Nobody likes waving farewell to the warm glow of the sun as the nights draw in and summer begins to fade away. But it’s not all doom and gloom. For one thing, it means you get to start wearing jackets again, and let’s face it, nothing eases the sorrow of gloomy fall mornings quite like the comforting embrace of some new outerwear.
Getting your fall jacket selection pinned down can be tricky. Go too light and you’ll feel the bite on those particularly frosty November mornings, but try to make do with your winter coat and you’ll be dripping with sweat 90 per cent of the time. The key is to go for jackets that occupy that comfortable middle ground – not too light, not too heavy – leaving the option for layering open, so that you can regulate the level of insulation from day to day. That way, you’ll always be prepared for the changeable fall conditions.
There are plenty of jackets that fall into this transitional category, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have our favourites. Below is a selection of the key jacket styles on our shopping list this year, and the reasons why they should be on yours too.
The wettest season of the year might not seem like an ideal time to start mixing suede into your outerwear rotation, but as long as you’re careful, it can be a great way to up your style while giving your fall outfits some texture.
The suede bomber is one of our favourite transitional jackets. We love the combination of the casual shape and premium handfeel, which makes for a garment that’s easy to wear with both dressy and off-duty looks. Add a touch of class to a simple T-shirt, jeans and sneakers combo, or use it to dress down tailored pants and knitwear.
The key thing is to make sure it’s properly protected and, at risk of stating the obvious, if there’s a downpour forecast, reach for something better suited to the inclement weather instead.
At risk of sounding like a broken record, overshirts are great. We firmly believe a good overshirt to be one of the most versatile pieces anyone can have in their wardrobe – good for all seasons, and easy to wear with pretty much anything short of a tuxedo.
Most are made from some sort of cotton fabric, but opting for wool instead is an excellent way to make this staple garment a little more cold-weather appropriate. With a nice textured finish, a wool overshirt will pair beautifully with other seasonal staples like heavy knitwear, fleece jackets and boots.
We particularly like what brands like A Day’s March and Universal Works have to offer in this category. Or, if you’re looking for a similar vibe but with recycled cotton fabric instead, check out Wax London’s range.
Waxed Motorcycle Jacket
Leather biker jackets are all well and good, but there’s something about the quintessentially British energy of a waxed motorcycle jacket that really revs our engine. It’s cool, it’s practical and it’ll last you a lifetime… provided you buy a half decent one.
There’s only one brand to consider if you want the real deal. Belstaff is the original and best when it comes to this style of outerwear, and its iconic belted jackets have been worn by everyone from James Bond to Steve McQueen. They’re not cheap, but when you factor in that you’ll probably still be wearing it another 30 years from now, the price is a little easier to stomach.
Of course, you could opt for a waxed jacket of the non-motorcycle variety, in which case we’d point you in the direction of Barbour: a heritage brand from the northeast of England that has been kitting out British country folk with durable rainwear for well over a century.
Lightweight Down Jacket
Save your big puffer jacket for the darkest depths of winter – this lightweight alternative is an excellent option for fall. It’s packable, comfortable and thin enough to layer on top of if the temperature really drops.
Outdoor enthusiasts have long understood the benefits of lightweight down outerwear. It’s supremely warm for its relatively low weight, and it can squish right down to a fraction of its size – springing back to its original shape when needed. But you don’t have to be an alpine athlete to enjoy these benefits. There are plenty of lightweight down jackets around that don’t go in too hard on the outdoorsy look, meaning you can style them however you want.
For a budget-friendly option, Uniqlo makes some of the best, and the lack of any visible branding makes them that little bit more versatile.
Fabrics like wool, corduroy and heavyweight denim are great for giving your fall outfits some depth, but nothing beats a nice heavy-pile fleece in our opinion.
Fleece jackets have been enjoying renewed interest over the past few years, with models like Patagonia’s iconic Retro-X coming back into the spotlight. It’s all part of the wider ongoing ‘gorpcore’ trend, which essentially revolves around styling outdoorsy pieces in a fashion-forward way.
Due to their bulky nature, thick-pile fleeces can be tricky to layer on top of. This means they work best as outer layers, worn over things like hoodies, knitwear and flannel shirts. That said, it is possible to layer up if you go for suitably oversized outerwear, like a parka or overcoat, but maybe save that for the winter months to avoid overheating.
Cold-Weather Chore Coat
There’s something about the no-frills functionality of a good old chore jacket that really floats our coat. The tank-like build, versatility and simplicity of this staple workwear garment make it a style we keep coming back to again and again.
This fall, look to branch out from the traditional cotton twill version and instead go for one in a winter-ready fabric like wool, corduroy, denim or even a quilted nylon. Not only will the tactile nature of these materials bring something extra to your daily looks, they’re also better suited to cooler temperatures, adding warmth and a sense of cosiness that cotton lacks.
In terms of styling, team it up with other workwear pieces and you can’t really go wrong. Think moc toe boots, thick flannels and heavyweight tees.
Fall is full of colour for the most part, but it is prone to its drab and dreary moments too. This year, we’re advocating subtly jazzing things up with some tastefully patterned outerwear.
A roomy overcoat is great for throwing on over anything and everything, and has a way of adding a touch of elegance to even the most informal of outfits. Seriously, we’re talking about a styling spectrum that spans tailoring to tracksuits, which gives you a lot of wearability for your money.
For bonus points, go for a checked, textured fabric in autumnal hues, and be prepared to splash out on something that’s built to last – it’ll be worth it in the long run. For some of the best, check out AMI, Celine Homme, Aquascutum and Aimé Leon Dore.