to be straight-laced—it can also mean buckles or exotic eel skin.

What do you want your jewelry to do?

Shoulder-grazing earrings bring attention to your face and elongate your neck.


Stack your bangles high. Skip silver, and look for chunky bracelets in brass, wood, and horn instead.

Stand out

Speed up your morning routine: A statement-making choker is all you need to pull together an outfit.

Lizzie Fortunato, $275 for the set
Anndra Neen, $475
Marni, $230
Ashley Pittman, $395 for the set
Are you a risk taker?
All Grown-Up
Backpacks aren’t just for schoolchildren anymore. This version from Want Les Essentiels ($595) does away with adolescent adornments; it’s compact, minimal, and utilitarian-chic. The pack comes in fabrics from plain black leather to intricate brocade—this one features the brand’s signature paint-drip polka dots.
My middle name is danger

Dare to bare your shoulders—it’s an elegant way to show some skin.

Let's not get carried away

With so much volume concentrated around the paper-bag waist, you’ll want to keep your top and shoes unadorned.

I don't gamble

The short-sleeved button-front shirt is no longer only for the office IT guy. Designers are reinterpreting it with slightly shorter, tighter arms—in colors beyond blue and white.

How much color is too much color?
Truth Bomb
Everyone loves bomber jackets because of their versatility. Wear one over a shirt and tie to stylize your workweek wardrobe, or with your favorite T-shirt and jeans on the weekend. This one from Todd Snyder + Champion ($405) is a men’s coat, but it could also be a sporty balance to spring’s Victorian florals.
Not something I worry about

Green is the new navy. That said, it can be tricky to wear—avoid looking like a leprechaun by hewing to bluer and browner shades.

I can handle a hint—kind of

Take baby steps: As temperatures rise, swap out charcoal gray for light shades—think the color of the sky after it rains.

Turn it off, please!

Pair a flowing poet blouse with a structured pencil skirt. The tie neck lets you decide how much skin you want to show.

Market editing by Shibon Kennedy and Erica Blumenthal
Illustrations by Scott Gelber
Web design by Steph Davidson