Wearing a jacket well takes a little more effort than just throwing it on and heading out the door. If you want your jackets to look stylish, you need to make sure they fit and wear them with the right garments.
You also need to wear the right jacket for the weather conditions. You’ll look silly wearing a big parka when it’s 60 degrees outside and freeze if you try to wear a lightweight waxed cotton jacket in the snow. Follow these tips to look fashionable in your jackets, no matter the weather.
Make Sure It Fits
A casual jacket should fit much like a suit jacket. The collar, lapels, or jacket’s top should lie close to your neck. There shouldn’t be much of a gap between your jacket’s collar and your shirt’s collar. The shoulder seams should lie right at the tip of your shoulder when you have the jacket layered over whatever garments you’re going to wear under it. The hem of the jacket should hit just below your belt if it’s a cropped jacket and just below your butt if it’s a mid-length or regular-length jacket. A three-quarter-length jacket should come down to about mid-thigh, while a full-length jacket should come down below the knee. The sleeve of a cropped or mid-length jacket should hit right at the bottom of your palm, while the sleeve of a longer jacket might cover about an inch of the bottom of your palm. If you’re wearing a style of jacket that buttons up all the way to the neck, make sure you can comfortably fasten the top buttons.
Build Your Jacket Collection on Neutral Colors
If you’re shopping to build your collection of men’s jackets, you should build the foundation of your jacket wardrobe on neutrally colored jackets. Neutral colors are more versatile, so start with black, navy blue, olive green, tan, and brown jackets. You can branch out into more exciting colors and patterns as you build your collection and get more comfortable styling jackets.
Choose the Right Jacket for the Weather
It’s always important to choose the right jacket for the weather, not only for your comfort but also for your look. A denim jacket, a leather bomber jacket, or a waxed cotton motorcycle jacket will be suitable for brisk fall days or cool summer nights. Choose a windbreaker for windy, rainy days. Grab a parka or anorak with a fur-lined hood if it’s really cold.
Experiment with Layers
Jackets are great for layering, but the layers you choose to put on under your jacket can make or break your outfit. Layer your leather bomber jacket over a turtleneck with khakis and loafers with no socks. Wear your denim jacket with a polo or t-shirt and pants in a fabric other than denim, like khakis or chinos (if you do decide to rock the Canadian tuxedo, you’re better off at least choosing jeans in a contrasting shade of denim). Put on an unstructured sports jacket over a button-down shirt with chinos, khakis, or even jeans, and finish off the look with a pair of dress shoes or boots. Pair a field jacket with jeans, a cardigan, a t-shirt, and boots. A windbreaker can work nicely over a chunky sweater to help keep you warm. Wear a leather motorcycle jacket over a t-shirt, jeans, and motorcycle boots or combat boots. You’ll generally want to wear collared shirts with sports jackets, turtlenecks with jackets with short collars, and t-shirts with more casual jackets like motorcycle jackets, bomber jackets, and field jackets.
Dress It Up or Down
Many styles of men’s jackets can be dressed up or down for different occasions. The unstructured sports jacket is one example. You can wear it with slacks, chinos, khakis, or jeans. You can wear it over a t-shirt, a button-down, a tie, and dress shoes or boots. A waxed canvas jacket can look great layered over a sweater, button-down shirt, and khakis or chinos. A denim shearling jacket (or sherpa jacket) can look stylish when layered over a sweater and a pair of chinos. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and looks to figure out what you like best.
When styled properly, a men’s jacket can become the cornerstone of your outfit. Take the time to experiment with different outfits and styles, so you can look as stylish in your casual jackets as you do in a suit and tie.
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