Style | Updated January 19, 2022 10:21 am

Shirt-Jacket Season Is Almost Upon Us Once Again — If It Ever Even Left

Shackets, CPOs, Jac-shirts ... by any name, they are the best

Shirt-Jacket Season Is Almost Upon Us Once Again — If It Ever Even Left

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We are firmly of the opinion that the shirt-jacket is among the most useful garments a man can have in his closet. Sure, they’re most associated with fall, but they work great as a middle layer on particularly cold winter days, too. And, hell, having spent so much of this particular winter at home thanks to the pandemic, we’ve been wearing one around the house pretty much constantly, as a comfortable, warming layer over a long-sleeve T-shirt.

But as we inch ever so slowly toward another shoulder season in spring, the shirt-jacket will once again become even more prominent — for a quick trip to the coffee shop or a stroll around the neighborhood, it’ll serve as a perfect option for those days when the temperature climbs into the 50s and 60s and you can forego your heavier winter coats.

We recently tested out a ton of shirt-jackets from a range of brands: everyone from Faherty to Everlane’s got a version. They’re all different enough that it doesn’t feel right to compare them against each other, but we were able to assign a superlative for each of our favorites. One’s easy on the environment, another wins on the coziness front, etc. Peruse and take your pick.


The Softest: Faherty Brand Legend Sweater Shirt

We’re not entirely sure how the softest shirt jacket we tested isn’t 100% cotton. Faherty, one of the best men’s brands in the game right now, actually employed a polyester-viscose-spandex blend that has four-way stretch (a method favored by most activewear brands these days). That means this shirt has a bit more backbone, won’t shrink, and allows for a heightened range of motion than you’d normally find in a flannel button-down. But somehow, this is also just an unconscionably soft shirt. You could wear it over an undershirt, but it feels like a blanket against bare skin.


Easiest on Mother Earth: Outerknown Blanket Shirt

From their Bernie-inspired mitten campaign to their 10-year plan for the planet, Outerknown has lead the sustainable brand charge for years, and even better, their products are actually good. The oft-lauded Blanket Shirt is a perfect example of what sustainable clothing practices can look like — and also a perfect example of an excellent shacket. Made from 100% organic cotton, the shirt’s construction uses no harmful chemicals as to be safer for farmers and the environment, and its buttons are sourced from the fallen seeds of the tagua palm, creating an industry that safeguards South American rainforests from deforestation. It’s sturdy, warm and conscious; everything we could ask for in a top.


The “Shirtiest”: Everlane Heavyweight Overshirt

Shirt jackets often invite debate over nomenclature. Is it too shirty to be called a jacket? Or vice versa? Everlane doesn’t really care. The SF-based masters of basics officially call this piece an “Overshirt,” but acknowledge it could function as an “over-jacket” or “over-sweater,” too. We enjoy wearing this shirt jacket with the buttons up, as it easily pulls off a more formal look, without sacrificing the comfort you’re accustomed to from the softer layering pieces in your closet. The material is an 8 oz. heavy cotton twill (which Everlane notes is twice as heavy as its Japanese Oxford cloth), and the two front pockets give it an extra dose of character. Thanks to Everlane’s accessible pricing, this is also one of the best deals you’ll find on this list.


Most Versatile: Flint and Tinder Quilted Waxed Shirt Jacket

Flint and Tinder makes sturdy cloths. There’s no question about it, and in case you needed proof, feast you eyes on the Quilted Waxed Shacket. With a British Millerain waxed canvas shell and recycled Primaloft insulation, the shirt can easily withstand adverse and snowy conditions, but diamond quilting and a soft-touch Japanese polyester lining, it functions just as well under a puffer or parka. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Mr. Porter

The Luxury Option: Drake’s Suede Shirt Jacket

A shirt jacket presents a unique opportunity — as a top layer, it’s a the perfect focal point for any ‘fit. If you’re graduated to the elite school of dressing, you’ll surely appreciate the subtle luxury of Drake’s Suede Shirt Jacket; the butter-soft, ulta-premium suede, the handmade finish, the western influence. Sure, it doesn’t come cheap, but we can guarantee you’ll be the best dressed guy in the room whenever you pull this bad boy out of the closest.


For Entire Days Outside: Tracksmith New England Overshirt

Be they days in the woods, on the trail, at a tailgate … the running gurus at Tracksmith created a top that can do it all. Crafted from blend of recycled wool, cotton and nylon, the New England Overshirt pays tribute to — and respects the harsh conditions of — bitter East Coast winters with a top that can handle it all, day in and day out. Billed a running layer, the overshirt is full of stretch and quick to dry, harnessing the natural warmth and wicking properties of wool. It certainly helps that, though performance driven, the layer looks the part of a standard, albeit handsome shacket, meaning you won’t get funky looks when you’re not hitting the pavement.

End. Clothing

Most Fashion Forward: Corridor Variegated Cord Overshirt

As with most things, Corridor is top of mind when it comes to stylish basics; since its inception in 2013, the NYC-based label has been consistent in its low-key offerings, ingenues designs, and supreme quality. The variegated cord overshirt is simple the newest iteration of this trend — cut from toffee-colored fabric, the jacket makes for the perfect dress-to-impress layer, and can go from preppy (worn over a fuzzy sweater or OCBD) to causal (over a white tee) in a moments notice.

L.L. Bean

The Coziest: L.L. Bean Corduroy 1912 Heritage Lined Shirt Jacket

It’s no surprise that the shacket decked out in corduroy and a Berber fleece lining won most cozy; after all, when it comes to the wamth-comfort combo, the two together just can’t be beat. This is what we like to call a “day in, day out” shirt; that is, we want to wear it, day in and day out. The traditional cut makes it even roomier, and the weight of the whole thing feels like a hug that you get to wear. How’s that for cozy?


The Most Weather-Resistant: Marine Layer Puffer Overshirt

Weather-resistant doesn’t just mean rainproof, as you can probably tell from Marine Layer’s Puffer Overshirt. Sure, the style is water-resistant and tear proof thanks to its ripstop nylon outer, but the protection doesn’t end there. Filled with a natural, RDS-approved down insulation, this overshirt is built to keep you warm and dry when you need it most. It packs down to a hand-sized ball for easily stowing, and the retro striping doesn’t hurt its case, either. That’s a lot of outdoorsy tech packed into a very casual silhouette.

Marine Layer

Best For Lounging: Marine Layer Corbet Quilted Overshirt

If it were socially acceptable to swath ourselves in a comforter and wear it outside the confines of our house we would, but alas, society has not progressed to that point yet. Instead we’ll settle for the next best thing with Marine Layer’s Quilted Overshirt, made from two thick, soft pieces of fabric that’s then filled and quilted for both a plush appearance and feel. With a lounge factor this high, you’re damn right that Marine Layer caps off our list with a two-fer; they’ve earn it, baby.