How many jackets should you own? Google, "jackets every man should own," and you'll get answers that range from 3 to 15. The real answer isn't one number. The real answer depends on you. It depends on where you live, and your lifestyle. Let's not get fixated on a number. Let's think about the jackets that the modern man needs. You don't need fifteen jackets. But we believe you need more than three. You need a jacket for the different situations that life throws at you.
Let's focus on those situations. And by the end of this article, we'll end up with a number, or rather, you'll end up with the number of jackets that you need.
That number depends a lot on the weather that you encounter. After all, a jacket is meant to protect you from the elements. But that doesn't mean it can't make you look good while doing its job.
And boy, does the first jacket we talk about have a job to do.
A Parka for those Cold Winter Days
Askov Finlayson Parka
When the temperature starts dropping and keeps dropping, you need a jacket to keep you from turning into a popsicle.
Winter does a number on the way we dress, but it doesn't mean we throw our hands up in defeat. You can stay warm without transforming into a gore-tex Stay Puft Marshmallow Man like George Costanza.
Protect yourself from the cold with a laid-back but stylish parka. A hood stuffed with down will certainly keep you warm when you need it. And we do recommend down over synthetic fibre stuffing. Down will keep you warmer, and it won't mix with your sweat to create any unpleasant odours.
And pay attention to fit. Your jacket is the outer shell. Remember to leave room in your arms and torso for a sweater or blazer underneath.
Finally, don't be afraid to spend a little more and purchase a quality parka. You won't regret it.
A Rain Jacket that Actually Protects You from the Rain
Suit Supply Raincoat
Like a trusty parka, you won't regret having a good jacket for those wet days. There's nothing worse than showing up looking like you took a dip in the swimming pool in your clothes.
A raincoat in a neutral hue and classic collar will give you a polished look while protecting you from the rainy weather. A full-length raincoat will provide greater protection for your pants, but keep in mind proportions and your frame. A full-length raincoat on a shorter frame could make you look smaller (at best), or cartoonish (at worst).
Another consideration you need to look at is choosing between a waterproof and water-resistant jacket.
A water-resistant jacket works fine as a windbreaker, but you don't want to get caught in a rainstorm in one of these.
Stay dry in a downpour with a waterproof rain jacket. Rain jackets made of polyester and nylon have some natural resistance to water. But they need help against heavy rain. A waterproof jacket is treated with a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating on the outside and an interior coating or membrane on the inside, keeping water out and you dry.
A Stylish Coat for Work, a Night Out, and Anything in Between
Suit Supply Peacoat
A parka and a rain jacket are necessities when you need to face the elements. And you do your best to find the jackets that fit and look best on you. But for the days when it's milder, and you don't need anything so blunt, you have the freedom to wear a more stylish jacket.
Reach for an overcoat or a peacoat for the days (and nights) when the weather cooperates, and you want to flex your fashionable side.
Don't get me wrong, an overcoat still protects you from the cold and wind. Especially if you choose one that's thick and made of warm material like wool. Pick out a classic colour in camel, black or dark grey, and you'll look great anywhere you go. Make sure the shoulders fit, and you can close the jacket without looking like a stuffed sausage, and you're set.
For a shorter coat that creates a cool and polished look, consider a peacoat. Originally worn by sailors to protect them from icy ocean air, the peacoat's broad lapels and double-breasted front is a less formal alternative to the full-length overcoat.
Made of heavy navy wool, the original peacoats fit looser to allow for a greater range of motion for the sailors who wore them. Some peacoats today fit the same way, but others are more fitted and made from finer material like cashmere or lambswool. You'll have the task of finding a peacoat that fits you the right way for your body.
Read more about how to use fit, proportion, and patterns to create classic styles and make sophisticated look easy in Pillars of Style.
The Cool Casual Jacket for Sunny Autumn Days
Suit Supply Bomber
For those days when an overcoat or a peacoat is too heavy-handed, a trenchcoat is a great lightweight alternative to wear to the office. While it's a staple for the modern gentleman, you'll want something more casual for your fall outings to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch.
With the leaves crunching underneath your boots, look damn cool in a shearling jacket to protect you from the crisp autumn winds. The sheep's wool will keep you cozy and warm for the coldest days. You'll see various exterior styles like brown suede, leather, plaid, or synthetic materials. No matter what, it creates a classic look that will never go out of style.
Another timeless jacket that's a close cousin to the shearling is the bomber. Short and durable, like the shearling, the bomber jacket originated with pilots. The bomber is a lighter version without the warming effects of the wool. Its casual and rugged appearance looks great in leather or nylon and works well in all casual settings.
Like the shearling, the bomber looks great when it's slim and snug. Although it's better to have a little bit of space for layering.
A Light and Stylish Jacket for Cool Spring Days
Fred Perry Harrington Jacket
You can get away with a light bomber jacket on cool spring and summer days. But if you've got the space in your closet, we have a timeless jacket that you'll love.
The trucker jacket style isn't for us. (But good on you for rocking it, if you do!). And we love a versatile and iconic denim jacket, especially in a dark wash. But no, these don't make our list of jackets every man should own.
For the cool spring days, we reach for a Harrington jacket (or blouson). Also known as baracuta jackets (they have many names), think of the Harrington as a less casual bomber.
The Harrington features fitted cuffs and an elastic waistband. It's more tailored than the bomber and features a classic collar. It's the ideal versatile spring jacket you can dress up or dress down. Wear it with chino pants and leave it open to reveal a patterned dress shirt underneath. Or wear it with shorts and a t-shirt for a cool casual style on the days when the sun says summer, but the breeze says not yet.
The Coles Notes for Jackets You Should Own
Keep warm in a parka.
Stay dry in a waterproof rain jacket.
Bring the heat and look cool in a bomber or shearling.
Make it timeless and versatile in the spring with a Harrington.
See? You don't need fifteen jackets. Four or five will be enough to create classic styles throughout the year.
Thanks for reading! For more ideas on creating timeless styles, check out Pillars of Style and other articles in our Journal.