Spring finally marks the time to shed heavy jackets and celebrate the melting of snow, longer days and the return of warmth. While we no longer need protection from the frigidity of winter, the fact is that things won’t really warm up for another few months. Enter the solution — the lightweight spring jacket.
Men’s lightweight jackets vary in style, thickness and function, which makes them more fun to wear than winter coats and parkas. Some lightweight jackets, for example, look more like button-up shirts while others draw clear inspiration from old military attire. Popular styles include the bomber jacket, the field jacket and the raincoat, but modern times have also given us new performance fabrics for ultra-waterproof spring coats.
It sounds like a lot, but we’ve made things easy. Here are the best men’s lightweight jackets to help you step into spring fashion.
1. Rails Porter Jacket
THE UTILITY CARRY-ALL JACKET
The Porter Jacket from Rails is a commuter’s best friend. Military inspired, the four front patch pockets allow for carrying small items without needing a bag, streamlining your walk or ride to work. The button closure extends past the chest and up the neck for added protection on unexpected chilly days. This jacket, in the faded army green color, will be a popular color choice this spring and serves as a great neutral top layer. Wear it with light blue jeans or white chinos and a tan loafer to make it pop.
2. Madewell Raincheck Packable Raincoat
THE JUST-IN-CASE JACKET
When you leave the house in the spring, the weather might look warm and sunny. By the afternoon, you’re walking home under a gray raincloud. Madewell’s packable coat is both fashionable and functional, providing total coverage from rain but then folding down into a fanny pack when not in use. This jacket has zip-close pockets to protect belongings, ventilation and an adjustable drawstring. What’s even better is that each jacket is made from approximately six recycled water bottles. If you’re reaching for one of these, opt for the orange for better visibility — and also because it just looks cool.
3. Levi’s Denim Trucker Jacket
THE WORST JACKET FOR MESSY EATERS
Ever popular, Levi’s denim jackets are a staple in countless men’s wardrobes because they look good and they’re easy to match with. The white denim jacket is a special treasure that gives a rich, clean edge to a spring or summer outfit. They look great with light blue or white denim and a simple graphic tee as a base layer; easy, effortless, successful. If you’re somebody who spills food or drinks, please be careful in this jacket and carry a Tide Stick in the inner pocket.
4. Billy Reid Cullen Jacket Double Dye Wash
BEST CLASSIC DENIM
We love denim jackets for so many reasons. They’re a casual coat that can be worn over your favorite t-shirts, button-ups and sweaters. Even better, they’re perfect for spring and fall, which means you can get a lot of use out of them. And if you invest in a quality brand, your favorite denim jacket can last for years without ever going out of style. Case in point: this amazing dark denim jacket from Billy Reid, one of our favorite menswear brands. This Cullen jacket from Billy Reid is designed from Japenese denim and dyed twice for a worn-in look that will gain character as it ages. It has a classic, no-frills design that will instantly upgrade any outfit.
5. Theory Roscoe Radic Suede Jacket
THE “WOW” JACKET
Wow. That’s all there is to say. Theory has done the men of the world a great service with the Roscoe Radic Suede Jacket. This piece is the epitome of “less is more” style and offers versatility, comfort and a top layer you know you can rely on to look good. The brown color family is making a huge push into spring, and the tamarind color Theory has chosen for this jacket will surely follow suit. Wear this both dressed up and casually. It looks just as good with trousers, a button-up shirt and a tie as it does with dark denim, a henley and a clean white sneaker. If you try this on and don’t like the way you look, get a different mirror, because you’re going to want to wear this leather jacket forever.
6. Patagonia Better Sweater® Zip Jacket
THE OL’ RELIABLE JACKET
If you’re already in the Pata-Gucci Gang, you know how great this lightweight jacket is. If not, you’ve probably seen these jackets walking through the Financial District, indoor climbing gyms, and just about everywhere else. Why? Easy — they’re comfortable, fit perfectly and even work well under a blazer in a cold office. If the Better Sweater Zip Jacket didn’t shove Patagonia into the limelight, it was their commitment to global welfare. Not only is this jacket Fair-Trade Certified sewn, but it’s also made using best practices with regard to the environment, sustainability and the economy. Use this lightweight men’s jacket as either a top layer or mid-layer on the way to work, the gym or anywhere else you’re looking to roam with comfort.
7. Barbour Powell Regular Fit Quilted Jacket
THE HERITAGE JACKET
Since 1894, Barbour has been one of the main players in outerwear, let alone men’s lightweight jackets. Although they’re best known for their waxed cotton, they’ve also made a name for themselves with their quilted jackets. A traditionally preppy style, this quilted jacket features a fleece lining that is both insulating and practical for cold spring mornings. The stand collar buttons to further protect the neck in the case of rain. Though this jacket is a generous fit, it allows you to layer underneath for added warmth. To stay true to Barbour’s British roots, wear this jacket with a pair of light grey wool trousers and a chocolate brown brogue shoe, maybe from Church’s.
8. Uniqlo Chore Coat
BEST CHORE COAT
Chore coats have quickly gone beyond trend to bona fide closet staple; their utilitarian yet stylish design makes them great options for stylish men who prize comfort. This jacket from affordable mainstay Uniqlo is made from a stretchy jersey material, making it a cozy option that you can layer over a t-shirt or with a sweater and warmer coat on top. There are three pockets on the outside of the jacket and a pocket on the inside, giving you ample storage room for your daily essentials.
9. Vince Hooded Anorak
Anoraks are the stylish closet addition you may not have considered. Their unique styling puts them somewhere between a hoodie and a jacket — they have a popover design with a hood, but they typically feature a quarter or half zip and will be made of jacket materials. This Vince anorak is made from nylon in an eye-catching orange color, and the zippered hood and quarter zip make it easy to adjust to keep you comfortable and dry.
10. Corridor Indigo Overshirt
Overshirts are not quite jackets, not quite shirts, making them the perfect layering piece for spring days and cool summer evenings. This jacket from J.Crew is great for warmer days that still require more than a t-shirt — it’s made from an open weave fabric that’s a blend of cotton and linen, so it’s truly breathable. The indigo color and large patch pockets give it a workwear-inspired look.
11. Portuguese Flannel Chore Jacket
This jacket from Portuguese Flannel features an olive color and is made from a sturdy cotton twill, leaning into the workwear influences of the chore jacket’s origins. There are three large patch-pocket buttons on the front of the jacket, adding a stylish and functional touch. The lapel has four corozo buttons, and the jacket is made in Portugal.
12. Alpha Industries ALS Liner
Liner jackets were introduced in the military as an insulating inner layer to be worn under another jacket, but they’ve been adopted as a stylish standalone streetwear jacket. Alpha Industries’ take on the style is backed by the brand’s cred as a maker of genuine military clothing for the US Army. The jacket has padded cells with an insulating fill to keep you warm, but it’s light enough for spring.
13. Gap Nylon Coach Jacket
BEST COACH JACKET
Coaches aren’t exactly known as paragons of great style, but that hasn’t stopped the coach jacket from becoming a casual, stylish staple. Typically made from lightweight synthetic materials, a coach jacket serves to block wind without being too warm. This simple jacket from Gap is made from a cotton/nylon blend, and it has snap buttons on the lapel, ribbed cuffs for warmth and two slant pockets on the front.
14. Abercrombie & Fitch Utility Shirt Jacket
BEST TRAVEL JACKET
Just like the teens that made them popular, Abercrombie & Fitch is all grown up. In recent years, the brand has toned down the raunchy advertising and shrunk the once enormous moose logos in favor of more classic, but still fashion-forward styles. Take this simple, stylish jacket that was made with travel in mind. It has a quilted lining to keep you warm but is still light enough for the warmer months. There are zippered pockets to help organize and secure your stuff when you’re on the move.
15. Stone Island Naslan Light Nylon Shirt Jacket
BEST STREETWEAR JACKET
This jacket from Stone Island is made from lightweight nylon, making it a great layering piece. The distinctive compass branding is featured on the shoulder of the jacket, and it can be removed if desired. The oversized patch pocket gives this jacket a futuristic, streetwear-ready look.