A Guide to Outerwear

Men’s Jackets for Any Occasion 

 

Are the holidays here already? Is time slipping? Do you need to make sure your closet is up to par for any event you may go to? The answer to all is yes. The most important part of a proper winter wardrobe is outerwear as it acts as the centerpiece of the outfit. You have to make sure that your jacket is the most stylish piece of the outfit as it may be too cold to even take it off. With so many men’s outerwear options, how do you decide which one to get? The trick to choosing the right jacket for winter is to know your style, fabric preference and location. Of course if you live in places like Hawaii or Florida, you’re not going to get much use out of a coat. Let’s get away from the misconception that they are just for protection. Outerwear is the finishing touch to a look that can transform your men’s winter outfit into something entirely new and take your look to the next level. We’re all just looking for that perfect winter jacket to make our wardrobe complete. To help you out, I’m going to break down different styles of outerwear, where they came from, and how to style them.

 

 

Denim Jacket

I thought we’d start somewhere familiar. Denim jackets were first introduced as a practical article by Levis in the late 1800s for manual laborers and cowboys. It quickly transformed into a sign of rebellion and youth culture, with icons like James Dean and Elvis Presley paving the way for trendsetters like Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake. It has acquired controversial fashion don’ts, such as wearing denim on denim (also called the canadian tuxedo) or donning it on more formal occasions. Recently, the adaptability of the men’s denim jacket has been proven by elevation with turtlenecks and slacks or chinos, and the resurgence of double-denim in menswear. If you’re going to attempt the latter, I recommend contrasting darker washes on top with lighter bottoms and vice versa. You can choose dark denim, light wash, faded, distressed, black, colored – the possibilities are truly endless. Most men's denim jackets are lightweight and great for warmer climates, although sherpa-lined and collared styles are necessary for the cold.

 

 

Bomber Jackets

Bombers are a personal favorite of mine because they have the most diversity. They are defined by their blade collar and elastic ribbed cuffs and waistband. Adapted from military wear and mainly used by pilots in the 1920s, the men’s bomber jacket styles were built for functionality. They were originally lined with shearling to endure the airborne cold, with cuffs to restrict airflow and shorter hems for increased mobility. From Marlon Brando to Ryan Gosling, we now equate these jackets with the essence of smart casual fashion. Not too heavy or too thin, they can be layered to appeal to any outfit style. You mostly find them in casual settings, often paired with a tee or sweater of some kind. The latest relaxed take is wearing them over hoodies and athleisure wear. On the other hand, they can be dressed up with a button-down, chinos, and a pair of casual dress shoes to wear on a night out. These men’s winter jackets can be found in any fabric, fit, and color so you can easily incorporate them into your current wardrobe. Suffice to say, every man should own a bomber (or two).

 

 

 

Leather

A more niche variety, men’s leather jackets are the epitome of edge. In origin, leather and bomber jackets went hand in hand as most bombers created in the military were made with leather fabric due to its durability. Styles like moto (sometimes referred as racer) and biker leather jackets emerged, pushing the definition of the menswear jacket beyond fabric alone. As a result of its target consumers, they became an indication of the wearer’s toughness, perceived or in actuality. Of course, you can’t think of leather without thinking of the movie Grease, where it was established as an act of rebellion. It was later adopted by punks, goths, and metalheads, solidifying the reputation. As for fabrics, geniune leather is imperitive for a higher end jacket. Buy suede for added style. If you’re most conscious, you may want to opt for pleather for your outfit. Black is the default, but experiment with other colors like gray or tan that bring uniqueness to your look. Also like the bomber, they can be worn with black chinos and a button-down for date night. Jeans and a tee are always part of the M.O.

 

 

Puffer

If you’re on the East Coast and you don’t own a puffer, what are you doing? Do you not want to be comfortable? A puffer winter jacket is crucial for the cold! The definition is right in the name – fabric is sewn into sections to make it appear as if it’s full of air. Men’s puffer jackets are filled with down, duck or geese feathers, that guarantee warmth and insulation. You’ll never be more cozy outdoors. This style, however, has never really been considered trendy. Popularized by North Face for winter athletes like skiers or snowboarders, they have been put into a performance-only box. Only recently, with the domination of athleisure have they risen in popularity, even beyond weather conditions - making them an ideal choice for your New Year outfit. You’ll see people in Los Angeles wearing an enormous puffer in 70 degree weather. They’re now on runways and in couture stores everywhere. Since the silhouette is already eye-catching, you might as well play with bold colors and fun patterns. You can also pair them with statement boots and a hat so the attention isn’t solely on your midsection.

 

 

Shacket

This jacket is ideal for warmer climates. Why should you miss out on a key aspect of men’s outerwear fashion just because it’s only semi-cold a couple months out of the year? After all, men’s outerwear isn’t just about practicality, it’s fashion and everyone gets a piece. Part shirt, part jacket, this versatile piece allows you to add an extra layer without worrying about overheating. It was established by workers and manual laborers that needed a way to stay protected while accommodating unpredictable weather conditions. Fabric options for men’s shackets range from lighter chambrays to cozier flannels and corduroy. Each fabric completely transforms the outfit into something new, although they are almost exclusive to casual settings. They usually have a wider silhouette, lending itself to the oversized look. Since it’s such a simple piece, focus on details like types of buttons and adjustments like rolling the sleeves and leaving the jacket open, closed, or somewhere in between. The best part? You can wear a shacket any time of the year.

 

Author
Mauve Michele
Stately stylist, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles, CA

 

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