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8 Fall Jacket Styles Every Man Should Own

The fall season presents some challenges when it comes to the mercurial weather so a varied rotation of outerwear in a host of different fabrics will ensure your wardrobe has every style box ticked.

Words by: Ryan Thompson

Fall is probably the best season for outerwear because the notoriously unpredictable weather means you need a vastly bigger array of jackets at your disposal than in summer or winter.

With the weather changing faster than British Prime Ministers, you want a wardrobe full of outerwear with different properties, and preferably different fabrics – from weather-proof technical shells to sophisticated suede silhouettes.

Save the big guns for when the winter really sets in and instead opt for relatively lightweight options in fall, of which there are plenty…

Waxed Cotton Jacket

An absolute no-brainer for the northern hemisphere, the waxed cotton jacket is as timeless as menswear pieces get. Typically cut in the classic four-pocket, belted field jacket shape, these waterproof workhorses have migrated from the country to the city with aplomb, thanks to tasteful evolutions of the original by the likes of Belstaff and Barbour (but you’ll also find plenty of luxury outerwear brands creating modern silhouettes in waxed cotton).

What to go for

A boxy, four-pocket field silhouette is what you’ll find most waxed cotton jackets conforming to, but there’s also the belted motorcycle jacket that the likes of Belstaff have gotten so much mileage out of.

Belstaff and Barbour are household names in this category, and their jackets will last decades if looked after and re-waxed regularly, but if you spot a style you like by another brand, try and find out where the fabric is from – if it’s British Millerain or Halley Stevensons then you’re in safe hands.

How to wear it

Given that most waxed cotton jackets have quite an outdoorsy country feel, they pair well with a rugged workwear aesthetic. The unique texture is matte and can therefore look quite flat, so it’s a good idea to combine them with more tactile fabrics such as wool or corduroy.

Brown colourways will be better suited to off-duty weekend looks, whereas black versions can easily be worn over a suit jacket through the week.

Bomber jacket

The bomber jacket is as versatile as it gets. This cropped blouson of military provenance is both warm and stylish, and will complement just about everything in your wardrobe, from tailored trousers to contemporary sportswear.

The diversity of styles available means there’s something for everyone, from the classic MA-1 in green ripstop nylon to the soft wool varsity jackets of preppy Americana.

What to go for

The defining element of the bomber jacket is of course the cropped blouson silhouette. However, the ribbed collar, cuffs and hem is another key hallmark.

Zip-through styles are the norm but you can also find button-up versions, too. Given it’s fall, look for designs with a certain amount of padding, as well as natural linings, which are better for breathability than synthetic ones.

How to wear it

The bomber is supremely versatile and so how you wear it will largely be determined by the style you opt for. Technical nylon versions nicely complement contemporary streetwear looks, while cotton designs will be better suited to a smarter approach with selvedge denim jeans or midweight chinos.

Varsity jackets are another great option for those looking to create modern preppy outfits – team them with everything from jogging pants to jeans via tailored wool trousers.

The bomber jacket is a laid-back layer so don’t overthink it.

Lightweight down jacket

The lightweight down jacket is where functionality meets fashion. In recent seasons, every luxury house worthy of the moniker has produced technical puffas of all sorts of dimensions, creating a very fashion-forward attitude around the garment.

There are plenty of outdoor labels, such as Patagonia and Arc’teryx, which have made the down jacket a key part of their DNA, while sartorial designers such as Brunello Cucinelli have incorporated them into a very contemporary and relaxed form of tailoring.

What to go for

There are any number of down-jacket styles to choose from – full-length, voluminous, under layers, gilets and even tailored styles – so the world really is your insulated oyster.

Besides the style of jacket, one of the key considerations is the ‘down’. It all boils down to what is ethical and your own personal sustainability standards. The vast majority of natural down is now sourced as a by-product of the food industry. It is also biodegradable and renewable, producing a lower carbon footprint synthetic – you just need to ensure that it meets Responsible Down Standards.

Recycled plastic bottle filler is better than standard synthetic down, but it doesn’t solve the biodegradable problem. Some brands, such as Pangaia, have started using new down technologies like FLWRDWN, a biodegradable down-fill made from wildflowers and biopolymer.

In short, we think natural down is the most environmentally sound, provided it passes all the RDS tests.

How to wear it

Statement down jackets such as the styles created by the likes of Moncler wear themselves, but luxury streetwear with an all-black colour palette should get tongues wagging.

The more functional lightweight styles are perfect for layering as part of off-duty weekend fits – thrown over fine-gauge knits, jeans and boots – whereas down-filled vests can be incorporated into a relaxed tailored look, even layered beneath a jacket or blazer.

Aimé Leon Dore’s combination of preppy Americana and contemporary luxury sportswear also lends itself well to the addition of a down jacket.

Trench coat

While trench coats get their name from the means of battle in World War I, the use of weatherproof cotton began as early as 1823 thanks to one Charles Mackintosh.

Thirty years later, Mayfair gentlemen’s clothier John Emary patented a water-repellent fabric, later renaming his company ‘Aquascutum’ – from the Latin, aqua meaning ‘water’, and scutum meaning ‘shield’. Around the same time Thomas Burberry invented a waterproof gabardine.

All of these developments were considered very high tech at the time, and while weatherproof fabrics have moved on since, the style of the trench coat has remained perfectly timeless. While Burberry’s belted macs have been subtly redefined and reconfigured for a fashion-forward clientele, it is still faithful to those original designs, and makes for one of the more elegant takes on functional outerwear you can own.

What to go for

Of the two companies that commercialised the trench coat, Burberry is the only one that has stood the test of time. Yes, Aquascutum still exists, but you’ll need to go to China to find a store. Burberry’s signature Kensington trench comes in a variety of colours, as well as three different lengths.

You can find plenty of vintage styles at second-hand stores and on London’s Portobello Market, but most will have lost much of the waterproofing over time.

How to wear it

Being of military origin gives the trench coat a certain tailored quality, especially when belted – cinching the waist and broadening the shoulders to create a masculine silhouette.

For that very reason, it’s a fantastic option worn on top of a slick business suit, while the short- and mid-length versions are more versatile, easily paired with streetwear shapes.

Denim trucker jacket

If timelessness is a mark of great design, then the fact that Levi Strauss’s three types of denim trucker jacket have hardly changed in over 117 years tells you all you need to know. As a fall jacket, the denim jacket is superb, being cropped, lightweight and rugged enough to keep out a cold wind.

This iconic piece of Americana has today been appropriated by just about every menswear brand there is, each wanting to cash in on its rebellious reputation.

What to go for

Denim styles have changed, and are much improved, thanks to the selvedge movement of the 2000s, while painted and embellished styles have been the preserve of luxury fashion houses looking for unique ways to slap huge price tags on one of the most popular items in menswear history (and yes, they still sell them hand over fist).

Reinvention abounds, but the core of today’s truckers rarely deviates far from those fabled three Types brought to life by Levi Strauss. If you intend to wear your denim jacket throughout the season, then we’d recommend seeking out a shearling-lined style. On a practical level, the hit to your pocket will be a smart investment as you’ll be able to wear it right through the coldest days of winter. Not only that, the shearling collar will bring a welcome pop of contrast tone and texture to any outfit, too.

How to wear it

In short, with attitude. It’s a great contrast piece so think about wearing it with a crisp white tee and black wide-leg trousers or slim black jeans, or a pair of off-white distressed jeans and sneakers.

It also adds a rougher edge to preppy looks so you could layer it over a shirt, tie and cardigan, or conversely use it to inject some Americana into you streetwear looks by layering it over a hoodie.

Fleece jacket

There isn’t a more textural fall piece of outerwear than the fleece jacket, which has really come into favour in recent years. Tactile, warm and easy to style, it’s essentially a heavy-duty zip-through jumper masquerading as a jacket that you can wear with pretty much any style of trousers you want.

What to go for

Most fleece jackets these days are constructed from 100% polyester or a synthetic blend, while most expensive styles will feature some amount of wool – all of which makes them pretty durable and machine washable, too.

In terms of silhouette, keep it nice and loose, or even oversize – you really don’t want to be filling out a fleece jacket. Most styles will come with a funnel neck, given that these are cold-weather pieces.

Ensure it has side pockets – there’s nothing worse than a warm fleece that you can’t hide your mitts in.

How to wear it

For the most part, you want to keep the vibe super casual, wearing the fleece jacket with jeans and sneakers for an easy and comfortable look. Because it’s so tactile, it’s great to contrast it with other fabrics, such as raw denim jeans or cotton twill chinos.

We like our fleece in neutral tones such as grey, beige and tan since they are slightly easier to style than darker tones where you lose some of the texture.

Suede blouson

The suede jacket is perhaps alone in the pantheon of men’s outerwear for its unique combination of rugged masculinity and delicateness. While most other jackets are one or the other, suede seems to effortlessly bridge the two.

Contemporary leather jackets can look very sophisticated but lack the edginess of more traditional styles, while the unique tactility of suede lends it a rawness, no matter how refined the silhouette. Yes, it’s totally useless in the rain, so do your due diligence when it comes to the weather forecast.

What to go for

Not all suede is made equally so you need to be aware of what to look for. Above all, you want the fabrics with the smoothest naps, which will invariably come from younger animals. Cow suede and certain hides from deer will be more rugged and rougher than calfskin and lambskin – the latter of which is deemed the pinnacle of suede. Goatskin is often used as a cheaper alternative to lambskin and calfskin, too.

By far the most common silhouette for modern suede jackets could loosely be described as a ‘blouson’, although there is a good deal of deviation in styles within that broad genre. Many suede blousons have been fashioned with references to the early flight jackets of the 40s and 50s, cut cropped at the waist with a turn-down collar and two patch pockets, or side-entry pockets on more minimalist styles.

Elsewhere, you’ll find suede iterations of trucker jackets replete with shearling collars and chest pockets, classic bombers with a ribbed collar and hem, while the typical café racer jacket also gets a look in with its short stand collar.

Longer suede jackets haven’t stood the test of time too well, so stick to the cropped blouson style for a contemporary silhouette.

How to wear it

The type of suede, colour and style of blouson all make a huge difference to how your jacket will look and feel. Aviator shapes in traditional army hues such as khaki green and brown match well with similarly rugged, relaxed pieces such as dark denim, combat pants and boots for a wholly masculine feel.

At the other end of the spectrum, sleek, collared jackets or those similar in appearance to a Harrington can be dressed up with wool trousers, polo shirts, Oxford button-downs and other core smart-casual pieces for a more sophisticated approach.

Whichever way you choose to go, remember to bring in differing textures to create a nice visual contrast and depth to your outfit.

Leather café racer

Heroic masculinity and the leather jacket have been bed partners ever since the early 1900s. And even though many brands today are eschewing real leather for vegan alternatives, the various styles of jackets have never lost their collective timeless appeal.

One of our fall fashion favourites is the Café Racer, born from biker lore with a minimalist aesthetic. The Café Racer silhouette came about in the 60s and was an evolution of the early leather bikers. Popularised by brands such as Schott and Belstaff, it was a cropped blouson with a mandarin collar and padded elbows and shoulders, designed explicitly for going at ungodly and wholly illegal speeds on your motorbike.

Much less rock ‘n’ roll than the asymmetric, belted Perfecto style, it has a more refined look that works well when worn with elevated casualwear.

What to go for

More often than not, you’ll find that most leather jackets are constructed from either cowskin, calfskin or lambskin. Lambskin is perhaps the softest and cowskin the most durable, while calfskin presents a perfect medium.

Full-grain leather is going to be better than top grain, because the latter is often corrected. Full grain is unadulterated, hence why you can still see the natural skin pattern of the animal. Why is this good? Because this type of leather retains the natural pores and oils, making it more breathable, as well as soft, supple, and less prone to cracking.

As the name suggests, top grain comprises the top layer of skin, separated from the bottom layers, also known as the corium (which is what suede is made from). Top grain is a great option for lightweight jacket styles, so if you don’t intend to wear your leather through the winter, it’s perfect for fall (and spring).

How to wear it

Given that most Café Racer jackets come in black leather, we would heartily suggest that you use it in an all-black outfit for a chic and sophisticated look, or keep it fairly monotone with accents of white and grey.

A black T-shirt, crew-neck sweater or fine-gauge turtleneck combined with washed black jeans and Chelsea boots creates a svelte and masculine aesthetic. Otherwise, give a nod to is racing heritage by incorporating striped elements in your tee or knitwear.