The 14 best men’s light jackets for spring and fall, experts say

When looking for a transitional jacket, you’ll want something substantial but not cumbersome, stylish yet versatile, and up to the challenge of battling errant wind or wet


The changing seasons present their own unique challenges, especially when it comes to dressing. Days can be hot by midmorning and chilly by late afternoon, and everything else in between. Consider a lightweight jacket your best defence.

When looking for a transitional jacket, you’ll want something substantial but not cumbersome, stylish yet versatile, and up to the challenge of battling errant wind or wet. Here are 14 options as selected by our network of fashion experts, stylish fellas who’ve considered the nuance of appropriate outerwear to handle whatever wacky weather lies ahead. — Bloomberg

The Nondreary Raincoat

Recommended by Jack Sachs, owner of Brooklyn boutique Drama Club

There’s a current trend of designers applying 90s-caliber whimsy to the more granola, outdoorsy jacket styles made famous by the likes of Patagonia and Columbia. Says Sachs: “JW Anderson’s newest line interprets the staple raincoat with bold colours and a youthful outlook on what to do with April showers: Run right in to them.” US$1,250 (RM5,125);

The Simple Trench

Recommended by Justin Fenner, senior associate editor at Gear Patrol.

The “bargain of the season” is how Fenner characterises this stylish trench from J Crew. “I love how effortlessly the rubberised cotton repels water, and I also love that it comes with a liner you can zip in on chillier days,” he says. “This is a value buy in the purest sense. Anyone who thinks otherwise is invited to fight me.” US$598;

The Lightweight Bomber

Recommended by Kevin Carney, owner of Mohawk General Store.

“I’m really into spring jacket silhouettes that are made in shirt-weight cotton,” Carney says of this bomber from Jil Sander. “The zipper wrapping around the collar is a detail I have never seen before, and it makes the wearer look like an expert shopper.” US$1,150;

The Quintessential Denim Jacket

Recommended by Steve Dool, freelance writer and author of a forthcoming book about men’s footwear.

“Some people may try to tell you that there are spring jackets that are superior to a simple denim jacket, but those people, I’m afraid, are wrong,” says Dool. “A classic, in the truest sense of the word, well-cut, unfussy version can stay in your wardrobe forever. I’m partial to this one from AMI, but you can’t go wrong with the basic style from Levi’s, either.” US$268;

The Suede Upgrade

Recommended by Garrett Munce, freelance grooming and fashion editor.

Although Munce wears a denim jacket underneath bigger coats all winter, he says it’s usually a bit too chilly for him to wear it by itself, even up until May. “I know suede isn’t the most practical choice for spring,” he says, “but with the same silhouette (as a denim jacket), it’s the perfect weight to wear by itself.” Opt for black, which makes everything a little more elevated. US$995;

The Packable Windbreaker

Recommended by Gauthier Borsarello, menswear artistic director and vintage collector.

Says Borsarello of this throwback shell, which is inspired by vintage automobile racing jackets: “Superlight, unlined, easy to pack, waterproof and well-made in an Italian nylon…it’s the perfect jacket to travel with!” €195 (RM902);

The Reversible Fashion Statement

Recommended by Christopher Legaspi, menswear editor at Vanity Fair.

As Legaspi packs away his puffers and long wool coats for the season, it’s the easy versatility of a bomber-style jacket that he reaches for next — especially when it has a reversible print, like this Dries Van Noten, which features solid black on one side and a runway-tested marble pattern on the other. “It’s a statement piece on one side,” says Legaspi, “and the other is perfect to pair with a hoodie and take on the subway”. US$1,329;

The Leather Jacket

Recommended by Sidney Prawatyotin, head of Siduations, a popular fashion Instagram account.

As far as basic clothing staples go, a leather jacket is a workhorse you can keep for a lifetime, which means it pays to invest correctly. Of this biker-style one from Loewe, says Prawatyotin, “the Nappa leather shields you from chilly or wet spring nights, and it’s light enough for warm afternoons. It’s a bit oversized, which is great for layering over a sweater or jean jacket”. US$3,950;

The (Way) Above-Average Vest (main picture)

Recommended by Jim Gaddy, deputy editor at Bloomberg Pursuits.

“Listen, a vest is amazingly utilitarian — it can be worn on its own when there’s a nip in the air or under a sport coat or proper coat when it’s actually cold out,” Gaddy says. But if you’re going to opt into the Midtown Uniform (aka “finance bro vest”), consider the luxury upgrade. Quilted, insulated and with a two-way zip for extra versatility, Brunello’s suede gilet adds subtle colour and texture and not-so-subtle swag to a closet that’s otherwise black, white and navy. US$3,595;

The Nylon Pullover

Recommended by Michael Baquerizo, freelance stylist and head of marketing for M5 Showroom and M5 Shop.

Depending where you live, the window for a lighter, transitional jacket as the seasons change can be quite small, so a layering strategy is a smart move. For cooler evenings, Baquerizo likes this coated nylon pullover from Adsum. “I’m debating between the green or the bright blue, but either way the idea is to get a pop colour in that will still pair well with the rest of my wardrobe. I’m into the idea of an athletic-inspired jacket in a more modern cut that I can pair with a light pair of trousers, mixing dressy with the athletic.” US$165;

The Office-Appropriate Workwear

Recommended by Isaiah Freeman-Schub, former fashion editor now creative director at Framebridge.

“This cotton jacket by Lucas Ossendrijver for Lanvin hits all the workwear notes and integrates classic suiting fabric,” says Freeman-Schub of the tonal combination of black herringbone and navy-and-black pinstriped patches. Also, there are pockets galore, if for some reason utility is the primary motivation behind purchasing a Lanvin chore coat. US$1,845;

The Brown Suede Trucker

Recommended by Justin Berkowitz, men’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s.

Call it an occupational hazard, but Berkowitz admits to being on the eternal search for better versions of things he knows he loves, like this brown suede trucker jacket from Polo Ralph Lauren, “an elegant update” to one that’s already sitting in his closet. (A trucker jacket is the name for the style of a classic cropped denim jacket, say, from Levi’s — just not necessarily in denim.) “I would wear this jacket with a camel cashmere sweater, pleated navy pants and a pair of loafers.” US$750;

The Utilitarian Layer

Recommended by Frank Muytjens, former head of men’s design at J Crew, now posh innkeeper.

“I’ve always gravitated toward classic pieces with a heritage, pieces that tell a story and come from humble utilitarian beginnings,” Muytjens says of this Todd Snyder chore jacket. “The name says it all, stripped down to its essence — no frills, just three functional patch pockets, the way it always has been,” he says. “What makes it modern again are the proportions and the material. The linen will age beautifully throughout the years, like a pair of jeans.” US$348;

The Colour Pop

Recommended by Jesse Hudnutt, retail buying and merchandising consultant.

Although Hudnutt readily admits he’s a “sucker for a pop of red”, this leather jacket from Très Bien’s in-house collection would work for anyone looking to escape the doldrums of a black leather coat (and winter). “This red leather would look great layered over a hoodie, or more dressed up on top of a tucked-in shirt,” says Hudnutt. “Plus, it will be fun to see how the red leather ages over time.” US$975;