Editor's Picks: The Joys of Spring

Spring has sprung with a decidedly Italian bouquet at The Rake. Digital Editor Ryan Thompson selects his favourite pieces to update your seasonal wardrobe.
Editor's Picks: The Joys of Spring
The free-thinking British polymath, the Right Honourable Bertrand Russell, wasn't short of a pithy quote, and I was reminded of one such zinger earlier this week when the British sun reared it's bashful head and bathed London in what can be lovingly described as lukewarm hope. "Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy," said Russell. Now, 'first love' we can't help you with - I'd imagine that febrile boat may have already sailed - but with spring in the bag, we can most certainly provide a slice of Italy in the form of exceptional tailoring brands. Let's face it, when it comes to lightweight spring/summer style, nobody does it better than the Italians. These are my picks for updating your seasonal wardrobe, from head-to-toe nude tones to luxury sports-inspired leisurewear.

Put it in Neutral

A sure-fire way to look chic without having to overthink it is by sticking to a neutral palette. Beige, tan, off-white, cream - they all go together with such ease, eliminating the potential for you to mess things up. To keep the look interesting, opt for patterns such as stripes in shirting (G. Inglese is great for this) and look to mix up the fabrications to create a textural pastiche.

Take tailoring off-duty

The British might do formal tailoring better than anyone else in the world, but the Italians have the market cornered in sprezzatura. Lightweight unstructured jackets are their forte,  but how to wear them? I prefer to dress down such pieces with a smart polo shirt (not the sports variety) while at the same time adding a degree of old-school formality with pleated trousers. If you're opting for a cotton jacket then think about introducing one of my favourite spring/summer fabrics - linen - in the form of separates and/or shirt, hence why I've opted for this Italian trilogy of McLauren, Lardini, both bookended by Rubinacci's excellent chocolate brown Marphy Belgian loafers and all wrapped up in an earthy palette.

Workwear works harder

It's often said that if you want the best American workwear, go to Japan, home of the world's very best denim. But it would be churlish to overlook the Italians - while they might not genuflect at the altar of selvedge denim, they most certainly know how to put together their own interpretation of Americana. Best among them is Barbanera, whose footwear you might already best familiar with. Their FDP western-inspired denim shirts are outstanding and perfect fodder for a weekend look. Lasso the look together with Scarosso's suede Chelsea boots and The Workers Club's  (Japanese) selvedge denim and you are off to the rodeo.

The Look of Luxe...

...Sports luxe, that is. It's a term that has been around for a while now, proliferated by an undeniable loosening of sartorial codes that has afforded a good deal of interplay between traditional sportswear and classically smart silhouettes. The likes of Zegna and Brunello Cucinelli have been masters of this for a while now, but smaller niche brands are also coming to the fore. A new discovery is McLauren, originally a Shetland knitwear brand but now under the ownership of an Italian entrepreneur. The result is vintage British styling made with contemporary Italian know-how. What's not to like? This cricket sweater makes for the perfect sporty foil to fellow Italian brand Chillworks' cashmere track pants, which honestly can't be done justice to until you try them on. Finish off the look with a spankingly clean, bright white pair of sneakers by Grenson.