The changing seasons present their own unique challenges, especially when it comes to dressing. Days can be hot by midmorning and chilly by late afternoon, and everything else in between. Consider a lightweight jacket your best defense.
Here are 14 jackets as selected by our network of fashion experts, stylish fellas who’ve considered the nuance of appropriate outerwear to handle whatever wacky weather lies ahead.
The Nondreary Raincoat
Eye/Loewe/Nature color-block nylon hooded jacket | mrporter.com
Recommended by: Jack Sachs, owner of Brooklyn boutique Drama Club
There’s a current trend of designers applying ’90s-caliber whimsy to the more granola, outdoorsy jacket styles made famous by the likes of Patagonia and Columbia. Says Sachs: “JW Anderson’s newest line interprets the staple raincoat with bold colors and a youthful outlook on what to do with April showers: run right in to them.”
The Simple Trench
J.Crew Ventile trenchcoat | jcrew.com
Recommended by: Justin Fenner, senior associate editor at Gear Patrol
The “bargain of the season” is how Fenner characterizes this stylish trench from J.Crew. “I love how effortlessly the rubberized cotton repels water, and I also love that it comes with a liner you can zip in on chillier days,” he says. “This is a value buy in the purest sense. Anyone who thinks otherwise is invited to fight me.”
The Lightweight Bomber
Jil Sander Man Seattle jacket in beige overflow | mohawkgeneralstore.com
Recommended by: Kevin Carney, owner of Mohawk General Store
“I’m really into spring jacket silhouettes that are made in shirt-weight cotton,” Carney says of this bomber from Jil Sander. “The zipper wrapping around the collar is a detail I have never seen before, and it makes the wearer look like an expert shopper.”
The Quintessential Denim Jacket
AMI point-collar denim jacket | matchesfashion.com
Recommended by: Steve Dool, freelance writer and author of a forthcoming book about men’s footwear
“Some people may try to tell you that there are spring jackets that are superior to a simple denim jacket, but those people, I’m afraid, are wrong,” says Dool. “A classic, in the truest sense of the word, well-cut, unfussy version can stay in your wardrobe forever. I’m partial to this one from AMI, but you can’t go wrong with the basic style from Levi’s, either.”
The Suede Upgrade
Mr P. slim-fit suede trucker jacket | mrporter.com
Recommended by: Garrett Munce, freelance grooming and fashion editor
Although Munce wears a denim jacket underneath bigger coats all winter, he says it’s usually a bit too chilly for him to wear it by itself, even up until May. “I know suede isn’t the most practical choice for spring,” he says, “but with the same silhouette [as a denim jacket], it’s the perfect weight to wear by itself.” Opt for black, which makes everything a little more elevated.
The Packable Windbreaker
Holiday Boileau nylon jacket | holiday-paris.fr
Recommended by: Gauthier Borsarello, menswear artistic director and vintage collector
Says Borsarello of this throwback shell, which is inspired by vintage automobile racing jackets: “Superlight, unlined, easy to pack, waterproof, and well-made in an Italian nylon … it’s the perfect jacket to travel with!”
The Reversible Fashion Statement
Dries Van Noten reversible marble print jacket | endclothing.com
Recommended by: Christopher Legaspi, menswear editor at Vanity Fair
As Legaspi packs away his puffers and long wool coats for the season, it’s the easy versatility of a bomber-style jacket that he reaches for next—especially when it has a reversible print, like this Dries Van Noten, which features solid black on one side and a runway-tested marble pattern on the other.
“It’s a statement piece on one side,” says Legaspi, “and the other is perfect to pair with a hoodie and take on the subway.”
The Leather Jacket
Loewe biker jacket | loewe.com
Recommended by: Sidney Prawatyotin, head of Siduations, a popular fashion Instagram account
As far as basic clothing staples go, a leather jacket is a workhorse you can keep for a lifetime, which means it pays to invest correctly.
Of this biker-style one from Loewe, says Prawatyotin, “the Nappa leather shields you from chilly or wet spring nights, and it’s light enough for warm afternoons. It’s a bit oversized, which is great for layering over a sweater or jean jacket.”
The (Way) Above-Average Vest
Brunello Cucinelli lightweight suede down vest | shop.brunellocucinelli.com
Recommended by: Jim Gaddy, deputy editor at Bloomberg Pursuits
“Listen, a vest is amazingly utilitarian—it can be worn on its own when there’s a nip in the air or under a sport coat or proper coat when it’s actually cold out,” Gaddy says. But if you’re going to opt into the Midtown Uniform (aka “finance bro vest”), consider the luxury upgrade.
Quilted, insulated, and with a two-way zip for extra versatility, Brunello’s suede gilet adds subtle color and texture and not-so-subtle swag to a closet that’s otherwise black, white, and navy.
The Nylon Pullover
Adsum UC jacket | adsumnyc.com
Recommended by: Michael Baquerizo, freelance stylist and head of marketing for M5 Showroom and M5 Shop
Depending where you live, the window for a lighter, transitional jacket as the seasons change can be quite small, so a layering strategy is a smart move. For cooler evenings, Baquerizo likes this coated nylon pullover from Adsum.
“I’m debating between the green or the bright blue, but either way the idea is to get a pop color in that will still pair well with the rest of my wardrobe. I’m into the idea of an athletic-inspired jacket in a more modern cut that I can pair with a light pair of trousers, mixing dressy with the athletic.”
The Office-Appropriate Workwear
Lanvin patchwork cotton jacket | mrporter.com
Recommended by: Isaiah Freeman-Schub, former fashion editor now creative director at Framebridge
“This cotton jacket by Lucas Ossendrijver for Lanvin hits all the workwear notes and integrates classic suiting fabric,” says Freeman-Schub of the tonal combination of black herringbone and navy-and-black pinstriped patches.
Also, there are pockets galore, if for some reason utility is the primary motivation behind purchasing a Lanvin chore coat.
The Utilitarian Layer
Todd Snyder French chore jacket | toddsnyder.com
Recommended by: Frank Muytjens, former head of men’s design at J.Crew, now posh innkeeper
“I’ve always gravitated toward classic pieces with a heritage, pieces that tell a story and come from humble utilitarian beginnings,” Muytjens says of this Todd Snyder chore jacket.
“The name says it all, stripped down to its essence—no frills, just three functional patch pockets, the way it always has been,” he says. “What makes it modern again are the proportions and the material. The linen will age beautifully throughout the years, like a pair of jeans.”