Online Shopping Picks: Best Men’s Spring Jackets

Editor’s note: For a full host of seasonal shopping picks, click here.

Here’s a sneak peek for you at what’s coming this week on The Style Guide — shopping picks, and more shopping picks! With the long-awaited transition to spring currently ongoing all around (hopefully), there’s plenty of shopping to be done if you need to update your wardrobe. I know I’ve certainly been looking to cross some items off my spring style wish list. And while sometimes you can take a look at what you have in your wardrobe and easily assemble a sharp, #OOTD, sometimes you still need a little extra … something. In this case, that something is a great spring jacket, critical for navigating the sometimes quickly changing weather and temperatures of this time of year. After all, it’s not quite warm enough to go forth in a spring sweater  — which we’ll cover Wednesday — yet that winter coat is long gone. The below picks aim to get y’all outfitted at a variety of price points and styles, although versatility and maximum usability is critical in terms of outerwear. Keep in mind that we’re not getting crazy technical here, so if that’s your game … maybe give it a read anyways? And if you have any picks you think I missed, head on over to The Style Guide’s Facebook page and let me know.

#1. Abercrombie & Fitch Genuine Suede Bomber — $600

Abercrombie & Fitch -- not what you'd expected, right? A stunning new spring offering.

Abercrombie & Fitch — not what you’d expected, right? A stunning new spring offering.

If you’re not hip to the scene yet, Abercrombie & Fitch is back in a big way this spring thanks to the already-hyped efforts of former Club Monaco head of menswear Aaron Levine. Its knitwear looks to be in great shape (particularly this indigo popover), and solid, rugged pieces like the above Genuine Suede Jacket are doing lots to sway perception of the brand. $600 might certainly seem like a lot of cash to throw down if you haven’t shopped at A&F in years, but know that this stunning jacket was crafted in partnership with the outerwear experts at Golden Bear.  Worth a second look, huh?

#2. H&M Cotton Shirt Jacket — $34.99

The classic-yet-modern styling potential one expects from David Beckham's H&M partnership -- at a very low price.

The classic-yet-modern styling potential one expects from David Beckham’s H&M partnership — at a very low price.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits H&M with this dark blue Cotton Shirt Jacket from its Modern Essentials collection (well-done, Mr. Beckham). Granted, the quality of the brand can sometimes be suspect, but collections done in partnership with the soccer legend do get quite a few things right in terms of nailing continental, modern style. This shirt jacket is completely different in style than the above suede bomber, but it would function as a nice weekend layering piece over a long-sleeve tee, and you could even rock it on its own for a casual Friday.

#3. Bridge & Burn Hayden Linen Jacket — $188

Lightweight and highly wearable in several situations.

Lightweight and highly wearable in several situations.

There seems to be two ways one can go when selecting outerwear — either slightly less expensive and less versatile, or pricier and more versatile & durable. The Bridge & Burn Hayden Linen Jacket certainly echoes that last one — it’s a nice and lightweight cotton-linen blend in a neutral grey colorway, and it’s designed in the U.S. from a brand that knows how to craft sustainable apparel and outerwear. It should function perfectly over a lightweight cashmere sweater and a simple tee, and you could even sub this jacket in for your more typical khaki blazer.

#4. Todd Snyder Chelsea Varsity Bomber Jacket — $198

An offering that's equal parts city and sport-inspired from Todd Snyder.

An offering that’s equal parts city and sport-inspired from Todd Snyder.

No matter the season, Todd Snyder always seems to deliver some excellent style staples — be it his take on classic white P.F. Flyers sneakers or athletic-inspired outerwear, like the Chelsea Varsity Bomber Jacket from this season’s collaboration with Champion. It certainly has  a slightly edgy, noir-ish style compared to some of the other pieces on this list, but sometimes, sleek black outerwear isn’t a bad thing. The cotton body should be lightweight and comfortable for layering over a classic Oxford shirt, and the leather detailing at the shoulders adds a bit of visual interest. While this jacket is a tad pricey, it’s certainly not as expensive as some of the brand’s other Spring 2016 offerings.

#5. Grayers Reston Quilted Jacket — $165

A hybrid jacket that's ideal for the shifting temps of spring.

A hybrid jacket that’s ideal for the shifting temps of spring.

This jacket was first seen on this blog’s Spring Style Wish List, and the Reston Quilted Jacket is popping back up here for good reason — it’s a versatile piece that takes a mixed approach to seasonal outerwear. That is to say, it combines the silhouette and stand-up collar of a field coat with a quilted exterior, plus the color and relatively slim fit of a navy blazer. That means you can wear it like both a jacket and …well, a blazer. If you’re looking for ways to style it, look toward simple staples like slim stone chinos (say all that five times fast) or lightwash jeans — the color contrast definitely works.

When shopping around (er, I mean researching) for this post, a few brands kept popping up — and if you’re looking to continue your search, I’d say you might do well to supplement the above picks by swinging through Bonobos, who stocks a variety of seasonally appropriate outerwear and unique styles. If your budget is substantially higher, keep in mind that classic, Americana-focused retailers like Billy Reid are also crafting lovely outerwear options. Whether you’ve got money to burn or not so much cash on-hand, scoping out a jacket that’s versatile and appropriate for your lifestyle is going to be goal numero uno — so, pretty important. If there are any brands you think got lost in the shuffle, hit me up on Twitter! In the meantime, happy shopping.



Style Upgrade: The Slim Crewneck Sweater

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in an ongoing series covering quick and easy upgrades to dilemmas a guy might face once in a while. For more entries in the series, click here.

A close-up look at an upgrade worth making -- the slim crewneck. For more on this Pistol Lake piee, read on.

A close-up look at an upgrade worth making — the slim crewneck. For more on this Pistol Lake piee, read on.

Andddd…. we’re back! With the Style Upgrade series, that is. It’s been some time since an entry in this series ran (see past entries here), but the time is just right to talk at length about sweaters — something I’ve often said to myself daily this winter. While you can use a merino V-neck sweater as part of a high-low outfit combination — like this #OOTD entry — and you can wear the heck out of nice cashmere cardigan, certain styles are definitely trending in the marketplace and on the torsos of well-dressed guys everywhere. The crewneck sweater (or sweatshirt, in its more casual form) certainly isn’t what it once was — and that goes for its more casual iterations and its dressier counterparts. So with a return to form in mind, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe — or perhaps just pick up another sweater.

A piece from a designer perhaps most known for revitalizing crewnecks -- Todd Snyder.

A stellar piece from a designer perhaps most known for revitalizing crewnecks — Todd Snyder.

Most menswear fans probably recognize the crewneck sweatshirt from its sportier beginnings, and the ways in which designers have taken the same idea and slimmed it down. Like the Reigning Champ Crewneck Sweater that was featured as this site’s Style Pick of the Week, there’s a lot that’s been done to a silhouette more commonly associated with Rocky films for years. And as this site has talked about previously, that’s due to a few forward-thinking designers who’ve made the style at once refined and still sport-inspired. If you’re looking to start your search for a crewneck sweatshirt at the top of the (reasonably priced) pyramid, Todd Snyder has exactly what you’re looking for. The designer’s crewneck sweatshirts, while simple at first glance, exemplify the idea of using high-quality fabrics to retool an older style, what with vintage-inspired stitching and added details like that chest pocket. Todd Snyder’s collaboration with Champion  is the stuff of legend (at least for this menswear writer). The pieces are well-crafted, heritage-inspired and timeless — plus, you can wear the heck out of ’em with everything from a chambray shirt and denim to tailored sweats.

Two crewneck choices from JackThreads -- one a dressy cashmere, the other a quilted indigo piece.

Two crewneck choices from JackThreads — one a dressy cashmere, the other a quilted indigo piece.

So that’s certainly one place to start. But some brands are taking this style essential and doing just as great of a job at slimming down the fit and changing up the fabrics. Take JackThreads, for example. The brand’s new menswear vertical is doing everything from a quilted indigo crewneck sweatshirt to its aptly named Daily Sweatshirt, all for excellent prices. And something like the Daily Sweatshirt, which strikes both a sporty yet business-casual vibe, can be paired with pieces you already have in your closet (look to stylist and menswear blogger Preston Konrad for some styling tips in this regard). Lest one forget, JackThreads has also amped up its fabric game — the brand’s cashmere crewneck sweaters are the budget alternative to more expensive alternatives. So that gives you two ways to go in terms of rocking a crewneck. However, the more standout style move might be picking up a casual crewneck and giving it a business-casual spin.

Contrast stitching adds yet another solid detail to this Pistol Lake piece.

Contrast stitching adds yet another solid detail to this Pistol Lake piece.

And as with other style staples that come up time and again on this blog — take henleys, for example — brands that are inspired by sportswear itself have turned their attention to this vintage piece. Style Guide favorites Pistol Lake, out of California, are producing a contrast-stitching crewneck sweatshirt in a versatile navy that’s been a hot seller this winter (the Heather Grey option is seen at the top of the page). Fellow made-in-America brands like Taylor Stitch and Buck Mason are also producing solid crewneck sweatshirts that can stand up to a campfire or a casual day at the office (considering that both can be equally treacherous). Reliable menswear stalwarts like J. Crew are also offering up an even more roughed-up take on the crewneck sweatshirt, turning to garment-dying for a lived-in look. They’re also offering a super-refined cashmere crewneck on the opposite end of the style spectrum.

So there are certainly plenty of options out there to go more casual with your crewneck, or a bit more dressy. On the lux end of things, Shinola has expanded its product offering into crewneck sweaters, drawing on perhaps the most vintage inspiration of all — Muhammad Ali’s signature style — for its “Cassius Clay” Sweatshirt. If you find yourself with quite a bit of cash to spend, know that Mr. Porter stocks crewneck sweaters from the likes of Brunello Cucinnelli — and that’s all the proof you need that the silhouette is mainstream! With such a variety of price points, it can be a bit daunting to pick out just one — even if it is just a crewneck sweater. It’s a style that shouldn’t be overlooked, though. The styling potential is on-point (be it over a blue Oxford or a simple tee), and designers have updated the fits and colors in new and unexpected ways. Toss in solid options for every price point, and you’ve got a style upgrade worth making.

Have you upgraded your crewneck sweater (or sweatshirt) yet? What’s your favorite of the options listed here?
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Todd Snyder Spring/Summer 2016 Collection Preview

The designer's collection preview took place at Skylight Clarkson Square, an industrial setting that's the hub of this year's shows.

The designer’s collection preview took place at Skylight Clarkson Square, an industrial setting that’s the hub of this year’s shows.

As New York Fashion Week: Men’s progresses, it’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of colors and styles flying down the runways. What does it mean to the average shopper on the streets or your average PR guy behind his laptop? If you’re worried about being overwhelmed by a fashion runway, Todd Snyder is here to sooth those doubts with a stunning – and highly wearable – spring offering.  If you’re not familiar with Todd and are curious about dipping your toes in the ‘fashion’ waters, be sure to give his offerings a look — best-known for producing classic Americana sportswear pieces, he also does admirable tailored pieces and envy-inducing suede bomber jackets (more on those below).

Strong outerwear (as seen on the right) and lightweight, sportier pieces like the white knit, seen on the left, characterized the collection.

Strong outerwear (as seen on the right) and lightweight, sportier pieces like the white knit, seen on the left, characterized the collection.

I had the chance to attend Todd’s collection preview on Tuesday night with my friends over at Brothers & Craft. Menswear luminaries like Nick Wooster and A-listers like Dwayne Wade were also on-hand at Skylight Clarkson Square, the massive hub of this year’s shows (catch up with my tweets from the show here). Luckily for us consumers, the collection is on-point – and likely features a few items you’ll have to start saving for … right about now.

One of several lightweight knit pieces paired with drawstring pants.

One of several lightweight knit pieces paired with drawstring pants.

Color and texture was a huge part of the show, inspired by the Italian beaches of Bagni di Tiberio — a historical vacation hub for famous artists and creatives. The biggest takeaway from that tidbit is that the collection certainly feels ready for days spent by the sea.  Linen cardigans and band-collar shirts were layered with easygoing shorts and drawstring pants – nothing too imposing, a la the typical Thom Browne show.

One of the nicest pieces of outerwear in the show -- a sporty yet durable-looking take on the varsity jacket from the designer's Champion collaboration.

One of the nicest pieces of outerwear in the show — a sporty yet durable-looking take on the varsity jacket from the designer’s Champion collaboration.

Plenty of rugged heritage and workwear-leaning pieces, like faded tanktops and short-sleeve military shirts from the designer’s collaboration with Champion, were also trotted out – good news that it’s back again. Todd Snyder’s outerwear has historically been a strong point of his collections, and it’s an area that doesn’t disappoint here – he sent out classic belted trench coats, trim bombers in neutral colors like grey & navy and military field jackets, all items that definitely work for layering during the rainy days of spring and potentially back into the fall. Sweaters galore in rumped, lightweight linen and linen-cotton blends were also on display – those are pieces that can be layered over shorts and with spring & summer tees and polos particularly.

The designer's relatively affordable White Label line is set to feature classics like a medium-blue piped tuxedo.

The designer’s relatively affordable White Label line is set to feature classics like a medium-blue piped tuxedo.

And Todd’s tailored collection (the White Label line sold through Nordstrom) is back again for SS16, featuring classic piped tuxedo jackets in navy and black, and at least one white linen suit. While that’s a bold move unless you’re heading to an all-white party, the key here is that while still pricey, Todd’s suiting line sticks to classic basics done in a refined way – maybe save a bit (or a lot) here and there to pick one up as a splurge? Oh, and one last thing – if you find yourself looking for a pair of sandals to wear, the designer’s collaboration with Cole Haan is back again, featuring artisanal Italian leather sandals (maybe keep those to the beach unless you’ve got some serious  style cred, yeah?).

While some designers seem to get lost up in the art form of a show, others stick to sending out clothes that guys can – and will – actually wear. Todd Snyder’s SS16 collection definitely hit that mark admirably, and it does so in a way that’s extremely accessible to the general public, from lightweight layering pieces to easygoing pants, strong outerwear and crisp tailored wear.  Whether or not you find yourself drawn toward some sandals next spring is entirely in your court.

Any favorite looks from this collection? What pieces are you looking forward to breaking out or buying (if any) when spring rolls around, and what do you like from the designer right now?