For any guy who’s no stranger to a breezy autumn eve, jackets and coats are essential for fall. What’s not to love? Not only does the bevy of layers add a fashionable twist to a simple dress shirt and jeans, but you also have the power to transform this seasonal piece into a statement garment (think plaids, tweeds, camo, and herringbone). And, above all things, it keeps you warm.
The downside? With dozens of different styles, editing down your coat wish list is no easy feat. What’s the difference between a field jacket and a flight jacket? Do you need both to be fashionable this fall? Before you throw yourself down a coat-centric rabbit hole, let’s get one thing clear: you don’t need to own every single type of jacket you find during your preliminary search. Instead, these six picks are perfect for a slew of different occasions and will upgrade your autumnal uniform.
1. Pea Coat
When it comes to versatile outerwear for the fall, getting a pea coat is a no brainer. While the double-breasted front and nipped waist suggests a preppy vibe, this piece can easily be worn with a number of different outfits. Dress up this trusty wool coat for the office with a crisp dress shirt, trousers, and polished brogues. Want to wear this out to drinks with your significant other? Throw this on over a flannel top, worn-in jeans, and your casual sneakers. As an added bonus, this pea coat will be a great formal jacket for the winter. Since this type of coat is available in a bevy of hemlines, colors, and buttons, it’s important to shop around for a type that suits your body and taste best. Feel a little lost in the search? Not to worry, dear reader: an easy and universally flattering option is a black coat that hits your mid-thigh. Don’t forget that you can always change your buttons with the help of our useful style hacks.
2. Bomber Jacket
Once upon a time, bomber jackets were only popular for air pilots during World War II. But today, this pick seems more like a fashion essential than military swag. From style icon James Dean to rocker Adam Levine, it seems that all the most fashion-forward guys have sported the bomber jacket. And for good reason: it’s an easy, fuss-free way for guys (and even girls) to upgrade their ensembles. Wear it anywhere: the bar, grocery store, or romantic date are all great excuses to whip out your treasured jacket. Though it’s the perfect piece to amplify a basic T-shirt and jeans look, go ahead and experiment this fall by mixing this staple jacket with button-down shirts and chunky knits. You get it: bomber jackets are a must-own. But which type should you buy? This pick is available in a slew of materials and shades. Luckily, there is no wrong decision — each type of bomber jacket will carry a different message. If you’re looking for an easy-going and traditional option, select a black or dark brown leather jacket. Want to make a statement with your bomber? Try a red suede style.
3. Field Jacket
With loads of pockets, durable fabric, and a variety of forest-friendly hues, think of this pick as the cargo pants of coats. Usually adorned with at least four buttoned pockets, we love this coat because it’s a great alternative to bulking up your pants pockets with your phone and wallet. Don’t let the name fool you, this jacket is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Whether styled with a fade chambray during brunch with the bros or lightweight knit crewneck while exploring the great outdoors, this jacket is sure to provide a ruggedly chic factor that’s perfect for the fall. While there are some colorful options, stick to the classics by picking a field jacket of the olive green or tan variety.
4. Quilted Jacket
In a perfect world, we could all blissfully sport stylish, lightweight jackets until the holidays. But if you’ve ever lived in a Polar Vortex-prone area, you know that’s not the case. Since frostbite is never a stylish accessory, a quilted down jacket for the chillier months ahead is an absolute must. However, we know what you’re thinking: how is it even possible to dress stylishly with a coat that makes me look like the Michellin man? Relax, gents: there are slimming alternatives to the puffer. For a more streamlined silhouette, opt for a coat that hits your mid-thigh (similar to your pea coat) and has a down, window-pane quilting — we can assure you that the tubular quilting is half the problem. With a plethora of fun colors to choose from, why pick a stodgy neutral? Instead, add a jolt of energy into your wintry wardrobe with a cool cobalt blue or fiery orange. But do yourself a favor and stick with a matte iteration — those sheeny fabrics aren’t doing anything for this tricky silhouette. Not sure what to wear this coat with? Keep it outdoorsy chic with a pair of fitted jeans, chunky sweater, and your trusty snow boots. After all, you won’t want to wear anything else when it’s that cold.
Before you even think about all the suit blazers you have stowed away in your closet, this one’s different. Sure, we know you have several pieces that were purchased with matching pants for the office and formal events, but this blazer stands alone. The beauty of having an independent blazer is that it’ll look just as a cool with a pair of dark-washed jean as it will with your treasured chinos. Perfect for those warmer autumn nights, wear this to semi-formal events like your best friend’s housewarming party or meeting your significant other’s parents. Since you’re not investing in a pair of matching pants, feel free to get a little creative with the texture, color, and print. While the options are virtually limitless, our recommendation for a versatile iteration is to invest in a luxurious fabric (such as wool or cashmere) or print (like tweed or herringbone) in a neutral color palette.
6. Shearling Jacket
During the chillier months ahead, there’s nothing better than snuggling up with a plush throw. If only you could create a stylish blanket cocoon to wear to your favorite pub, right? Well gents, behold the shearling jacket. Loved by fashion aficionados — covetable brands such as Coach, J.Crew, and Margaret Howell sent these down the Fall 2015 runways — consider this type of coat your wearable blanket. Whether accented at the collar or completely lined, the sheep and lamb skin will keep you warm and cozy all season long. While there are several styles that integrate shearling, our recommendation is selecting a shearling accented car coat (or a coat that hits your mid-thigh). Go ahead and ease into this fad but selecting a jacket with a shearling collar and (if you’re feeling extra stylish) cuffs.
Keep in mind that this coat is a bonafide statement piece, so style it with cozy neutrals: a henley shirt, boot-cut jeans, and a pair of suede boots will create some major style-envy against a tan shearling coat. Since it’s our idea of a wearable blanket, you’re going to want to wear this about everywhere; however, save this for your fancier occasions like date night or lunch with your grandparents. Trust us: sporting your shearling in a crowded, sweaty concert hall is cringe-worthy. But what’s a guy to do if he is against authentic animal fur or the real stuff just isn’t in his budget? Opt for a faux leather jacket with faux shearling detailing. Stylish without any moral or monetary regrets.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs