: 4 classics that will ably transition a gent between seasons with effortless ease, comfort & peerless functionality in mind :
Be that as it may, it essentially acts as a reflective sartorial beacon (of sorts) that bestows an immediate mark of characteristic distinction upon its wearer whilst proving that when it comes to properly dressing for the weather (and for any social/transitional eventuality for that matter) that it is in fact what is on the outside that truly counts.
And with the breezy days of summer all but a faint (distant) memory, the crisp autumnal days of fall in full bloom, and the doldrums of the frigid winter season soon to be upon us, it may be high time to reassess and reinvest in what now accounts as being your transitional outerwear rotation by way of co-opting any one of the following wardrobing stalwarts — all being eminent bastions of fashion permanence — as your new go-to outerwear selection for seasons to come.
Because each one of these four outerwear legends will bring to your wardrobe a peculiar (distinctive) characteristic flavour alongside that of a (variable) level of considered polish courtesy of what are some of the most renowned and profoundly timeless silhouettes in existence.
Replete with their own uniquely merited history (which is typically military-inspired or explicitly sanctioned) and marked by a specialized, peerless form of practical (albeit highly stylized) functionality, these are (eminently) versatile garments that any style-conscious gent worth his weight in fashionable gold should consider investing in.
With that in mind, and with the harsh reality in hand that the wrong jacket can (and will) ruin an otherwise great look in one fell swoop, you can rest assuredly in knowing that these transition ready pieces are built to withstand just about anything thrown at them whilst being fit to either dress up or down your entire wardrobe in a multitude of manners with grace and relative ease.
From lightweight nylon (pilot) bombers and gabardine (weatherproof cotton) trench coats through luxuriously crafted waxed field and leather motorcycle jackets, each respective garment stands astutely as being a sound perennial (heirloom quality) wardrobe investment for any gent who holds heritage style and peerless functionality in balanced equity.
These are, after all, classics in every sense of the word; outerwear that will keep you looking properly polished (whether formally or leisurely), cozy, and ready for just about anything the day sees fit in throwing in your direction no matter the time of year or what sort of seasonally capricious (sometimes cool + crisp/sometimes sweltering) weather is awaiting you.
Hitherto, it is entirely reasonable to believe that these considered selections will not only see you through this season and well into next spring but also into every other season to follow thereafter as well.
And so with that, and the notion that a proper jacket is one of the most significant sartorial investments a gent can make in his lifetime, my advice would be to (finally?) put your money where your mouth is (so to speak) in due course of doubling down on your outerwear and splurging on something that will withstand the tests of time (both structurally and fashionably speaking).
Because looking good all year (and life) long does take a little effort as well as a proper strategy (and outerwear) to carry it all out.
So, and without any further delay, here’s what to look for (details, construction, aesthetics), invest in, and how to wear the best transitional outerwear at your creative (and sartorial) disposal in what are fresh yet considered ways today, tomorrow, and well into the foreseeable future…
An unquestionably well merited (outerwear) cornerstone of many a mans complete (casual and formal) wardrobe, trench coats are the ultimate utility players: they work on every body type and can maneuver and operate within the confines of nearly every profession, being fit for active (sartorial) duty whether fashioned within the metropolitan city or rustic countryside, on casual date night or to the professional office, in summer or autumn, and from day to night.
Characteristically speaking, it is your golden ticket to smart, considered styling and a timeless garment that can transition from formal affairs to leisurely pursuits with ease — able and ready to take you anywhere you please whilst being capable to serve any cultural eventuality.
Need to cover up your business wear on a brisk morning commute? No problem. Fancy smartening up your casual attire (possibly a turtleneck and white jeans) with a considered finishing touch? Ditto. Want a jacket that can be worn everyday without breaking down and that has been relied upon and sartorially approved by the likes of Mr. Humphrey Bogart (and others such as Eddie Redmayne)? Well then it is high time you invested in a luxuriously fabricated trench that will last you until your end of days.
Essentially a highly technical and stylized piece of wearable art, you can lean upon it to keep you looking properly stylish at all times AND reliably high and dry (or warm yet breezy) when Mother Nature finally decides to throw her full (four season) bounty at you.
Unlined and as light as a feather in cotton or substantial and robustly insulated to answer to the trials and tribulations of both autumn and winter in a comfortable wool, the precise attributes of the trench that you ultimately settle upon should be determined by how, when, and where (geographically, culturally, and professionally) you intend on wearing it.
Typically double-breasted (single-breasted=mackintosh) and with a mid-thigh length stretching hem (which should not to be confused with the cropped appearance of its like-minded cousin, the peacoat), the trench is ideal for days when the weather is unpredictable (fluctuating at will) and a man requires a lightweight, smart-leaning jacket that is just substantial enough (i.e. not an overcoat) to insulate him from any incoming elemental conditions whilst remaining unburdening and comfortable to wear (and layer upon/on and off) all the same whether he is tasked with work or play and faced with rain, sleet, snow or the sun — it will keep you warm even when wet and well protected (and cool) even in sweltering conditions (should you still desire wearing it that is).
And the king of the trench (without question)? Well that would be none other then Burberry, whose iconic trenches have come to epitomize the style in its finest form. As not only the inventors of the trench (respectfully at the behest of the British War office during WWI) and its original gabardine (cotton) fabrication (by Thomas Burberry in 1859) but also the pioneers of its characteristic detailing and adaptable styling,the Burberry trench is the epitome of functional luxury outerwear.
Fabricated of a weatherproof cotton gabardine and styled in a tasteful manner that bespeaks of its truly transcendent and tangible versatility, the trench (and I’m speaking of all brands at this juncture) bridges the gap between formal and leisurewear worlds admirably as a classic fit for all seasons and occasions; something that can be worn both properly belted over tailoring or in an open and relaxed manner over denim and T-shirts — all of which has positioned it as a gilded piece of outerwear royalty that will remain eternally in vogue.
Colour and styling (pattern) aside, the trench is (much alike every other jacket in this feature) marked by its distinctive features, which include (amongst others): military shoulder epaulets; a belted waist; a gun flap and back yoke; a fully buttoned (spymaster) collar and placket that reaches the bottoms of one’s ears; an overlapping, double-breasted front closure; and an elegantly supple yet hardwearing textural finish that is worldly renowned for its duplicitous styling utility.
From its military past through its venerable British heritage and through the bygone golden age of cinematic formality and romanticism (a certain Mr. Bogart comes to mind as does a steady slate of dapper spies and journalists) right into the modern (casual-leaning) age, the trench is a mainstay of fashionable permeance that has endured (and will continue as such) for well over a century courtesy of its (irrefutable) wardrobe staple status, its sophisticated polish, and its perennial, year-round styling capabilities.
As such, and without any equivocation, it is a jack-of-all-trades outerwear maven that is as sound, opulent, dignified, versatile, and simply impressive a wardrobing investment that a gent can make — save for that of a navy suit and blazer.
And to that I will simply sign off with one of the most iconic lines in cinematic history (which was delivered by a trench wearing Mr. Humphrey Bogart in the black-and-white classic Casablanca):
“…Here’s looking at you, kid.”
(of which I am, naturally, referring to the trench in just such a context)
Purposefully designed (and structured) to accommodate for additional layering with storage space aplenty (pockets upon pockets) and fashioned with a hardwearing (from leather through waxed cotton) finish that can stand up to any and all natural elements, it is the most substantial (and statement making) of the four jackets at your perusal today.
Ruggedly utilitarian, durable beyond reason, and characteristically defined by its versatile functionality (attributes that have since come to speak of its well established legacy), the field jacket is traditionally fashioned with four front button-flapped (envelope) pockets and cut in a classic (loosely fitted) silhouette with a full length front zip closure, detachable inside liner, snap button storm flap, adjustable hook + loop closure cuffs and a (very welcome I must add) drawstring/belted waist that allows for a more customizable (i.e. slimming) fit.
A steady contingent of practical details to be sure that effortlessly blend together militaristic functionality with that of a finely-tuned technical form and a stylishly timeless design that can be continuously relied upon to keep you not only sheltered but also properly put-together no matter the eventuality at hand — which makes it a sensible selection to say the least.
As for where to begin your search, why not endeavour to mixing things up by opting for a handsomely finished hand-waxed cognac leather belted field jacket (like Belstaff’s venerable Panther styled below) for a fresh (albeit retro) take that sidesteps the traditional olive, sage and black cotton numbers that have become synonymously tied to the style itself (and that most men turn to).
Alternatively, a quilted down field jacket (in navy or olive) is also a sound selection that will bring to your wardrobe an equestrian-inspired vibe that works particularly well throughout autumn and in the countryside. But, should you should be of the peculiar ilk who demands nothing short of a faithful reproduction of the original (which first appeared in1938) then going the traditional route with an iconic military-issue hooded (and intentionally oversized) M-65 waxed cotton canvas field jacket from Alpha Industries (the jacket of the U.S. Armed Forces since 1965) in classic khaki (or perhaps olive) is the only way to go.
Structurally ensconced in a fine genuine leather that provides that authentically rough, worn-in feel that only gets better with age and specially treated with a water-repellent (and stormproof) finish, it is a considerably stylish take on the traditional field jacket template that ups the ante (and its four-season styling versatility) with a removable (and insulating) inner lining and a handsomely sophisticated hue (cognac) that enables it capable of being worn in both a formal and casual manner — it is effectively an investment worthy, year-round workhorse staple that you will want to return to time-and-again.
Naturally boxy so as to allow for subsequent layering (but not too loosely fitted; which is often the issue with most technical wears), its belted waist is of particular note seeing as it allows a gent to properly streamline the look and tailor the fit as he so desires whilst its luxe genuine leather construction acts to further buoy its enduring permanence due to the fact that it will properly (but slowly) mould to ones natural physique over extended usage all the while retaining heat, expelling rain, and protecting him from all manner of cuts and scrapes (as well as rips in the fabric). En masse, those definitive characteristic attributes, when teamed with the full contingent of the overarching styles traditionally detailed components — a four (front) pocket design with a (funnel neck) stand-up collar alongside dual underarm air vents (that allow for proper ventilation/no overheating), etc — coalesce into a piece that stands astutely as the outerwear epitome of luxuriously sportive (transitional) styling.
Throw it over a chunky cable-knit turtleneck and some chinos (as I’ve illustrated above) when the season really positions itself for the worse, atop a ribbed henley and biker jeans for an easy-going road trip getaway fashioned upon a motorcycle, or with suede (camel) chelsea boots, dark rinse jeans, and a crisp oxford for a weekend spent about town running errands. Likewise, you can also utilize it as a more insulating and rugged stand-in for your seasonal tweed or flannel blazer (or layered with either as well) seeing as it will aid in the bridging process of transitioning your daily business and formal wears to a more casual look in a matter of seconds whether you commute to work or just fancy playing with your style for the sake of variation.
Conclusively, the field jacket (also known as a mechanics or adventurers jacket) is a rugged everyday essential that is capable of not merely withstanding the elements but also of adapting to any cultural eventuality from bucolic weekend getaways and brisk autumnal morning commutes (unexpectedly worn atop one’s formalwear) through leisurely strolls through the city park with the dog and grabbing an evening drink with a friend at the local watering hole with ease.
On one final note, and as a testament to its sheer adaptability, you could certainly say that it (traditionally) errs more unto the casual (unstructured) styling domain but in the contemporary age that means very little as it has been co-opted by many a man to cover up both his on-and-off-duty formal and business wear (in the urban jungle) just as readily as it always has been relied upon to top off his supple, finely-gauged knits and corduroy trousers in a more natural setting come the dawning of the day when the harshest realities of the (late) autumnal season ultimately settle in.
A technically competent and versatile high-low statement piece indeed.
Having said that, the (leather) motorcycle jacket has managed to continually captivate the souls and adventurous spirits of sportswear (and heritage Americana) enthusiasts for what is going on a near century of crowning achievement due to its simply stylish yet endearing masculine form, its “ bad boy/rebel without a cause” connotations, and its nearly indestructible, hardy construction.
As such, and with a steady (unchanging) slate of practical features that have been tried-and-tested to an extensive degree and a well documented history of being religiously worn by the likes of Messrs James Dean, Marlon Brando and David Beckham ad infinitum in hand, its position in the gilded pantheon of timeless menswear staples has been unquestionably (and forevermore) solidified; its status as a reassuring go-to, transitional (and casual) essential set in stone.
It is a position that owes much to not only the enduring draw of the previously mentioned style icons but also the steady turnstile of classic cinematic features (such as The Wild One) that have continually romanticized and painted it in an eternally glorified manner.
Nevertheless, the moto jacket has dutifully earned its moniker as a classic staple along the way erstwhile managing to transcend every and all of its bygone culturally transcribed styling parameters and the once (seemingly typecast) restrictive lifestyle associations that were innately tied to them — those that at one point or another came to culturally define it during the different periods of its lengthy lifespan.
Ergo, it has nonetheless now completely broken free of all of its once (sub)culturally induced connotative restrictions in becoming a style that has become acceptably (and fruitfully) worn world round by every sort of gent, from rockstars and actors through bankers and blue-collar workers alike.
Adaptive personal styling proclivities notwithstanding, and in alluding to the finer points of contention, you should always endeavour to finding one that fits like a glove (there is nothing worse then an ill-fitting leather jacket; they are not intended to accommodate for extensive visual layering) and then treat it like a best friend by means of taking the proper steps to ensure you maintain it so that it lasts for many years to come.
Why? Because no degree or level of fine craftsmanship can account for poor maintenance or neglect — it is vital to prolonging its lifespan and keeping its visual appearance looking crisp and wily.
Beyond that, I’d advise opting for a hardwearing (and waterproofed) leather in lieu of a supply texturized suede (which is also an investment worthy piece in itself) and too sticking to black (or varying hues of brown) to ensure optimal styling versatility and a timeless look/silhouette that will never look dated.
That said, not all leather jackets are created equally with variables such as fit, styling, the quality of genuine leather used in construction, and even the sourcing of its vital and functional components (zippers, buttons, fastenings, belts, etc) all coming into play. Colour and form, on the other hand, are quite easy to sort out (think cropped, belted and bet on black if you are unsure), but if you are looking to truly invest in a proper leather motorcycle jacket it would best youprioritize age-old heritage brands such as Schott (whose iconic Perfecto is styled into the ensemble above).
Liberated from its original domain (the race track + open road) over the years and repurposed many times over by different fashion tribes, it still features all the original hallmarks that elevated it above the competitive fray, those that have since come to define the signature biker jacket form itself: a reinforced zippered front and sleeves with a generous amount of pockets strewn about (both inside and out); sturdy padded shoulders (for added protection should a moto enthusiast fall/crash his bike); and a cropped (so as to sit directly atop one’s trousers) and belted waist/hem (aids in heat retention as well as fit) that collectively deliver a devil-may-care aura marked by a clean and streamlined rakish silhouette.
Wholly judged, the Perfecto (and the motorcycle jacket in its structural entirety) is a highly stylized masterstroke of fashionable engineering that has an innately masculine and enduring appeal to it that speaks to both the escapist in us all and all the adventurously rogue gents amongst us who are inspired by its iconic heritage and its associative renegade connotations — those in which are (seemingly) innately bred into its every thread and seem.
All matters sartorial and cultural aside, it has continually adapted and repurposed (in association, not form) itself from being a motorsport, ‘50s greaser, and ‘70s/‘80s rockstar staple into something that has become — in the modern age — a quintessential urban essential for any stylish-conscious gent who wants to channel his masculinity in a timeless manner that is both ruggedly refined and historically considered.
And, should you need further reason to invest in one remember that it comes James Dean approved as well…
Enduring permanence in hand, and era-specific fashionable trendiness aside, it is now considered (by many) as an ageless outerwear staple that likely every modern gent is well aware of (and accustomed to wearing) in some form or another — from tactile leather flight jackets and satin embroidered souvenir numbers through hardy cotton or breezy nylon Harrington’s.
Debatably the most identifiable, dominate and abundantly omnipresent of the four jackets found in this feature — fashionably ruling the roost both on the runway and upon the streets for the past few seasons — it (and its many incarnations) is no longer simply at the casual forefront of trendy seasonal fashions but the contemporary definition thereof.
A true testament to the merits of stylized technical minimalism at its (casual) finest, bombers are universally approachable jackets that are a cinch to style and wear — something that looks good on any man in almost any setting. When shopping for yours, I’d advise going the traditional route by adopting a classic Baracuta G9 Harrington (much like the McQueen’s, Sinatra’s and countless Ivy Leaguers have done before you) as your lightweight second skin in a tonally subdued and streamlined colour such as camel, tan/khaki, sage, or navy — all of which can be styled with just about anything you see fit, from patterned wears through like-minded solids.
Alternatively, you could also play with any manner of (eye-catching) plaids or checks as well as tactile textures (suede or cashmere come to immediate mind as do shearling collars for autumn) to your hearts content should you be on the hunt for something a touch more avant garde and trendy in its eye-catching appearance.
Renowned for being THE original Harrington jacket, many gentlemanly style icons (the likes of Messrs McQueen and Dean) have relied upon its “throw on and go” (nonchalant) styling merits and its enduring legacy since its debut in 1937 to outfit themselves in a purely leisurely manner.
Featuring all the hallmarks of a proper bomber, the G9 is typically cut slim (to fit) and fashioned with all of the styles definitive characteristics: ribbed (knit) collar, cuffs and hems (which effectively keep the cold at bay); double-button collar fastening; a dual buttoned placket; and two (slant/horizontal or bellow) flap front pockets. Utility sleeve pockets are optional but do add to the storage capabilities if you desire veering into the flight jacket domain.
Speaking of which, another sound choice would be an MA-1 flight jacket (which is fashioned with said zippered sleeve pockets). Having dutifully served as the standard issue jacket of the U.S. Airforce (keeping pilots warm in the cockpit) since its creation in 1931, get yours in either a breezy cotton or a waxed leather (which will age like a fine wine) with a G9 like-minded trim silhouette that evokes the modern sensibility of tastefully considered casual tailoring.
Either or, any bomber you choose can function as the (casual-skewing) chameleon of your transitional wardrobe, able to carry you through the thick of summer into early autumn with relative ease (consider one with added padding or lining should you desire to wear it well into late fall).
Styling wise, and if truth be told, the bomber is quite forgiving and adaptable in its accommodation of both smart and leisurely pieces and looks proper whether dressed-up atop an OCBD, cardigan, knit tie and formal (wool) trousers (a leather flight jacket works best in such an instance) or paired traditionally down with a simple white tee or a plaid shirt (or lightweight crewneck knit) chinos and desert boots (as demonstrated above).
As such, and whether it be a MA-1 flight jacket, a classic Harrington, or even a souvenir style bomber that catches your peculiar fancy, you certainly have a considerable latitude of choice at your creative disposal to say the least.
All in all, this builds up to the simple reality that the bomber is here to stay and is an easy to style and wear (without the need for any extra effort) jacket with a simple, pared-down styling and a functional adaptiveness that has become impeachable in its transitional styling merits — it has rightfully earned its venerable status (in its many incarnations/variations) as a reliable, everyday go-to outerwear option for gents world round without question.
Styling nuances (and proclivities) aside, these 4 jackets collectively personify the stylized epitome of investment worthy trans seasonal versatility and functionality. They are pieces that will stay stylish for the rest of your life, essentials that you could (if you so desired) bequeath to the next generation knowing that they will surely serve them as well as they will (or have) served you.
Offering a united front and championing the best of both British and American heritage brands (those such as Schott, Burberry and Belstaff who not only innovated upon many of the styles above but arguably birthed them in the first place), a gent could certainly do far worse (but none the better) then this handy roll-call of the best functional, well fashioned (and crafted) outerwear to handle the precise demands that are routinely set upon his transitional wardrobing with every passing autumn (and year).
So, while you may not be wishing away the warmth of summer you will certainly be glad you took the proper
: Further Styling Inspiration :
From the office to the countryside, here’s to wrapping up appropriately (and stylishly) this season (and every one thereafter).
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