Jackets are my favorite clothing item to wear. I love that I can throw on a large old Barbour and head out the door, or I can throw on a more tailored leather Members Only I got second-hand and feel cool as hell. A jacket alone is a way to do the bare minimum while effectively changing the entire look of an outfit. While there is, in the grand scheme of things, minimal difference between putting on a shirt or a polo, a jacket overtakes an outfit and changes its DNA into something else entirely with some sort of sartorial magic.
Because of this, it’s important for every guy to own a few good jackets in a variety of styles in their wardrobe.
Rain jackets seem to be a dying breed, but have their time and place. I love the sleek feeling of throwing one on to get the mail and subsequently throwing it by the fireplace to dry when I return inside. They have a subtle elegance owed to the fact that they’re a bit Scandi and have a long-line silhouette to make even us short kings feel tall.
Rains Rain Jacket
Not a terribly creative name for a brand, but don’t hold that against it too much. Rains creates some of my favorite rain jackets. With subtle tailoring and an eye for monochromatic beauty, the range of jackets work for just about anyone. The basic Rain Jacket gives me just enough coverage and a lovely amount of give in the sleeves and hem.
Norwegian Rain Single Breasted Homme
Norwegian Rain advances the blueprint set out by Rains. Its pieces are as much a fashion garment as a functional one. This is owed to a cosmopolitan worldview and set influences, from Japanese workwear sensibility, to the Ghanian heritage of one of the owners, to life in Bergen for the other, to a studied approve to design in Milan. Every piece of Norwegian Rain has a couturier’s feel to it (just take a look at the signature Raincho), but the Single Breasted Homme is a great all-around utilitary design that can be dressed up or down as needed.
Like how the coelacanth is a sort of missing link between two species, the shirt-jacket is a missing link between two types of menswear. It’s the ideal jacket to keep in the backseat of your car for when nights get a little chillier, but you don’t need the warmth (or want the added bulk) of a traditional jacket. It’s also incredibly versatile. The casualness of a shirt-jacket gives you the ability to dress it down completely or to add a twist and wear it with slacks and an Oxford for a more preppy look.
Marine Layer Corbet Quilted Overshirt
Marine Layer’s quilted overshirt comes in a pale red or navy and pairs perfectly with just about anything. Styling this with a baseball cap and a henley and you’ll be ready for anything your Sunday has to offer.
Graziano & Gutiérrez Rosa Trucker
The Rosa Trucker from Graziano & Gutiérrez is made from a medium-weight cotton that’s light enough to wear with a t-shirt or a nice cotton sweater underneath without sweating by midday. G&G’s commitment to working with Mexican artisans adds to this jacket’s appeal, as the brand allows you to source the provenance of the fabric to Oaxaca — just another way G&G shows care and attention to every part of the design process.
The denim jacket is as American as apple pie and twice as badass. Under the right conditions, you can get away with wearing a denim trucker jacket all year round, making it one of the most timeless jackets you can invest in once and then wear forever without having to worry about throwing it on, beating it up, and getting it a little dirty. With the denim jacket’s generous shape in the torso, it can grow with you (but I still recommend sizing up a little to give you room to layer and move around in one).
Levi’s Trucker Jacket
Levi’s makes a lot of different denim jackets, and there are plenty of denim jackets for every budget from other brands, too. But this Levi’s Trucker Jacket is really all you need. A classic denim brand making a classic denim jacket is a no-brainer in my book. Since 1967, this jacket’s silhouette has only gotten cooler with time and the light wash will never go out of style — six decades of this jacket being cool as hell has proven that.
With the need for only one denim jacket, you might as well get your James Dean opt for a quality leather jacket. I recently got one from my experience learning to ride with Harley-Davidson and I’m itching to throw it on when the weather gets a little cooler. There’s just something about the feeling and smell of leather that’s incredibly satisfying.
Buck Mason Bruiser Leather Moto Jacket
Buck Mason has a way of refining mens classics, and the Bruiser Moto Jacket is no exception. The moto jacket’s signature is the asymmetrical zipper that looks especially appropriate on the layered dye process for the jacket to have a vintage look. Pairing this with a white shirt and dark jeans is key here. You’ll never feel, or look, more like a 1950s American heartthrob than in this get-up.
The Perfecto’s grail status and unapologetically retro design makes the cult following around this item well deserved. While a bit bulky for some tastes, that’s the point. It’s a garment that’s meant to be worn, buckled at the waist, and broken in. It’s a jacket you want to live in and keep for a few decades. And with a name like Perfecto, how can you disagree?
The chore jacket has been having a moment for a few years now. The traditional chore jacket blueprint is taken from French laborers, and it’s been redesigned and co-opted throughout the years by menswear enthusiasts. The signature touch of a chore jacket is the longer line that cuts below the waist a little, with two large pockets at the base of the jacket and one at the breast. While you can definitely find some vintage ones online, if you’re worried about fit and sizing for a modern wearer, there are modern options, too.
Le Labourer Work Jacket
GARDENHEIR is devoted to adding a much-needed injection of style into gardening apparel. The Le Labourer Work Jacket does this beautifully. Coming in a variety of colors (I’m partial to Citron Yellow), these work jackets are meant to be used in the greenhouse, where they can be muddied up and abused a little. That’s part of the charm of a jacket like this: its patina adds character, and it’s still dressy enough to wear in the city.
Alex Crane Kite Jacket
Alex Crane’s Kite Jacket is the pinnacle of classics updated for modern tastes. Coming in a variety of colors and made from French linen, it’s a charming option that can easily pair with turtlenecks as well as tees in a cinch.