Fashion & Function: Spring Outerwear

Many thanks to a reader who recently sent a special request via the Poplin website:

"The weather is so changeable these days. Do you have some suggestions for outerwear that is both stylish and practical for the Seattle spring?"

Another reader asked via Facebook,

"Can you share some ideas for transitioning from winter to spring?"

Ah, how I love questions. And, I'm especially excited about these as I've been on an Uber Wishlist roll lately for several women with very different body types, personal styles and budgets. As a personal stylist, I'm constantly on the look out for options that work for all different types of clients. Plus, this type of year can be especially challenging when you are choosing your outfit for the day. For those of you riding public transportation, it's even tougher. After all, two days ago I was at the beach. Today is pouring rain. 

Dear Reader, let's get you ready for spring.

Spring Outerwear for the Fashionable Set...

that also likes to be Comfortable


 Lovers and Friends Babe Moto jacket. Available in black, white, nude. Revolve. $217.

1. It's a jacket, no it's a vest!

All the credit for this gem goes to one of my clients. While on the hunt for the perfect white jacket, she discovered this nod to the 80's trend of removable sleeves. She was so excited she sent it to me to share with other women who might appreciate it. Man, I love my clients.

Vests have come back and you'll see more of them as the weather warms up. For those colder days, sleeves are a must. So, why not find a cardigan alternative that works for our unpredictable weather?

 ASOS Curve Exclusive Fit and Flare trench. ASOS. $122.29.

2. The lightweight classic trench.

I've said it before, you can't go wrong with a classic trench that is flattering and can be paired easily with your closet. The key is to find one that truly looks good on you. Imagine a classic khaki trench. Now, let's find the right fit for YOU.

If you are diamond shaped, you want to draw the eye in and elongate your frame. Go for a jacket with a long exposed zipper, a ruffle from the collar to the bottom or piping from top to bottom. Rectangles need curves and hourglass shapes shine when their waists are highlighted. This means that a belted trench works well for both. A triangle should highlight her top half with a unique collar, bold buttons at the top or shoulder details. Are you an inverted triangle? You'll want a coat that balances out your frame by drawing your eye down. Perhaps an a-line option or detail at the bottom of the coat. 

 Boden Rainy Day Mac. Available in multiple colors and prints. Boden. $178.

3. The Coat that Demands Compliments. 

Need to liven up your black/grey/brown wardrobe as we transition into spring? Try a bold pattern or colored lightweight jacket. I find that clients are sometimes fearful about an attention- getting coat thinking it isn't practical. Fear not. You just need to be strategic. Make sure it's a color that fits well into your wardrobe. It should also be one of your power colors- looks great and makes you feel even better. The fit needs to complement your shape. And, it needs to coordinate well with at least one of your handbags and at least one pair of shoes. Personally, I think you can get pretty far on the appropriate shade of green or blue. After all, the stem never clashes with the flower and the sky goes with everything. I'm in love with this option from Boden. It's a RAINCOAT and it comes in a variety of modern prints and colors. 

 Sonya Waistcoat. Need Supply. Was: $88. Now: $36.99.

4. A Vest.

As I said, you'll see a lot of vests this year. I've found that my leather vest has become an unexpected must have. Whether you are wearing a cardigan or a blazer underneath, the vest fits easily over the top and the contrasting sleeves can add a nice level of complexity to your outfit. I've also discovered that wearing a vest under your winter coat works, especially if your vest has an interesting collar that can peeks out from under your coat. So, you can use the vest as part of your inside outfit or rock it as outerwear. 

 Boho Summer weight scarf. Forever 21. $8.80.

5. The Perfect Scarf or Scarves, Depending who you are.

With always changing weather, scarves are an essential. They keep you warm. They elevate your outfit and they are effortless to remove if you start to heat up. On colder days, go for a heavier jersey or cashmere option. You'll want colors that complement your skin tone as a scarf is right next to your face. For warmer days, try something very lightweight and easy. You can find these for next to nothing at Forever 21 or other fast fashion retailers. Scarves are also a nice way to try to break out of your solids or stripes habit. Florals, especially tropical prints are big this season.

 Denim Jacket. Available in multiple colors and washes. Also available in regular, tall, petite. $34.94.

6. An Everyday Denim Jacket

Tailored, boho, relaxed, classic. Regardless of your style, it's highly likely that a denim jacket fits perfectly into your aesthetic and it's a refreshing change from your regular cardigan. Again, consider your body type and your personal style. If you prefer the classic tailored approach, a dark structured jacket is for you. Wear it over dresses, with bold or subtle jewelry and neutrals. Prefer an edge? Perhaps a distressed denim jacket is more your speed. I'm a big fan of the white denim jacket for the polished set. If your best assets are up top, try something attention getting (white, faded, distressed, unexpected). If your favorite parts are down below, try something cropped or a darker wash. 

It looks like another post is in order for the best shoes for this time of year. Does that interest you? If so, let me know and I'm happy to share some tips for the perfect spring shoes. Enjoy the weather!

Enjoying the blog? If so, sign up for the Poplin email list and receive e-newsletters, fashion tips and invitations to exclusive events, like the recent event at the Limited. Our next drawing will be for a gift card to the new Blue Mercury store opening in U Village. 

Like what you see on the site? Please remember to click on items here on when you decide to buy, as Poplin may receive a commission on your purchase. Thanks for supporting Poplin!