Online Shopping Picks: The Best Spring Jackets to Buy This Season

Now that we’re flying through March and closing quickly on April, it’s high time to talk about the best spring jackets to buy this season — are ya with me? It’s always a relevant topic as all of us battle showers and blustery winds, plus the occasional spring road trip. So, what type of jacket to buy for those various pursuits? Well, the good news is there are plenty of excellent styles to pick up for all of us #menswear lovers — from a stylish denim jacket to an investment-worthy moto jacket, we’ve got ’em all covered. The key here is looking for a piece that exudes casual-but-crisp and versatile style — so, it’s kind of like shopping for a stylish, slim topcoat. After all, the best spring jackets can be layered up with everything from a marled henley to a slim Oxford, a knit tie and your favorite chinos. I’d wager you’re going to want to pick up more than a few of the below jackets — with that in mind, we’ve looked for a combination of affordability, quality and great looks. So, check out the latest Online Shopping Picks entry, fill up your shopping cart and join me on Twitter to keep the discussion going.

Greats

#1. Levi’s Trucker Jacket — $70

It’s tough to find a spring jacket more classic — and perhaps iconic — than this one.

We’re kicking off this men’s style roundup with a look at perhaps the most essential piece of outerwear in your closet this spring – the trusty denim jacket. Particularly when made by an iconic brand like Levi’s, the denim jacket combines casual cool with functionality. Layer it up over your favorite cotton plaid shirt with slim chinos in place of a blazer, use it as a casual jacket for weekend road trips, and give it a shot over a printed shirt and olive cargo pants. Don’t be afraid to try a lighter-to-medium wash like the one shown – team that bad boy with slim grey denim for rock-inspired style, too.

#2. Taylor Stitch Moto Jacket — $1,075

Taylor Stitch Moto Jacket

Quite possibly the best leather jacket on the market right now — hands-down.

Jacket No. 2 comes to us via the fine folks at Taylor Stitch … boy, it is something else. Now, before you send me a bewildered email calling out the investment-level price tag, bear with me. There might not be a better, more versatile or more durable leather jacket on the market. Based off a classic café racer design, you might recognize the same silhouette (the Taylor Stitch Whiskey Moto Jacket) from a past entry on this site – however, we’re sticking with the slick Black Moto Jacket for spring style that’s at once sharp and effective. The weight and construction mean you can wear it with everything from a crewneck tee to a short-sleeve chambray shirt and even an Oxford and knit tie. Pick up the Black Moto Jacket ASAP and let me know what you think.

NOV CAMPAIGN: Photo of black boots with logo (no border)

#3. Bridge and Burn Northfork Woodland Jacket — $198

A combination of utilitarian function, toughness and great looks.

While a stylish leather jacket or a rugged denim jacket are always effective #menswear moves, there’s something to be said for reaching for a spring jacket with functionality top of mind. That’s what you get with the Northfork Woodland Jacket in a classic shade of olive green. The lightweight cotton makes it ideal for layering on chilly spring nights, and the plethora of pockets — say that five times fast — gives you plenty of space for your everyday carry on spring weekend adventures. Match this guy up with suede Chelsea boots and perhaps a pair of the best light wash denim for spring the next time you head to your local watering hole – trust me.

#4. Abercrombie & Fitch Bonded Mac Jacket — $99

A versatile overcoat that’s at once functional and stylish.

As we’ve written about often here at The Style Guide, Abercrombie & Fitch consistently continues to up it men’s style game. From surprisingly hard-wearing outerwear like this Bonded Mac Jacket to vintage-inspired layering pieces like the Abercrombie & Fitch Wool Shirt, each piece is injected with DNA from the brand’s illustrious past – yet it all feels very modern. This waterproof jacket gives you both a tailored, slim silhouette – ideal for wearing over a navy suit on weekdays – and go-anywhere versatility (equally perfect for matching up with slim sweatpants and sharp leather sneakers on weekend coffee runs).

#5. Iron and Resin Academy Bomber — $149.98

Iron & Resin

A sturdy bomber jacket — just the style you need this season.

If there’s one silhouette that’s stuck around the menswear world with no signs of stopping, it’s the bomber jacket. And if there’s one brand this spring that’s taking a rather unique approach to the style staple, it’s Iron and Resin. Known for its road-ready moto gear, the brand is offering the crisply designed Academy Bomber in a versatile colorway just in time for spring – bingo. Rock this one with navy chinos and brown leather loafers atop a classic chambray shirt for a mix of high-low style, and match it up with a marled short-sleeve henley and rugged dark blue denim for a little bit o’ Saturday night cool.

Frank & Oak

Honorable Mention: K-Way Claude Laminated Solid Jacket — $59.98

Nothing too fancy — just a basic, functional and subtly stylish windbreaker.

For all this talk of the benefits of owning a stylish moto jacket or a versatile bomber jacket, there are just some times when you need to stay dry in the rain and get from point A to point B. That’s where the K-Way Claude Laminated Solid Jacket enters the equation. It plays off the brand’s original mission – outfitting Frenchmen in the rain – and it does so at a great price. The Claude Jacket is effective and head-turning in its own way – it’s perfect for tossing on for a bike ride or an outdoor hike, then packing into, say, a heritage-quality leather weekender on spring road trips.

Now, am I encouraging you to go out and buy each and every one of these jackets? Maybe. Budget permitting. But in all seriousness, finding the right spring jacket boils down to your lifestyle – if you suit up frequently and need to fight the rain, a bonded mac jacket is going to be the way to go. If casual, crisp style is your thing, snag the Iron and Resin Academy Bomber. If you move quickly from place to place and want something simple and stylish, pick up the K-Way Claude Laminated Solid Jacket. And if you want a piece of outerwear that really can do it all, I’d highly recommend grabbing the Levi’s Trucker Jacket or the Taylor Stitch Moto Jacket – especially the Moto Jacket. I guarantee you certainly won’t be disappointed once you get past the price. Let’s not forget the benefits of owning a stylish utility jacket such as the one shown from our friends at Bridge and Burn. With all that being said, I hope you’re as excited to dress for spring in style as I am – let’s get out there and get to it!

Thanks for reading and stay stylish,

-Beau

Style Suggestion: What to Wear for the Polar Vortex

So, if you’ve checked your calendar — or the weather forecast as of late — you might have realized we’re likely getting closer to what some might call the dreaded “polar vortex.” I’m no meteorologist, but we’ve been through some pretty chilly cycles already — and January is a prime month for huge snowstorms slamming the country. With that in mind, we’re tackling a functional men’s style suggestion — a past entry in this site’s #OOTD series covered how to dress for the first snowfall, but a polar vortex or blizzard is a different beast entirely. It’s different than casually layering up for winter or dressing for a weekend coffee date, that’s for sure. For one, it’s colder, windier and sometimes, just plain uncomfortable to navitage. That’s why the gear below is harder-wearing, tougher and not quite office-friendly if you need to suit up frequently. But, what guy can’t use a durable parka or rugged winter accessories? Exactly. So prep to take on winter right this very second with the latest Style Guide suggestion — and weigh in over on Facecbook if you’ve got other #menswear situations you’d like to see covered.

The Parka: Outerknown Nomadic Parka — $195

Unique, functional and modern in design -- just what you want from a parka.

Unique, functional and modern in design — just what you want from a parka.

Outerknown is a bit of, well, an outlier in its approach to blending technical specs with modern takes on classic silhouettes — yes, it’s a pretty advanced approach. Pieces like the Nomadic Parka embody that blend perfectly — the mobile, ergonomic design and cool, not overly bulky M-65 silhouette are big bonuses compared to typically puffy parkas. The Indigo color of the Nomadic Parka  is sharp, simple and versatile — plus, the jacket’s silhouette provides ample layering room.

The Shirt: Flint and Tinder Texas Moleskin Shirt — $68

A cozy base layer that's a bit dressier than a plain thermal shirt.

A cozy base layer that’s a bit dressier than a plain thermal shirt.

We’ll start with a warm, reliable and stylish base layer in the Flint and Tinder Texas Moleskin Shirt. Granted, it’s not a cozy thermal by any means, but we’re going for a mix of form and function here — so, moleskin it is. The fit on this shirt is modern and crisp, and it’s got the same quality construction one would expect from the makers of pieces like the Flannel-Lined Waxed Trucker Jacket and a heck of a pair of blue selvedge denim. This is a shirt that works for weekends or casual workdays alike.

The Sweatshirt: Flint and Tinder Reversible French Terry Sweatshirt — $68

A slim, crisp sweater that's really two for the price of one.

A slim, crisp sweater that’s really two for the price of one.

Told you we’d be layering up, right? Again, Flint and Tinder is the easy pick here for a standout blend of quality, style and affordability. The Reversible French Terry Sweatshirt is all of those things, and then some. In fact, you’re getting two sweatshirts for the price of one, really — one side is a classic sweatshirt design, and the other side is a textured loopback fabric for a look that’s a bit more casual. Either way, the crewneck collar and raglan sleeves frame your face and shoulders while layering nicely under the indigo parka. That’s a win-win … win.

The Denim: Abercrombie & Fitch Slim-Straight Winter Jeans — $39

Slim-straight denim with a brushed-back interior for comfort and warmth.

Slim-straight denim with a brushed-back interior for comfort and warmth.

Who said you had to throw on bulky snow pants to combat a blizzard? Certainly, if you’re stepping through feet of snow, you might want to reach for something a bit more weather-ready — but slim denim can work in a pinch. In fact, this pair of Abercrcombie & Fitch winter denim is quite unique — the interior of this pair of jeans is constructed of soft, brushed-back fabric for added comfort and a surprising amount of mobility (Santa brought me a pair for Christmas, as it were). Plus, the  slim-straight cut slides over your winter boots with ease.

The Boots: Woolrich Footwear Squatch Boots — $148.98

https://www.idevaffiliate.com/31555/idevaffiliate.php?id=607&url=12347

A tough Goodyear welt and moc toe, plus a lugged rubber outsole — as good as it gets.

OK, so this is perhaps the most crucial part when it comes to tackling a winter blizzard — right? These Woolrich Footwear Squatch Boots are the definition of toughness and durability, and they don’t look half-bad either. The Goodyear welt and comfort sock liner are big positives in terms of construction, and the durable moc toe and lugged rubber outsole are also critical when it comes to stepping through the snow.  Plus, to snag the Squatch Boots — which really can do just about anything in terms of winter adventures — for under $150 is a heck of a deal.

The Socks: Wigwam Merino Lite Hiker Socks — $12.98

Well-made, comfortable and warm winter socks.

Well-made, comfortable and warm winter socks.

Next up in keeping you warm and comfortable during a snowstorm? A great pair of socks, of course.  And the Merino Lite Hiker Socks are just what the doctor ordered — starting with the merino wool and nylon blend and carrying through to extra-helpful design touches like the no-stretch and no-itch capabilities. Plus, the navy colorway is clean and simple and you’re getting a nice price for American-made construction.
NOV CAMPAIGN: Photo of tan boots with logo (no border)
The Gloves and Hat: Hestra Granvik Gloves — $180 AND Columbiaknit Watch Cap — $17

Handsome, essential and warm winter accessories -- crucial, right?

Handsome, essential and warm winter accessories — crucial, right?

Just as crucial as a thick pair of socks? A great pair of tough winter gloves and a stylish and warm winter cap. So, that’s what the good folks at Huckberry are giving us today. Hestra’s gloves are premium, well-made and yes … quite pricey. But, their gloves are still made in their own factories, and in this case, the blend of vegetable-tanned elk leather and wool terry lining is just about everything you need in terms of form and function (that phrase keeps coming up ‘cuz it’s so darn important!). And there’s nothing overly fancy or expensive about the Columbiaknit Watch Cap — it’s the right color and quality to keep you warm this winter.

The Watch and Belt: Huckberry Lum-Tec Combat B33 GMT — $498.98 AND Arcade Belt Co. Guide Belt — $26.98

A handsome-as-heck watch and a tough belt -- the best you can do during a blizzard.

A handsome-as-heck watch and a tough belt — the best you can do during a blizzard.

If you think we forgot about tough, essential finishing touches for this cold weather-ready look, you’re mistaken. Because we’re dealing with cold, chilly and blustery weather, you need a watch that can take a beating. The Huckberry Lum-Tec Combat B33 GMT  is that very watch, featuring a hard-wearing but not overly large 43mm stainless steel case, gunmetal titanium coating and Super Luminova materials on the dial for maximum visibility. So yeah, it’s up to the challenge. And when you need to navigate slippery terrain in comfort, a stretch belt made with comfort-fit elastic is the one way to go — so the Arcade Belt Co. Guide Belt is a reliable, easy-to-wear and durable choice.

Are you ready for that blizzard yet? In looks if not mentally, I hope this piece is useful to you — and if you find you need to stock up quickly, you best start shopping away! When you build your ensemble around comfortable, easy-to-layer pieces like the Flint and Tinder Texas Moleskin Shirt  and top that base layer off with a reliable, easy-to-wear and American-made crewneck sweatshirt, you’re going to be primed for comfort and style. Plus, a sturdy winter parka  is as dependable a piece of winter outerwear as it gets — and durable moc toe boots are yet another item that’s going to get you through that polar vortex. Of course, you shouldn’t skimp on a versatile field watch like the Lum-Tec Combat B33 GMT — no matter the weather.

OK, ready for winter now? Maybe a bit more? Good luck out there, stay warm and look for a new #OOTD post tomorrow.

Stay stylish!

-Beau

Style Pick of the Week: Taylor Stitch Maritime Submariner Jacket

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

Right down to the smallest details -- Taylor Stitch gets it right, again.

Right down to the smallest details — Taylor Stitch gets it right, again.

Happy Saturday, folks — and if it’s Saturday, it’s that time. Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite recurring menswear series, the Style Pick of the Week. We’ve introduced you over the past few weeks to all kinds of winter style essentials, from a durable and unique American-made moleskin shirt  to a slim leather wallet to a great pair of rugged leather boots for winter. Now, what’s the one thing that’s going to tie together all those everyday pieces? A beautiful, durable and beastly coat like *cue fireworks* the Taylor Stitch Maritime Submariner Jacket. Bingo. Available in a quickly dwindling size run via the Taylor Stitch Web site, the great news is that you can get the uniquely tailored and rugged Maritime Submariner Jacket right now, this very instant, via Huckberry. It’s worth doing — trust me. Made from a positively tough and hefty 19oz. Italian boiled lambswool, this jacket is impeccably tailored and comes with the bells and whistles you need this winter. That starts with the maritime-inspired anchor buttons — no loose threads in sight — and carries through to the welted handwarmer pockets and hip patch flap pockets for handling your daily haul (maybe the Taylor Stitch Minimalist Collection, come to think of it?).  Oh, and the fit and style points? Nearly off the charts.

Welted handwarmer pockets and patch flap pockets translate to functionality, top-notch construction and great style.

Welted handwarmer pockets and patch flap pockets translate to functionality, top-notch construction and great style.

With a trim silhouette and sharp Ash Donegal Lamsbwool fabric, it’s the perfect classy-but-casual weekend — and weekday — jacket. It’s made for slipping over a classic Oxford shirt alongside garment-dyed chinos for your 9-to-5 grind, and it’s built to withstand a weekend’s worth of outdoor adventures atop inky blue selvedge denim and a trusty pair of (can you guess?) … your favorite brown leather boots.  And if you happen to be able to style it with something as essential as the Taylor Stitch Everyday Chambray Shirt, you’ll be set for nearly any situation — Sunday brunch, a weekend coffee date … you name it, this jacket works in cozy, durable and handsome winter style. It’s almost as coveted by this menswear blogger as the Taylor Stitch Rover Jacket — at this rate, you might end up with a whole closet full of Taylor Stitch gear. Not that that would be a bad thing at all, of course.

Get the Taylor Stitch Maritime Submariner Jacket via Huckberry while it lasts.
Beckett Simonon

The Friday Read: Holiday Shopping, Buck Mason and The Head and The Heart

Quick, check your calendars. We’re just about one week from Christmas! That’s pretty wild, all things considered. It means it’s more than time to wrap up — or get started — on your holiday shopping, and it means it’s time to plan out a holiday travel ensemble or two (right?). Click through our women’s holiday gift guide to take care of everyone from your mother to your grandma; don’t worry, we’ll remind you next week, too. And maybe pick up something from this site’s men’s style holiday gift guide — it’s gonna come in handy, trust me. I’ve got a decent jump on my own holiday shopping — and my holiday menswear wish list, for sure — but there’s definitely more work to be done. (just a bit… I guess). Before I take care of some of that shopping, I’m pretty excited to close out the week — I’m heading to the fine city of Baltimore tonight to see The Head and The Heart, the joyous indie folk rockers out of Seattle! Seeing great live shows this fall, from Bastille — as I wrote about in last Friday’s weekly recap — to Local Natives in Providence has been really special, and I’m definitely excited to hit the road again. It’s my first time in Baltimore and my first time seeing the band, makers of one of the most easily listenable, enjoyable albums of the year in “Signs of Light” — oh, and a slew of other fun, rambling and rambunctious tracks like “Shake” and “Lost in My Mind.” So it should certainly be a heck of a fun show, and a heck of a fun way to end the week. Any recommendations for neat things to do in Baltimore? Send me a tweet on Twitter and I’ll get right to it — promise!  As with my recent trip to upstate New York and my Thanksgiving visit to Florida, you can expect a full #menswear blog post on Monday — and you can check out exactly what I’m wearing via my Instagram in the meantime. If you haven’t, join us over at The Style Guide Facebook page — and for now, check out some of the best men’s style news o’ the week below.

  • First things first — it’s primetime layering season. And as our friends at Esquire so wisely demonstrate, you need a stylish overshirt in your closet; make it one from Style Guide favorites Buck Mason, and you’re plenty set for cold weather style.
  • Speaking of cold weather style — Esquire.com is coming back at ya with an overview of a seriously warm parka you also might want to pick up this week. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of his music per se, but Drake’s design project OVO certainly keeps things moving along nicely, particularly when it comes to the brand’s collaboration with Canada Goose. Yes, the OVO x Canada Goose collaboration offers up two pricey — but decidedly warm parkas and a set of  matching trucker caps for your purchasing pleasure at the Canada Goose Web site.
  • Still need some help sorting out your holiday shopping? Good thing the folks at Paul Fredrick are hooking you up with 20 percent off orders of $200 or more, plus free shipping on any order. Pick up a crisp white dress shirt — or a versatile denim shirt — for the style-minded guy in your life. Oh, and know that the deadline for standard shipping delivery in advance of Christmas is 11:59 p.m. EST today (Friday, folks). Happy shopping!
  • So, we’ve also got something that should be of interest to both fashion fans and fans of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” — in theaters today. Old Navy has made some classic graphic tees for the occasion, and they’ve got picks for both adults and kids. Show some of that Star Wars spirit this season, ehh?
  • One last thing before we hit the road for the weekend — the new MVMT Watches Modern Sport collection, if you haven’t seen, is packed with durable, handsome and functional timepieces like the Mariner Watch, as I covered for the fine folks at GearMoose. I’ll be bringing my own Calypso Watch from the Modern Sport collection with me to Baltimore this weekend, and I can’t recommend these eye-catching, sturdy and ultra-affordable watches enough.

Have menswear-related questions? Can’t figure out what to wear for the first snowfall? We’ve got you all set — happy shopping, happy reading and have a great weekend!

-Beau

Huckberry

Nautica

Style Pick of the Week: Public Rec Crosstown Bomber

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

Public Rec Crosstown Bomber

Potentially a new fall style favorite? That’s your call.

Live from Brooklyn, it’s yet another edition of the Style Pick of the Week series here at The Style Guide.  So far this fall season, we’ve covered off on a lot of essential fall pieces, from a durable waxed trucker jacket to a stylish crewneck sweater. While pieces like the aforementioned are fantastic a lot of the time, some situations call for something a bit comfortable but just as functional. From fall travel to a weekend coffee run, you’re going to want ease of movement, a slim fit and the type of look that’s put-together but not overly dressy. Enter the fantastic Public Rec Crosstown Bomber. Available via the Public Rec Web site or through Huckberry , the Crosstown Bomber is the casual fall jacket you didn’t know you needed. Released earlier this fall, it joins the Public Rec arsenal of essential, well-built and comfortable basics that are sure to become everyday staples. From the brand’s tailored-yet-laidback All Day Every Day Pant to the Go-To Tee — tested out by yours truly on a summer trip to Las Vegas — there’s no question that the Crosstown Bomber fills a tough-to-find niche of well-made basics that aren’t … too basic. Especially when it comes to filling out your Fall Style Wish List, those are the type of items you should search for — and then buy.

It’s easy to get the type of easily wearable style you need, too. Crucially, the Crosstown Bomber is available in reliably versatile shades of Black and Heather Charcoal. However, your author is partial to the pleasing shade of Heather Navy. Why’s that? Well, that particular shade of blue will go with absolutely everything — including black denim and grey denim. There’s plenty of upside to the Heather Navy version of this jacket — the blend of nylon and spandex is ridiculously comfortable and breathable, for one. And the sleek yet subtle silhouette of the Crosstown Bomber is another positive. With a zipper chest pocket featuring room for your phone and headphones to slide right in, it’s the ideal mix of stylish and functional. It could even become a new seasonal staple — layer it over a rugged henley with your favorite pair of faded denim on the weekends, and throw in some retro-inspired high-top sneakers while you’re at it.  Then, take that same jacket on through to the work week with a slim white Oxford, polished-yet-casual garment-dyed chinos and worn-in leather chukka boots. Oh, and off-the-wall style suggestion? Layer the Crosstown Bomber over a refined turtleneck for a bit of sleek, alpine-inspired style.  With a jacket this comfortable and easy to wear, it’s a safe bet refined turtleneck that you’ll want to wear it as much as you can, in any and every way possible.

Get the Crosstown Bomber now via Huckberry or Public Rec Apparel.

Style Pick of the Week: Shinola + Golden Bear Wool Bomber

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

The popular watch brand tapped the equally iconic team at Golden Bear for this bomber.

The popular watch brand tapped the equally iconic team at Golden Bear for this bomber.

If you swung through this very small piece of the blogosphere pie a few weeks back, you might recall the jacket you see here from the Best Men’s Fall Jackets feature — but we’re back again. And that’s simple — both in-person and even online, it’s pretty neat to see how Shinola is evolving its product selection, which now includes some sweatshirts. The American brand probably better known for its crisp, classic watches prides itself on its commitment to homegrown partnerships, so it was a smart move to tap the expert jacket makers at Golden Bear for this wool bomber. Beyond this viewpoint, it’s simply a great (and yes, expensive) piece of outerwear if you find yourself frequently trekking through the snow and slush. It plays off a classic masculine silhouette, the A-2 bomber, and features premium details like leather trim and a sturdy brass zipper. It’s these little details — plus the overall excellent look — that make it worth that price tag. On the less expensive end of things, you could always snap up another shearling bomber via JackThreads.

It's also available in Black, although the Grey color still works plenty well for fall & winter.

It’s also available in Black, although the Grey color still works plenty well for fall & winter.

But back to this Shinola number. On top of those other details, the authentic sheepskin shearling collar buttons at the throat too, in case it gets insanely cold. The Melton wool should also keep you extra warm. There’s no word yet on how these jackets fit, but from the looks of it, they’ll feature a modern, contemporary fit that still leaves room for layering. Keep in mind that once you get past all the bells and whistles, this jacket can be styled like even a more basic light grey peacoat would. It’ll add a terrific amount of texture to dark denim and some crisp leather sneakers, and you can certainly dress it up with some navy trousers, brown leather wingtip boots and a light blue dress shirt.  And with a long-sleeve henley and some corduroys, you’ll have the perfect high-low combination for weekend adventures. Given the investment-worthy nature of the price, you’ll certainly want to wear it as much as possible.

Are you a fan of this bomber jacket? Would you invest in this piece?

Florsheim

What to Wear Today: A Fall-Ready Leather Jacket

Editor’s note: For other What To Wear Today features, head here.

A sold-out style via Taylor Stitch that gets a lot of the details right when it comes to the perfect leather jacket.

A sold-out style via Taylor Stitch that gets a lot of the details right when it comes to the perfect leather jacket.

While we talked fairly recently on The Style Guide about how to transition your style into fall, there’s one key move that can really help you up your fall style game. In addition to looking for items that incorporate more texture into an outfit — like a thicker watch strap or some roughout leather boots — there’s one piece that adds instant style cred to any ensemble. I touched on the importance of a great fall jacket pretty recently, and when you reach for leather outerwear, it’s a gamechanger. There’s a whole host of styles within that leather jacket family that you can reach for, from shearling coats to more classic racer styles, but one thing’s for sure — a leather jacket is no ordinary piece of outerwear. If you do fancy a substantially deeper dive, head on over to my buddy Barron’s Web site Effortless Gent for a fantastic primer on what sets certain leather jackets apart from the rest; know that for now, it’s a piece that’s dressier than a denim jacket, cooler than a blazer and just as ready for tailored gear as casual wear.

A modern update to a classic style via J. Crew. That's exactly how your leather jacket should fit.

A modern update to a classic style via J. Crew. That’s exactly how your leather jacket should fit.

While some might associate leather jackets with poorly fitting versions of old, a great leather jacket nowadays is cut slim and trim, like your aforementioned favorite blazer. While the style shown at the top from Taylor Stitch has unfortunately been pre-funded and isn’t up for sale, it does a nice job of capturing what you want in your leather jacket. It doesn’t feature too many bells and whistles, unlike some styles. While black leather jackets favored by rock stars and the like can actually be pretty cool, it might not be the best pick to reach for if you want to wear a leather jacket in place of a blazer. No, the best leather jackets are slim, trim and clean-cut. The Wallace & Barnes MA-1 Jacket from J. Crew gets it right. It’s prohibitively expensive, to be sure, but it’s a classic silhouette that can be dressed up with some grey wool trousers or dressed down with dark denim and a henley. If you’re looking to closely replicate that style for far less, grab this number from H&M — but be warned, it’s probably not the highest quality. ASOS also stocks a plethora of leather jacket options, but some look pretty questionable as far as quality goes.

Ben Sherman US

Shearling is also having a moment right now when it comes to leather jackets — it’s another classic tough-guy style that’s gotten a modern update thanks to a slimmer silhouette (and a higher price tag). J. Crew again nails this style with this sherpa-collar number from Wallace & Barnes, yet the price of that one piece alone is enough to make most of us turn and run. And therein lies the difficulty if you decide to go the shearling route — there simply aren’t many cheap shearling options out there. It seems that wool-blend jackets with shearling accents represent a more affordable option (particularly this Golden Bear piece for Club Monaco), but that’s not really why we’re here, is it?

While not technically a leather jacket, this wool bomber from Frank & Oak gets the details right.

While not technically a leather jacket, this wool bomber from Frank & Oak gets the details right.

So be prepared to pay more if you throw on additional, pricier accents like shearling. Suede presents another take on the classic leather jacket — but like the J. Crew bomber as featured in my latest Effortless Gent piece, there aren’t exactly all that many cheap suede bomber options out there, either  (take, for example, this $1,800 Club Monaco jacket). And you know when James Bond steps out in a suede bomber, it’s a costly trend worth watching. Yet, the biggest key when searching for (and styling) a leather jacket still revolves around looking for a sustainable investment. For example, Frank & Oak, whose monthly Hunt Club crates are always a hit, produces what looks like to be a nice leather bomber  for about half of what J. Crew charges, although sizes are going very quickly. Some of its wool-and-leather varsity bombers (pictured above) made in partnership with Golden Bear also look to be a very solid bet.

And while a varsity bomber might not be the ideal leather jacket style, it can still be dressed up or down in the same way as a pricier leather piece. Contrasting pieces that add in cold-weather texture, like a knit tie or waffle henley, are going to stand up to the style just fine. The same goes for suede bombers, too.

Stick in the same color family when wearing an edgier moto jacket and you'll be just like Beckham. Well, maybe not just like him...

Stick in the same color family when wearing an edgier moto jacket and you’ll be just like Beckham. Well, maybe not just like him…

And if by some chance you do get your hands on a more classic leather jacket, any number of styling combinations are at your disposal. Try out a crisp moto jacket with  solid tee, a la Mr. Beckham, and consider yourself set for a night out on the town. Conversely, you can pair a classic Harrington-style leather jacket with a white Oxford and navy knit tie — that Club Monaco option is pricey, without a doubt, but you get the idea. Rocking a slightly edgier jacket in place of say, a more traditional fall coat is a style move that can really represent a big forward step — picking up a versatile piece of outerwear and being able to pair it with everything from casual to sharp combos is the mark of a good investment. If you shop right, you might end up looking like Mr. Beckham up there.

Do you own a leather jacket? How do you feel about this fall style move?