Spring is an interesting time of year when it comes to style. Too warm to be wearing heavy sweaters and coats, but not warm enough to brave the elements in just single layer.
What is a stylish man to do?
One option would be to layer. Throw on a light weight cardigan or v-neck sweater on top of your button up shirt. It’ll keep you warm in the morning but also give you the option to peel a layer off in the afternoon if temperature begins to climb.
But what about those extra cool mornings (the ones where you can see your breath), or those rainy spring days? What to do then?
Well, that’s where a lightweight spring jacket comes in handy. It’s the perfect transitional piece to keep you warm (but not too warm) and dry during the often wet and cool spring season.
The following are my 5 favourite options:
The Trench Coat
As is customary with spring season, the morning and evening temperatures may still be a bit on the cooler side. The temperature may also dip a little if it’s raining outside. A great jacket for this type of transitional weather is a light weight trench coat. For guys who routinely wear suits and blazers, a light weight trench coat can be an indispensable piece during the spring season.
A traditional trench coat comes double-breasted with 10 front buttons, wide lapels, and a belted waist. The length of the coat itself can vary from mid-calf to above the knee. My recommendation would be to look for something made from a light weight cotton (or cotton poly blend) material that hits you around the mid-thigh. Although trench coats come in a variety of colours these days, it’s hard to beat a classic khaki shade.
The Mac Jacket
For those of you who are looking for a light weight jacket that you can wear over a suit or blazer but don’t want to wear a trench coat, I highly recommend looking into a quality Mackintosh (aka Mac) jacket.
The Mac jacket is a type of waterproof raincoat that was first sold in 1824 in Scotland. The original jackets were made from a rubberized fabric, but contemporary renditions can be made from a variety of materials. Unlike trench coats, Mac jackets will be single breasted with a more streamlined designed. Once again, I recommend looking for a jacket made from a light weight cotton material (preferably waterproof). Colour options can vary, but I would recommend something in a lighter shade (khaki, light grey, tan etc). It is spring after all.
The Field Jacket
I’ve talked about this jacket in a previous article, and now that the weather has warmed up a bit it can be the perfect addition to your wardrobe.
The origins of the field jacket can be traced back to 1941 with the introduction of the first field jacket – the M-194 – by the US Army. The purpose of the jacket was to give men greater flexibility for the different conditions encountered in the field of battle. Over time the jacket has become a popular staple in menswear style.
Although the field jacket is a lot less formal looking than a trench coat or Mac jacket, you could still wear it to the office with a button up shirt and a tie for an effective “high-low” look. Although modern field jackets come in a variety of different styles and colours, I recommend sticking with a classic jacket made from a cotton material in a drab olive colour.
The Harrington Jacket
For those of you who are looking for a stylish spring jacket in a waist-length option, I highly recommend the Harrington (aka Baracuta) jacket. The first Harrington style jackets were made back in the 1930s and gained a lot of popularity during the 50’s and 60’s when celebrities such as Elvis Presely, Steve McQueen, and Frank Sinatra were wearing them. The jackets were also immensely popular during the 60’s among the mod subculture in the United Kingdom. The Harrington jacket has since become a perennial classic in menswear.
A typical Harrington jacket will be made from cotton with a traditional tartan or check-patterned lining. The jacket will also come with a band collar and two buttoned, flapped pockets. My recommendation here would be to stick with this classic design. Baracuta is one of the original companies that have been making Harrington jackets. They still offer their classic G9 model. Although it is a bit pricey, at least you know you’ll be getting the best.
The Varsity Jacket
Other names for this jacket include the bomber jacket and the baseball jacket. Whichever name you choose, this type of jacket definitely has a sportier feel. In a previous article I discussed a way for men to indulge in their obsession with sportswear in a stylish manner and the varsity jacket is a perfect example of this. This type of jacket could easily be used to upgrade a boring hoody or track jacket. My only recommendation would be to find one that is very simple in design. The last thing you want is anything with over-sized, obnoxious logos. I would also recommend keeping your look casual; perhaps pairing it with a t-shirt and jeans, but you could certainly pull it off with a button up shirt and tie if you have the right kind of jacket.
The warmer weather of spring means that your heavy winter sweaters and coats will be little more than encumbrance. Despite this, you will still need something to bridge the gap during those cool spring mornings. Enter the lightweight spring jacket. In this article I have provided you with 5 great spring jacket options. Although these options are far from a complete list, choosing any one of them will keep you warm, dry, and stylish during the transitional season.
Here’s to looking sharp!