Rain and unpredictable temperatures are perhaps the biggest hurdles we sartorially inclined gentleman have to face during the early part of spring/summer. Well, to be honest, rain and unpredictable temperatures are some of the biggest hurdles we have to face even during the height of summer here in the UK, but still.

There are a number of ways we can tackle this issue: trench coats, umbrellas, clever layering, but casually I don’t think there is a better option than the lightweight rain jacket. With the proliferation of sports luxe and sportswear trends in recent seasons, the lightweight rain jacket has seen something of a surge in popularity.

However, as with any trend (and, to an extent, outerwear) this jacket suffers from a great deal of misuse – being worn in much the same way by much the same people. However, we here at FashionBeans aren’t like everyone else (or at least we like to think so), and with just a little thought this extremely versatile piece can be worked into almost any modern wardrobe.

The Lightweight Rain Jacket

Traditionally unlined and constructed from light, waterproof materials, the rain jacket is an excellent transitional item – one that is able to combat our unpredictable spring weather and can be layered over any look without adding bulk. You can throw it on over the top of a blazer and shirt combination as easily as you would jeans and a t-shirt, which makes it an ideal piece of outerwear to carry in your man bag or store in your car for when the weather turns.

The most common variant on the market is the lightweight parka silhouette (especially as the parka looks set to be big for AW13), although on trend bombers, sports-inspired styles, anoraks and fisherman jackets are now widely available, and most at a price that won’t break the bank.

When it comes to choosing your ideal jacket, my personal advice is the brighter the better. Outerwear is one of those items that you can really afford to go wild with colour and make a statement.

Take note of our recent coverage of SS13 colours by opting for bold oranges, pastel pinks or bright blues. Try not to think too much about what you’re wearing, just throw it on in place of your usual jacket and wear it with rock solid confidence – safe in the knowledge that you look great.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Lightweight Rain Jackets Lookbook

reiss 1971 ss13lacoste ss13house of fraser aw12comodo square ss13he by mango ss13tommy hilfiger sportswear ss13beams ss13pull & bear heritage ss13beams ss13coach ss13zalando ss13ted baker ss13
Outfit Inspiration
Look 1: The Weekend

Rugged and masculine but still playful, we inject a shot of colour via the jacket.

A pair of chunky boots and slim fitting indigo denim is a classic menswear combination, so make full use of it. A piece of knitwear – it doesn’t matter whether it’s cotton or wool – in a basic colour will let the jacket sing and keep the outfit as a whole grounded and timeless.

It’s the perfect weekend look:

  • Allsaints Lothian Crew JumperAllsaints Lothian Crew Jumper
  • Boxfresh Jacket Bold HoodedBoxfresh Jacket Bold Hooded
  • Nudie Jeans Grim Tim Slim-fit Dry Denim JeansNudie Jeans Grim Tim Slim-fit Dry Denim Jeans
  • Dainty Kg Kurt GeigerDainty Kg Kurt Geiger
Look 2: Spring/Summer Go-To

Create clean, simple lines by mixing casual basics with a structured shirt. Pick a jacket in a relatively neutral colour (that isn’t black, navy or grey) and then have a play around with coloured chinos to create some fantastic smart-casual spring/summer inspired combinations.

Just keep your under layer and footwear basic so that the colours take centre stage:

  • Asos Oxford ShirtAsos Oxford Shirt
  • Topman Mustard Lightweight ParkaTopman Mustard Lightweight Parka
  • Allsaints Pipe ChinoAllsaints Pipe Chino
  • Allsaints Rule Low-topAllsaints Rule Low-top
Look 3: Mixed Aesthetics

I spoke about mixed aesthetics in a recent article: pairing textures and pieces that wouldn’t normally be seen together to create something altogether different and unique.

The denim shirt and tailored trousers combination we featured in the aforementioned article is definitely one that can work well with the lightweight parka – it’s simply a development of the mixture.

Opt for a bold jacket to make a big statement and finish off with a couple of hem rolls on the trousers, some great socks and timeless desert boots:

  • Allsaints Furnace ShirtAllsaints Furnace Shirt
  • Trainerspotter Parka Jacket Salinas HoodedTrainerspotter Parka Jacket Salinas Hooded
  • Reiss 1971 Yale Grey Chambray Trousers GreyReiss 1971 Yale Grey Chambray Trousers Grey
  • Clarks Originals Suede Desert BootsClarks Originals Suede Desert Boots
Current Lightweight Rain Jackets
  • Suit Hooded JacketSuit Hooded Jacket
  • Nylon Hooded Trek JacketNylon Hooded Trek Jacket
  • Shore Leave Burgundy Funnel JacketShore Leave Burgundy Funnel Jacket
  • Topman Washed Burgundy Chambray Trek JacketTopman Washed Burgundy Chambray Trek Jacket
  • Topman Green Hooded Trek JacketTopman Green Hooded Trek Jacket
  • Farah Vintage Dayton Red JacketFarah Vintage Dayton Red Jacket
  • Elvine Jacket Bentley HoodedElvine Jacket Bentley Hooded
  • Baltic Anorak JacketBaltic Anorak Jacket
  • Native Youth Nyjk20 Cobalt AnorakNative Youth Nyjk20 Cobalt Anorak
  • Reiss 1971 Parachute Garment Dyed Harrington CobaltReiss 1971 Parachute Garment Dyed Harrington Cobalt
  • Volcom Hooded Jacket StorkenVolcom Hooded Jacket Storken
  • New Look Red Nylon Drawstring ParkaNew Look Red Nylon Drawstring Parka
  • Fred Perry Cagoule In YellowFred Perry Cagoule In Yellow
  • Band Of Outsiders Double-pocket Jacket 153014Band Of Outsiders Double-pocket Jacket 153014
  • Folk Hooded Rain JacketFolk Hooded Rain Jacket
Final Word

So there we have a short consideration of the lightweight parka. As far as outerwear goes, I think it’s an excellent option and much more versatile than you might initially think. My personal choice (and the one I’m currently sporting) is the Boxfresh one used in the first look – I think it’s truly fantastic.

Although I may not have gone into as much detail as previous articles, that is because I simply mean to inspire and don’t want to overcomplicate how to wear an item like this. The whole point of a lightweight, waterproof jacket is convenience and practicality – you can roll it up and carry it round with you effortlessly, and throw it on over the top of any current outfit you are wearing to protect yourself from the ever-changing weather. It really is that simple.

Stick with bold colours and you’ll be well ahead of the game. Don’t be scared to try something you wouldn’t normally consider and ignore the masses wearing the same kinds of things all the time.

As always, I’d like to know what you think. Are you a fan of the lightweight rain jacket? If so, how would/do you wear yours?

Let me know in the comments section…