Shedding fall layers might feel like you’ll have fewer options for dressing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Dressing for spring is all about being exact: picking the right fabric in the right color for the right reason. Gitman Bros. Vintage is offering a dizzying number of choices this season, so here’s a little primer to make sure you’ve got the right shirt hanging in your closet.

Madras fabric has a pretty long history (there’s evidence of its manufacture as early as 3000 B.C.), but the name and fabric entered Western fashion thanks to the British. A plain weave fabric that’s loomed loose and light, this preppy staple has a gauze-like quality to it that makes colors pop and keeps you cool. The bright pattern on the Green Vintage Madras (1979) means even a basic shirt-and-pant combo has tons of personality.

You’ve got the French to thank for end-on-end fabric (which they call fil-à-fil), which uses at least two colored yarns to produce a dense, but light fabric with tons of texture. Our Vintage End-on-End Plaid (1979) is brimming with color, but look closer and you’ll see minuscule dots throughout the weave that add rich texture to the look.

Odd that a fabric of Indian origin feels so thoroughly American, but seersucker has been an essential part of menswear for so long we can’t imagine spring and summer without it. Specialty weaving produces its tell-tale puckered textured, which pulls away from the body gently, for built in air-conditioning. Avoid the typical striped iterations with the printed Cherry Seersucker; dark navy gives the fabric a sophisticated look while the allover printing adds a jolt of fun color.

Last, but far from least, is our perennial favorite: chambray. Though we stock it year round, Gitman’s chambray fabrics (available in red, blue, and grey) are washed for that beautiful rumpled, easy feeling that we love during springtime. It’s actually related to end-on-end weaves, but with the addition of rolling/pressing process that gives it a particular smoothed out, slightly glossy finish. But in the end, we don’t think it’s all the technical work, but just the great fit and feel that makes these shirts a timeless classic.

(Images courtesy Gitman Bros. Vintage)