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Some Warmer Weather Tips: Getting a Jump on Spring

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


Image via Brighton the Day.

Dear Warm Weather Fanatics,

This unseasonably pleasant weather is pretty nice, right? The sunny, the almost-balmy temperatures (Vermonters enjoyed a few 80 degree days the week before last—it was cooler in Los Angeles). Aside from the whole terrifying global warming thing—it has been rather nice to soak in some sunshine and leave the heaviest coats at home here and there as early as March.

But the whole warmer days situation begs the question: How much spring/summer is too much spring/summer? I'm, of course, referring to one's wardrobe. Folks need to remember that though it may reach 60 degrees here and there, we haven't even cracked Easter or Tax Day yet. It's April 6th. So jumping the gun on bare legs, the continuing sheer everything trend, and/or acres of gauzy white might be just slightly premature.

And, for a variety of reasons. One, you're going to be cold. I've seen young ladies shivering their way to work daily. It's around 40 degrees when we're all waking and attacking the subways—far too chilly for mini-whatevers over naked legs and a toe cleavage-baring shoe. Plus: You caucasians out there, your legs are, like, transparent crazy white. Put them away!

Two, you look ridiculous. To be fair, so does the nimrod next to you who still thinks he needs to be wearing multiple layers of Gore-Tex and wool and hats and gloves and scarves and huge giant furry boots. Yes, I'm disappointed I got very little wear out of my new heavy coat this winter, as well—that doesn't mean I'm dressing for Mount Everest on a late-March day that's slated to reach 65 degrees. (Of course, the difference there being: My coat is gorgeous.) But, to the point: You look silly. It's not high summer—you look like you just got off a plane from somewhere sub-tropical and didn't have the foresight to realize that it might be a tad cooler in Queens than it was in Morocco.

Three, if you're wearing your summer duds now, you'll be sick of them by June! Don't put your clothes through that—they deserve better. Well, a lot of them do (they know who they are).

So here are some tips:

1. The days are getting longer and longer! It's bright when the alarm goes off; and it's still daylight when you're leaving the office. It's sunglasses time. It's statement sunglasses time. It's leave-me-alone time, I'm wearing sunglasses. It's get-away-with-openly-staring-at-everyone time, I'm wearing sunglasses.

I suggest a update on your classic Ray-Ban: Try a pair that combines a plastic frame with metal hardware by Raf Simmons or Karen Walker. Or try something a little vintage looking—a keyhole pair by Warby Parker or Persol. Do it with color: Cobalt blue by Illesteva! Or do it without color: I'm loving the totally transparent frames I've seen everywhere from St. Mark's street vendors to Bergdorf Goodman.

2. Speaking of color: Color, in and of itself, is the trend of the season. The brighter the better. All that neon the higher end has tried to make happen for seasons? It's happened. And it's smile-inducing. You can take it slow: Get a belt at the Gap; a Swatch watch; a Cambridge Satchel Company messenger; a gauzy scarf just about anywhere. If neon is too crazy—just go orange. Orange is everywhere. Have you walked into the Gap lately? Everything is orange—it's awesome. And, if you've advanced past only wearing a brightly hued accessory but don't know where to go next—go for pants. You gotta get a boldly colored pair of pants. They're everywhere: H&M, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc by Marc Jacobs. They're fresh and they're easy to wear—keep your top and your shoes and your everything else either neutral (gray, tan, navy, white, black) or go with less intense variations of that same color (a bright red pant with a salmon tee and a pinkish cream sweater sounds about right).

And people are into it—same-store profit comparisons are gangbusters over last year virtually across the board. Gap, Old Navy, Macy's, American Apparel, and Saks Fifth Avenue are especially flush. People are shopping—and they're buying the color.

3. Dress in lighter layers. You can take off a light jacket or cardigan at the office or in the drug store. It's less easy to add tights or an undershirt. Layering two lighter jackets is worth exploring—try an anorak or jean jacket under a bomber or varsity jacket. Or a chunky toggle button sweater under a cropped trench. It's going to make you look like you put thought into your look. It's also going to make you look like you're not freezing. Or sweltering. Or insane.

4. Some white is okay now. Head-to-two white is less so—but warmish, sunny weather trumps Memorial Day in terms of crisp white denim, a white oxford or blouse, and/or a fresh pair of white canvas sneakers. I would hazard against white pants or white blazers or anything eyelet or seersucker—those items will always be summer. High summer. In terms of sheer—how about a tank or camisole under that top instead of the leopard print bra you might consider come August. You'll be less freezing, less exposed, and there will be fewer photos that make you totally squeamish in five or ten years.

In closing: It's too early to not be wearing socks. We already went over this.

· Love, Frank [Racked]