Freshen Up Your Winter Wardrobe for Spring

winter to spring wardrobe

Come mid-February, I’m so sick of everything hanging in my closet that I could hurl the whole lot right out my bedroom window. Wearing the same dark pieces all winter can get depressing. But the last thing I’m going to do is buy a whole new, warm-weather wardrobe I can’t wear (or afford) right now. Tempting, but no. 

So the question remains: What do you wear when it’s too chilly for summer clothes, yet winter clothes seem inappropriately dark and drab? From the black skirt-suit to a navy blazer, here are seven winter wardrobe staples you can freshen up and recast for spring.

What to Wear in Between

What to Wear in Between

Come mid-February, I’m so sick of everything hanging in my closet that I could hurl the whole lot right out my bedroom window. Wearing the same dark pieces all winter can get depressing. But the last thing I’m going to do is buy a whole new, warm-weather wardrobe I can’t wear (or afford) right now. Tempting, but no. 

So the question remains: What do you wear when it’s too chilly for summer clothes, yet winter clothes seem inappropriately dark and drab? From the black skirt-suit to a navy blazer, here are seven winter wardrobe staples you can freshen up and recast for spring.

Black Skirt-Suit

Black Skirt-Suit

The uniform of the modern working woman, otherwise known as the “power suit,” can (and should) be worn in a multitude of ways throughout the year. Worn together, it’s one of the most appropriate and professional looks a woman can wear — from interviews to the boardroom to press appearances, the power suit commands respect. Worn separately, the jacket and skirt offer great versatility and are the perfect bases for a fresh, spring outfit.  
 
The jacket. Slide your black blazer over a simple, silky tee in a lightweight crepe de chine, a modern modal or jersey. On the bottom, add a printed knee-length skirt with soft pleats. Mixing fabrics and adding in prints will bring new style currency to your wardrobe.
 
Wear it with: Mango’s Chiffon Pocket Blouse, $29.99
Zara’s Pleated Print Skirt, $59.90

The skirt. Give your basic, black pencil skirt a whole new look: Try a boxy T-shirt top in a graphic, bold print or in a hot summer color, like coral. This new, modern proportion is extremely flattering: It keeps your bottom-half narrow and your top-half structured with a bit of dimension. Choose a weightier fabric for a more modern, sleek look.
 
Wear it with: H&M’s Black and White Top in Woven Fabric, $34.95

Crew Neck Sweater

Crew Neck Sweater

Basic crew neck sweaters are a staple, especially in sophisticated fabrics like cashmere or a lightweight merino wool. Try pairing yours with white jeans or crisp white trousers for spring. If your sweater’s in a pastel like mint, even better. It’s time to think beyond somber, winter tones.

Wear it with: Banana Republic’s BR Monogram Slim Ankle Pant, $98

Menswear Trousers

Menswear Trousers

Update your wide-leg trousers for spring with a soft chiffon or crepe de chine blouse. A collarless peasant style is effortless, while a pussycat-bow blouse has a bit of that Lauren Bacall ’70s chic style to it. Cinch your waist with a trim, narrow belt to emphasize your middle. 

Try a man-tailored, brogue laceup shoe or a new, modern version of the loafer with this look.  Mixing your (masculine-feminine) style metaphors is a great way to add fashion-cred to your wardrobe: Coco Chanel built her empire on this simple concept!
 
Wear it with: Mango’s Bow Textured Chiffon Blouse, $59.99
H&M’s Platform Loafers, $49.95

Winter Day Dress

Winter Day Dress

Wool crepe, jersey and knit day dresses are worth their weight in fashion gold for their versatility, simplicity and ability to help you get dressed up in a snap. Updating this look for spring is simple: Toss the stockings and trade the boots for a more open (but still work-friendly) shoe. Try a nude heel — its leg-lengthening effects will calm any bare-leg skittishness. If hose at the workplace is a must, go for an ultra-sheer nude that disappears on the leg.
 
Wear it with: Nine West’s Tixalated Nude T-Straps, $89

Navy Blue Blazer

Navy Blue Blazer

Chic up your preppy navy blazer by pairing it with a neat khaki pant and the classic navy-and-white-stripe Breton. If the promise of warm, sunny weather makes you feel a little whimsical, add a great finishing touch by tying on a pretty little printed neck scarf. 
 
Wear it with: J. Crew’s Long Sleeve Sailor Stripe Tee, $49.50
J. Crew’s Stretch Cotton Bristol Trouser, $98
Ralph Lauren’s Silk Polka Dot Square Scarf, $35

Long, Chunky Cardigan

Long, Chunky Cardigan

Not ready to retire that cozy cardi just yet? You don’t have to. Wear your cardigan softly belted over a pretty chiffon dress. You’ll get the best of both worlds when it’s still a little too cool to rock a dress to work without something to cover your shoulders and arms.
 
Wear it over: Collective Concepts’ Floral Maxi Side Tie Dress, $98

Skinny, Black Pant

Skinny, Black Pant

A cropped, narrow black pant is a universal piece that should live in your closet year round, but since we’re almost at the point where we can’t look at another dark, winter garment without cringing (or are we there now?), lighten it up with a light, printed or colorful tunic. Adding a gossamer top layer will make you forget the basic bottom underneath, but you’re still keeping it work-friendly by grounding the soft top with simple, classic trousers.
 
Wear it with: Asos’ Blouse in Long Line Paisley Scarf Print, $60.22 
  
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