How To Wear A Shirt Jacket For Men

It's not a jacket; it's not a shirt.

Shirt Jacket

Stylish men are by now well acquainted with fashion’s nonsense terms. ‘Athleisure’ and ‘sportsluxe’? The two simply jog off the tongue nowadays, particularly at times of scrutiny when a clueless friend questions your choice of jeans, sneakers – and a blazer.

It’s time to extend your fashion vocabulary, again. Introducing the ‘shacket’. Or shirt jacket. You’ve seen the word splashed about during Paris fashion week and touted as a key spring trend in the past. But what is this coat-shirt thing? And how on earth do you wear it?

When To Wear A Shirt Jacket

Designed for those times when the weather has no idea what it’s doing – a slight wind with patches of sun and when upon entering the shade you’re instantly cold – the shirt jacket is here to bridge the divide between winter and spring or summer’s turning into autumn.

A good shirt jacket has these properties:

  • A mixing of button down shirt characteristics but with casual jacket capabilities
  • With a straight point collar and utility pockets the lightness of the shirt jacket makes it perfect as a layer under a top coat or wearing on its own as an over shirt
  • A much more breathable alternative to the heftier winter coat

To dumb it down – it’s an overshirt, disguised as a coat. Confused? Fear not. Let’s take a look at how to wear it.

Military Shirt Jackets

We recently covered the topic of military style and one of the most prominent pieces is the military shirt jacket. The origin of the shirt jacket has been linked to the military fatigue shirt, a sturdy cotton overshirt worn during WWII. So as a men’s fashion staple nowadays, the utility pockets of the shirt remain – as does the hefty construction.

Made from canvas or cotton, the military shirt jacket usually sticks to khaki or an army green colour with metallic buttons in some cases for ceremonial pazazz.

Pair this version of the shacket with tailored trackpants and white leather trainers for a clean sportsluxe look. Then, add technical outerwear – like a mac coat or parka for a light protection against enemy attack from the rain.

Indigo & Denim Shirt Jackets

With Japanese denim tearing up men’s wear lately, the shacket has been karate chopped into different shades of indigo this season – forming another facet of the perfect denim shirt. The fabric is usually linen or breezy organic cotton – delicate and rustic – but with superior Japanese design and colouring.

Pair a light-hued indigo shirt over a tee or polo paired with raw selvedge jeans, for a double denim outfit that is bold in texture and an authentic American work wear aesthetic.

Wool Shirt Jackets

More like a relaxed blazer than over shirt, a soft-shouldered shirt jacket – in more luxurious wool blend – is a suave option for smart casual times. As a fibre, wool sits better on the shoulder and insulates against the cool while its breathability eliminates the need to sweat.

Opt for a neutral tone, like navy, grey or charcoal, and then add a button down (secured up to the neck) and chinos to accompany the sports jacket aesthetic of the shirt jacket. Stark white sneakers or smart leather brogues keep will see you stand in good stead.

Outdoor Shirt Jackets

Functional sportswear also makes its play on the shirt jacket. Crafted from cutting-edge materials-designed to obstruct the elements and alleviate odours and sweat – common fabrics include polyamide and blends of lycra and nylon – for an active jacket finish that is sheeny and stretchy.

The tech-y shacket comes in both bold and neutral colours, depending on the season. Coming into spring? Experiment with cobalt blues and cherry reds while burned orange, emerald green or navy are great autumnal hues.

Then pair it with more refined chinos or woollen sweatpants with a tapered ankle or with a tee and tailored shorts. And sneakers, always.

Vintage Suede Shirt Jackets

Not as weather-beating as the nylon shacket, a shirt jacket made from suede offers an Americana edge to a street wear look. The suppleness of the animal hide means it’s nice to touch and is especially pleasing on the eye in tan or chocolate brown.

Being very textured, keep the suede shacket modern with a simple tee and jeans – opting for a slim or skinny fit (never bootcut) for the denim. Then add some suede boots – in a different natural hue to the jacket – going for something anti-cowboy in design like a side-zipped Chelsea boot.

Quilted Shirt Jackets

Quilted shackets round the popular shirt jacket styles for this season. Not only does its design and material lend itself to being used as a makeshift jacket, but when layered underneath a winter coat it acts in a similar way to a body warmer, insulating you against the elements.

Steeped in British hunting traditional, you won’t need a rifle, tweed cap and dachshund to pull this look off. So, play around slim fit denim in a washed out fade (maybe subtle knee rips too) with a graphic print tee.

Buttoned all the way up the quilted shacket becomes quite smart, especially with a collared shirt and canvas messenger bag. Now, don a felt cap and pipe if you’re that way inclined.