It’s August, which means we’re approaching the final stretch of summer. For the sartorially minded, this transitional period represents the ultimate headache. It’s colder, of course, and September showers are unfortunately a thing, yet it’s still balmy and not the right time to go digging out that heavy wool coat. Call it the Schrödinger’s cat of the menswear calendar.
Having a go-to light jacket in your wardrobe seems like an obvious, straightforward requirement, but the market is so saturated with options that buying the right one takes a bit of thought. What does your day-to-day demand? How far does your budget stretch? Do you need a lot of storage space? And what about waterproofing?
We’ve reached a point where light jackets are now often purpose-built for a specific use. If you’re an outdoor type, you might want to invest in something more modular and lightweight, while those in colder, rainier places would be advised to read up on goose down and wondrous technologies like GORE-TEX. Of course, there are plenty of indulgent, high-end options out there, too — not every purchase has to be made responsibly.
From Stone Island to Patagonia, with everything else in between, here we’ve rounded up the best light jackets for men on the market right now.
When It Rains, It Drips: Waterproof Light Jackets
As Earth-bound mortals, we’re subject to meteorological unpredictability. Our ’fit decisions are, ultimately, at the whim of the weather. That’s why a light jacket built specifically for inclement conditions is a must.
One such option is a classic waterproof jacket from Scandinavian label RAINS. The simple, wallet-friendly piece is guaranteed to keep you dry without overcomplicating your outfit with gratuitous graphics or egregious logos. The khaki colorway is a safe choice that will work with most other neutral color combinations.
For something a little more rigorous, there’s the KK Dv Light Anorak from The North Face’s Black Series, a sub-line that merges street style aesthetics with maximum functionality. The KK Dv Light deviates from the clean lines usually proffered by The North Face and features a detachable pack at the chest, a high neck hoodie, adjustable cuff and hem, and the brand’s logo on the sleeve.
Stone Island is also ready for bad weather with the garment-dyed shell jacket. Coated in waterproof acrylic resin for a smooth matte finish and complemented with snap-fastening chest pockets, the piece is instantly recognizable thanks to that signature Stoney detachable compass logo patch on the arm.
Sustainable US label Patagonia’s Torrentshell Waterproof H2No Performance Standard Ripstop Hooded Jacket includes a compact hood and visor that can be stored inside the collar when not in use.
Light Jackets for Harsh Conditions
Just because there’s a freak dip in temperature doesn’t mean you need to be beleaguered by a heavy-duty trench coat. Light jackets can keep you warm, too, thanks to innovative fabric technologies that keep heat locked in without adding bulk.
Patagonia’s Nano Puff Jacket (seen above in icy gray) traps body warmth and retains heat even if it gets wet. The jacket is made from 75 percent recycled materials and, because it’s Patagonia, you can trust that every possible measure was taken to ensure minimal impact on the environment during its creation.
Similarly, The North Face offers the ThermoBall insulated jacket, which can be squashed down to fit in a bag and offers warmth comparable to a 600-fill power goose down.
Craig Green, favorite of menswear enthusiasts around the world and most famous for his candy-colored architectural shapes, has made a relatively low-key quilted jacket out of technical polyester. It features a beautiful dropped shoulder, spread collar, and thin waistband.
If you’re looking to really invest, Prada has released the quilted jacket above. It weighs a mere 100 grams and is made from 90 percent goose down, with a subtle, tonal rubberized logo on the back below the collar.
Light Jackets for the Great Outdoors
If you want to leave your sedentary, screen-facing existence behind and switch it for an outdoor lifestyle you can put on an Instagram story captioned, “Who needs a gym when you have this!?” there are plenty of light jackets out there to aid your mission.
If one brand promotes itself through the idea that you’re better than you actually are, it’s Nike. The Swoosh’s ongoing collaboration with UNDERCOVER founder Jun Takahashi, NikeLab Gyakusou, elevates running gear with bold cuts, covetable colorways, and subtle design tweaks. The wind- and water-resistant Transform jacket, seen above, has an outer shell that can be removed entirely, revealing a sleek long-sleeved Dri-FIT T-shirt underneath.
To really pack a punch, you could opt for the Columbia x Opening Ceremony Grand Cache II Anorak, a knockout piece from the ongoing collaboration between the heritage label and retailer. Available in iridescent purple with a leopard print-lined hood, the anorak fuses ’80s-style design with sturdy reliability. The modular garm can also be packed into an integrated fanny pack or cross-body bag, too.
Elsewhere, adidas has tapped Japanese brand White Mountaineering for the Terrex Stockhorn jacket, an ergonomic piece with a high funnel neck, fleece lining, and raglan sleeves that will move around with the wearer, making it a perfect choice for rigorous activity.
Light Jackets for a Heavy Flex
These options won’t be your go-to once temperatures really drop, but they’re a strong flex in fall. Check out some of these high-end options that have taken the light jacket to a whole new realm of design.
Prada’s padded logo-plaque nylon coat (not dissimilar to the one Frank Ocean wore to the Met Gala) is exactly what the Italian brand does best, making nylon look better and more expensive than it should. The obsidian piece is finished with a metallic Prada logo on the chest.
Swedish label Our Legacy has arguably spearheaded the recent trend for more delicate and transparent materials. Its gray organza Wind Whisper Bomber features a zip on the sleeve and a ribbed cuff. Just bear in mind that what you’re wearing underneath will also be on show.
Acne Studios has dropped a super-smart and sleek anorak with a bonded logo on the front, high stand collar, pouch pocket, and elasticated cuffs. The silhouette here would work well with utilitarian cargo pants and a pair of black sneakers.
A midseason layer that merges interesting design with luxurious fabrics and practicality is the holy grail for many designers. One such design (above) comes from Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, made with lavish pleats, dolman sleeves, and wide notched lapels for a cozy and relaxed shape. Simply a light jacket that’s opulent on every level.
Finally, Japanese label NEIGHBORHOOD has come through with an oversized patchwork cotton jacket inspired by the traditional Japanese hanten, a type of coat commonly worn in the 18th century. The NEIGHBORHOOD version here has been updated with various tonal green cotton squares and a small logo on the left sleeve.
For more tips on how to style a jacket, watch below.