Jackets are different than, say, your denim. Where jeans are concerned, you could conceivably get away with having one favourite pair that you wear over and over. As long as it meets a few basic requirements – dark wash, slim fit – that pair can go almost anywhere. A jacket, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as versatile. A leather number full of snaps and zippers will look out of place at the office Christmas party, and wearing a blazer while performing with a Ramones tribute band will get you booed off the stage.
What you need is the right men’s jacket at the right time, and as always we’re here to help.
Men’s Jacket Basics
If you’re looking for formal, look elsewhere. Today we’re focusing on the casual component of your outerwear wardrobe. You’ll want several pieces in this particular arsenal, since each one will be suited to different occasions and ensembles. Those differences aside, there are several things you’ll want to look for no matter what kind of jacket you’re purchasing:
Start here. Fit is always your top priority, whether you’re buying a bespoke suit or swim shorts to wear on a tropical getaway. A jacket is no different. The right one will look and feel as effortless as a second skin, so don’t compromise on finding a fit that suits your frame.
If the jacket is meant to be a second layer, look for something that fits closer to your body. If the jacket is meant to be the top of several layers for winter warmth, choose something slightly bigger (but not bulky).
The age-old debate of trendy vs. classic is fierce, but the solution is simpler than it appears. Start by considering your needs. If this jacket is a first, stick to something classic that offers the greatest amount of possible wear. On the other hand, if the jacket in question will be an addition to an already-thriving collection, feel free to expand into more niche territory. Also consider your bank account.
If you can afford to splurge, or if the jacket is so affordable it doesn’t matter, hop on the trend train. If you need to be more economical, opt for something timeless.
And Jacket Versatility
This one’s a no-brainer. Mull over a jacket’s possibilities before purchasing it. What can you wear with it? Like a Visa card, can it go everywhere you want to be? The question of versatility goes hand-in-hand with the advice above. If you’re able to indulge, versatility is less important.
If your accountant has advised exercising restraint, versatility becomes key so you get the most bang for your jacket buck.
Men’s Jacket Fabrics For All Seasons
Fabric is one part utility, one part style. Part of its function is exactly that: function. It should be as tough, as touchable, as warm, as waterproof, as-whatever, as you need it to be. But it shouldn’t do any of those things at the expense of style, so the ultimate jacket is one that excels at both. You’re already familiar with the basics – leather, suede, cotton – but there are other materials worth considering based on your needs.
Canvas is a good option if you’re looking for something low-key, and when you need a performance garment you’ll want to venture into high-tech territory. Gore-Tex and thinsulate are lightweight, waterproof, and warm fabrics suitable for all-weather use.
EXPERT TIP: Matthew Keighran, Managing Director, HUGO BOSS Australia
So we have seen a return of the bomber jacket and it’s close relative the Letterman.
Bombers work well on most guys. The trick is if you are a bit thicker around the middle, don’t go for a tight rib banding scenario. Ease off a bit and leave that to the skinny kids. A slightly longer length can also do the trick rather than a style that cuts you clean across the belly. This style looks great as a wardrobe staple in a soft lamb skin for footy weather or in cotton and nylon interpretations for a bit of weekend shopping. There is a bit of colour around at the moment but if you are not so comfortable with green and orange go for a mid navy rather than basic black.
As for the letterman….my mum used to say. “if you have done it once…leave it for the next generation”. So I guess I am out….I left nouveau mullets and acid wash as well when they resurfaced a few years back. I give Lettermans one season – I have already seen racks of them on sale in Europe…
To see the full collection of best men’s jackets, start slideshow below.