Julie Rath: The Best Part of Spring — Lightweight Jackets

Aside from the gorgeous weather, for me a sure sign of Spring is a sudden jonesing for the perfect lightweight men’s jacket. This time around, I’m expanding the search to jackets plural because there are so many fantastic options out there.

Here are a few that I’m especially fond of in varying styles.

This jacket is the smart result of another high-low partnership, this time between the middle-of-the-road UK department store John Lewis and Joe Casely-Hayford, British designer of luxury menswear brand, Casely-Hayford. I always love a leather jacket, and both the olive color and quilting nicely distinguish this lovely creation from all those black and brown leather bombers out there. ($604)


With the Brock Jacket, Elie Tahari takes the somewhat overplayed Member’s Only style and gives it a shot in the arm by combining it with classic trench coat details. The color, epaulets, pockets and tortoise buttons all say sophisticated mackintosh, but the abbreviated length modernizes the look. This jacket is an excellent choice for transitional outerwear. ($302)


I’m very into this Microcheck Jacket from Armani Jeans. It gives you that sporty style without looking like you’re wearing the hoodie from your tracksuit. Another nice thing about this type of men’s jacket is the modified shorter collar that’s meant to be worn up. It looks clean and sharp, and you don’t have to be the guy that goes out of his way to pop a collar that was intended to be worn flat. As one friend says, “popped collars = I need attention.” ($295)


Army jackets are big this Spring, so if you’re thinking you want to march to that beat, I’d recommend Diesel’s Jonca Jacket. It’s a stylish but not overdone take on the look. So even if and when this trend has passed, you’ll still be able to wear this handsome anorak without feeling like you’ve been-there-done-that. ($220)


I classify APC’s navy military style jacket as a shacket (shirt-jacket combo) because it has the formal styling of a shirt and is shaped straighter than jackets typically are. Beyond the freshness of this style, the epaulets, patch pockets and navy color all provide additional charm. And if you want it to be a little less shacket-y, you can tighten the adjustable drawstring at the waist for a more blouson look. ($280)


On a budget? You’re in luck. All-Son designed this surplus jacket exclusively for Urban Outfitters. It comes in grey (above) and olive green. It’s got that tough, been-around-forever feel that I find very appealing. ($68)


Not on a budget? Well you’ve got luckypants too. Check out this handsome leather vest from Salvatore Ferragamo. It’s got a hint of tough downtown edge, but the gorgeous brown leather keeps it all class, all the time. Yes, it’s pricey, but imagine how much more it would be if it had sleeves! ($1950)


There’s such a huge variety of styles to choose from when it comes to lightweight jackets, and that’s why my affinity for this wardrobe staple is so strong. No matter your taste, body type, face shape or coloring, there’s something out there for you. So go tear off that down monster and open up a can of Spring.


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