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Fashion Seasonality: Appropriate Fabrics and Colours for Spring and Fall

January 5, 2010
Shirt and pocket square cut from the same fabric

A spring color and weight.

Fashion can be many things to many people: creativity, self-expression, lifestyle, professionalism, etc. Regardless of how you perceive clothing, the one underlying influence that binds all looks together is seasonality, specifically  spring and fall. That is to say, within the 2 seasons that dictate the ebb and flow of fashion, there are 3 guidelines to which all collections, wardrobes and outfits bend: fabric weight, fabric type and fabric colour.

Light weight fabrics and light colours are the foundation of any Spring fashion season. Warm weather fabrics such as silks, linens, light weight cottons (e.g. poplins) and woolens under 300 grams make for comfortable and complementary attire. Pink, yellow and lavender are just a few examples of the lighter shades that characterize Spring colours, which should be prominent within your wardrobe. When combined, light colours and airy fabrics define Spring fashion style.

When dressing for the Fall fashion season, outfits should consist of heavy fabrics and dark colours. Typically, trousers, sport jackets and suits are made from heavy cottons (over 350 grams), woolens over 300 grams (e.g. 4 harness textiles) or woolens mixed with over 20% cashmere. Furthermore, flannels, Donegals (tweeds with a bird’s eye pattern) and tweeds are all considered staples for the colder half of the year. Although there is more flexibility for shirt cottons, allowing for more year-around options, the same general rules apply and a heavy twill makes for a great Fall dress shirt. In addition to the weight of Fall fabrics, the colour is just as important. Autumn’s dark colour palate, such as burgundy, plum and brown, should be mirrored by your shirts, trousers, suits and sport jackets. Clothing is an outlet for self-expression but each season has its own personality and your clothing should reflect those characteristics.

Just as all guidelines have exceptions, fashion is no different. When it comes to picking seasonal colours for shirts, white and any blue are acceptable all year-round. Black and navy suits are also exempt from seasonal constraints as long as the fabric weight is appropriate for the season at hand. Conversely, light weight fabrics can be worn throughout both seasons if their colours match seasonal palates. Lastly, medium colours for shirts, trousers, suits and sport jackets can be worn at any time.

When it comes to knowing when to apply the guidelines of seasonality,the general consensus is light colours after May 1st, dark colours after September 1st and heavy fabrics after October 1st.

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