Truckers, Trenches and Track Jackets: The Best Lightweight Outerwear for Men
Are you more of a chore coat cat or blazer bro? You're about to find out.
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The jacket never really goes away, does it? Sure, the temperate weather means packing up your puffers and down jackets in favor of a spring wardrobe, but a lightweight jacket (or two…or three, or four) that you can trust for breezy evenings and scorching dates remains a must-have. Yes, it would be nice to jump directly to tees and sandals or shorts and swolos, but the seasonal shift is wrought with unpredictable weather and sudden chills. Thus, a jacket you can trust is essential.
The good news here is that are all kinds of lightweight jackets — layers from brands like Todd Snyder, Everlane, Nike and more — that work just fine in higher temps, from easy-wear shackets and pullovers to the more elegant chore coat and Harrington styles. Below, we’ve put together a guide to all lightweight jacket styles you should absolutely know, and we’ve highlighted a few styles of each.
The Denim Jacket
Ask just about anyone what kind of coat they most associate with the phrase “lightweight,” and chances are you’ll hear “denim jacket.” Sturdy and full of character, a hearty denim jacket is as classic a jacket style as they come. True to its centuries-old heritage, the Levi’s Type 1 Trucker is particularly solid for the season ahead, with a vintage-inspired look and cinch back for an adjustable fit.
The lowly shirt-jacket may seem like a lightweight afterthought, but when the suns blessed rays break through on an otherwise cold day, you’ll be glad you have an easy-on layer to enjoy them in. Versatile, lightweight and industrious — that’s the shacket way.
The Leather Jacket
There’s never a bad time to bust out old faithful — that is, your go-to leather jacket. In the event you don’t have one, now is the time to invest. Sure, it’s a real investment, but the payoff is looking like a badass rockstar for the rest of your life.
The Track Jacket
So you want to look like a tennis star/mob boss/very Irish? Look no further than the classic track jacket. A stalwart layer for decades, the knit zip style provides just enough breathable warmth and comfort for cool days, along with an abundance of in-your-face style. Our recommendation? Go bold and snag the matching bottoms, too.
The Work Jacket
Rugged, rip-proof and reliable — the work jacket is an uncontested behemoth in the realm of lightweight jackets. Of course, there’s the revered Flint and Tinder Waxed Trucker Jacket (great for surviving the apocalypse), which we’ll never stop recommending, but there are tons of other styles from heritage brands like Dickies and Carhartt for you to get your blue-collar stolen valor on, too.
The Trench Coat
Trench coats and their ilk are decidedly dressier option than many of the styles on this list, making them ideal for the worker bee and corner office creature (or, that dude who likes to keep it sharp). The best feature a water-resistant coating — it’s the reason Percival’s suave Sherlock Jacket is one of our favorite looks of the season — that’ll protect your Sunday best from springtime conditions without looking like a total bum.
The Harrington Jacket
Even looked at an old photo of Steve McQueen or Paul Newman? There’s a strong chance it featured a Harrington jacket. Sporting flap pockets and retro high-button collar situation, it’s a devilishly unique way to signal that, yes, you might indeed own a boat. Or at least know how to sail one.
The Bomber Jacket
The bomber jacket might have uptight military origins (the style was originally commissioned for the U.S. Army by Dobbs Industries, and subsequently their offshoot, famed Alpha Industries), but in 2023, the style couldn’t be more casual. Denoted by a cropped, banded cut and utilitarian finish, it’s an easy-to-wear style that’ll pair nicely with your sickest kicks and crispy denim.
The Chore Coat
If we had to pick just one style for the now, it would almost undoubtedly be the chore coat. Well-pocketed, lightweight and crafted with multi-function in mind, the style works with nearly everything in your closet, regardless of whether your skew workwear or black tie. Look out for funky materials or an interesting pattern — with so many options to choose from, you should have no problem selecting one that perfectly suits your style.
The Coach’s Jacket
The coach’s jacket earned its name on the backs of athlete-adjacent folk, and the sportiness shines through in a causal, button cut that’d look right at home courtside or at the club. Due to its lightweight nature, you’ll want to opt for a tough base — nylon or a poly blend should do the trick — to get the most from the style.
The Lightweight Blazer
TDLR: Haven’t you heard? A blazer and jeans combo is cool again. Try to add some sort of edge to your sport coat for an especially well-dressed spring — windowpaining, an unusual material, perhaps even a pop of color.
The Rain Jacket
TDLR: Perhaps the most essential item on this list, the rain jacket should be kept close at hand, ready to slip on at the first sign of clouds. The style doesn’t need to be heavy like a proper winter jacket — in all but the wettest parts of the country, a technical shell will do just fine.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.
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