The Long & Short Of It

We’ve already reported how long length jackets and coats are big news this season. From macs to unlined overcoats, the runway told the high street to keep our entire body covered during the April showers. But what about those of us who don’t quite have the height to pull off this style?

To keep things versatile, and slightly more traditional, we’re bringing you the lowdown on the perfect alternative to long-length outerwear: the cropped silhouette.

Short Spring Jackets

As we’re all aware, the transitional season can be difficult to dress for. And, although some of the long length jackets donned by tall skinny models on the runways in Milan looked fantastic, the thought of us continuing to pull on our trench coat throughout the warmer months doesn’t seem entirely practical.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t invest in a long length jacket for SS14 – it’s just a good idea to have the choice. Although Britain’s weather is unpredictable at best, spring has felt promising this year so far, which means a long coat could quickly leave you hot and flustered when the temperature picks up. And, if our scorcher of a summer last year is anything to go by, a shorter and more lightweight outerwear option will be both a functional and stylish investment.

So, from bombers and bikers to denim and varsity jackets, the cropped silhouette is ideal for these in-between months. Breathable, lightweight fabrics will not only stop you from overheating on sunny afternoons spent in the beer garden, but will also give you the option to layer on crisp mornings. That’s why we consider the cropped jacket to be an essential part of every man’s warm-weather wardrobe.

Statement Style or Practical Piece?

When it comes to deciding on which type of jacket you want to invest in, it’s all about knowing your body type and personal style. This isn’t to say you can’t leave your comfort zone, we encourage the art of reinvention here at FashionBeans, but we all come to know (usually after much trial and error) which designs suit us best.

Firstly, you need to consider whether you’re after a statement piece – a jacket that will set you apart from the crowd and convey your confidence – or a more practical, timeless silhouette you’ll be able to team with everything in your current wardrobe and wear time and time again.

It’s also important to consider the jacket’s material. You’ll want to know whether it’s waterproof and light enough for warmer days, or exclusively for layering when it’s cooler.

Once you’ve determined exactly what you’re looking for, why not consider one of these four key silhouettes…

Edgy Essentials

If you’re the type of guy that likes to channel a fashion forward, rock ‘n’ roll-inspired aesthetic – or you simply want to give your look an edge – a bomber or biker jacket is probably the best option for you.

Obviously, fabric choice is key here. Thick leather is always going to be too hot as we get closer to the summer months, even if the industry is attempting to convince us otherwise by releasing thinner, unlined leather jackets for SS14. But there are plenty of bikers and bombers out there crafted in different materials such as cotton, jersey or nylon, which are much more warm-weather appropriate.

The Biker Jacket

The biker is an iconic cut that instantly conjures images of Hollywood icons such as James Dean and Marlon Brando. However, this association has led to the biker jacket being pigeon holed as a piece that needs to be paired with tough boots, dark jeans, plain white tees and other stereotypically rugged apparel. Although we agree that this is a classic look that any man can pull off, that doesn’t mean the biker jacket can’t adapt to other aesthetics.

Why not mix it up this season by pairing yours with tailored shorts and a polo? Not only great for keeping you warm when the temperature drops in the evening, this juxtaposition of smart and edgy looks superb and oozes effortless cool.

Similarly, try throwing it over the top of a button-down shirt and tie combination for smart-casual events or dress-down Friday. Utilising classic pieces in unconventional ways is a sure-fire way to make a look your own.

Details are also one of the biggest benefits of a biker jacket. From poppers to zips, mix fashion with function when choosing your perfect style – you’ll easily make use of all the hidden compartments.

Brands to consider for biker jackets this season include AllSaints, Balmain, HE By Mango, Drykorn, ASOS and The Kooples.

Spring/Summer Biker Jacket Lookbook

sisley aw13 h&m ss13 he by mango ss14 zara man august 2013 drykorn ss14 zara man february 2014 marc jacobs ss14 allsaints ss13 topman ss14 allsaints aw13 Strellson ss14 paul & joe ss13

Key Biker Jackets
  • Asos Biker Jacket In Jersey
  • Asos Denim Biker Jacket
  • River Island Biker Jacket
  • Allsaints Conroy Leather Biker Jacket
  • Allsaints Neme Denim Biker Jacket
  • Allsaints Cargo Leather Biker Jacket
  • The Kooples Sport Canvas Biker Jacket
  • Topman Navy Suede Biker Jacket
  • Balmain Satin-trimmed Wool Biker Jacket
The Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket is often cleaner and more contemporary than the biker, making it a versatile piece that’s perfect for throwing on over all your existing looks.

For SS14, we are seeing a lot of printed versions, especially in florals. Although not to everyone’s taste, a botanical bomber makes an effortless statement and can help take your go-to shorts and t-shirt combinations to the next level.

Other popular patterns include checks, perfect for the classicists, as well as digital camo and animal prints, particularly on trend snakeskin.

For those less used to making such an overt statement, why not consider a style with printed sleeves? By confining the print to a small section of the piece, it becomes easier to integrate into your wardrobe yet will still separate your look from the crowd.

Key lightweight styles include those made from cotton/canvas, as well as technical nylon fabrics. The former, when combined with a neutral hue, will be a piece you continue to reach for year after year, while the latter is great for casual dressers and mixing with other traditional sports luxe apparel.

Consider colour both inside and outside of your bomber jacket, too. A style in bottle green with a contrast orange or printed interior could make for an interesting addition to your spring/summer wardrobe.

Spring/Summer Bomber Jacket Lookbook

river island ss14 house of fraser ss14 he by mango spring 2013 calibre ss14 h&m ss14 burton ss14 m&s ss13 ti for men ss14 ti for men ss14 reiss ss14 allsaints ss14 calibre winter 2014

Key Bomber Jackets
  • New Look Bomber Jacket With Floral Print
  • Topman Black Check Sleeve Bomber Jacket
  • Reclaimed Vintage Bomber Jacket With Tapestry Sleeves
  • River Island Dark Red Oriental Print Bomber Jacket
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Printed Lightweight Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Black Multi Print Sleeve Bomber Jacket
  • A.p.c. Men’s Black Croft Ii Bomber Jacket
  • Hentsch Man Woven-cotton Bomber Jacket
  • He By Mango Piqué Bomber Jacket
  • New Look Bomber Jacket In Sports Nylon
  • Reiss 1971 Sonic Lightweight Bomber Jacket Grey
  • Dolce & Gabbana Lightweight Bomber Jacket
Casual Classics

For a more casual or preppy take on your cropped spring jacket, reach for a denim or varsity jacket.

Whether we consider ourselves modern day rockers or not, limiting ourselves to grungier pieces of outerwear doesn’t suit every mood or situation we find ourselves in – especially during the warmer and more ‘feel good’ months of the year.

The Denim Jacket

The denim jacket is a style that has been discussed at length on FashionBeans, with many now considering it a year-round essential. Adaptable, durable and able to be utilised as both a top and middle layer, you can channel everything from vintage Americana to 1990s-inspired aesthetics. And trends aside, it’s a classic piece that you’ll wear time and time again for many years to come.

Those of you who already own a timeless, dark indigo version should consider adding a lighter hue to your wardrobe this spring/summer. White, khaki/beige and light stonewash colour ways offer similar versatility due to their neutrality yet are subtle enough to stand out from the crowd.

Other styles to keep an eye out for in SS14 include sleeveless versions, for those wanting something edgier or a new layering piece, as well as contrast sleeve jackets, which often sees denim paired with leather, cotton or jersey materials.

In terms of detailing, a denim jacket with a shearling collar is perfect for crisp spring mornings and offers a nice mix of modern design and retro panache. Try pairing yours with a button-up linen shirt and desert boots for an effortlessly cool ensemble.

Spring/Summer Denim Jacket Lookbook

zara man ss12 bershka 2013 debenhams ss13 ramsey aw13 he by mango aw13 zara man february 2014 ami ss13 allsaints aw12 allsaints ss13 he by mango spring 2013 topman shearling collection apc ss14

Key Denim Jackets
  • New Look Denim Jacket
  • Asos Sleeveless Denim Jacket
  • The Laundry Folk Denim Jacket Dalston Slim Fit Sweat Sleeves
  • Levis Line 8 Denim Jacket Boxy Fit Trucker Contrast Sleeves
  • Pull & Bear Denim Waistcoat
  • Asos Denim Jacket With Leather Look Sleeves
  • J.crew Rinsed Denim Jacket
  • He By Mango Dark Wash Denim Jacket
  • Topman Ecru Denim Western Jacket
  • He By Mango Light Wash Denim Jacket
  • Replay Denim Jacket – Beige
  • Topman Mid Wash Denim Gilet
The Varsity/Baseball Jacket

Varsity or baseball jackets make great ‘all-rounders’. Whether you choose to dress yours up with chinos, loafers and a button-down to channel an Ivy League aesthetic or throw it on with a plain white tee and jeans at the weekend, the varsity jacket is extremely versatile and will work hard for your money.

A sporty staple you’ll wear from now right through to autumn, you can either opt for a traditional style in a preppy colour way with collegiate badge detailing, or a more contemporary, minimal version with a cotton body and chic contrast leather sleeves.

Our favourite options for SS14 come in slightly unconventional materials. Suede, satin, linen, silk-cotton mixes and even chambray are all available on the current market and will add character and texture to any look. Not only that, they are lightweight and breathable while also offering a slightly more natural drape than the heavyweight structured versions we are accustomed to seeing throughout the colder months of the year.

Naturally, American brands and designers offer some of the best varsity jackets on the market. Try GANT Rugger, Todd Snyder, Ralph Lauren, Opening Ceremony and Rag & Bone, as well as traditional sportswear companies such as Lacoste, Nike and adidas Originals.

Spring/Summer Varsity/Baseball Jacket Lookbook

h&m aw12 h&m ss13 river island ss13 7 diamonds aw13 jigsaw ss14 he by  mango ss14 ti for men ss14 j crew ss14 he by  mango ss14 gant rugger ss14 zara young 2011 Todd Snyder ss14

Key Varsity/Baseball Jackets
  • Next Navy Grey Baseball Jacket
  • American Apparel Baseball Jacket
  • Pull & Bear Baseball Jacket
  • Reclaimed Vintage Bomber Jacket In Satin
  • Indigo & Maine Suede Leather Varsity Jacket
  • Adidas X Opening Ceremony Leather Varsity Jacket
  • Gant Rugger Chambray Varsity Jacket
  • Todd Snyder Suede Varsity Jacket
  • Loro Piana Silk And Cashmere-blend Varsity Cardigan
  • Maison Kitsuné Embellished Lightweight Bomber Jacket
  • Lacoste L!ve Mens Baseball Jacket – Black/whiskey
  • Nike Destroyer Jacket
Final Word

Whatever style of cropped jacket you decide on for the spring/summer months, always keep fabric and fit in mind. It’s also important to decide whether you’re after a head-turning statement piece or a versatile jacket you’ll wear season after season.

In an ideal world, we’d treat ourselves to an on trend long-length jacket to avoid those April showers and a cropped silhouette as the temperatures rise.

Who knows, we might even end up getting lucky with the weather this year and have to take off our jackets altogether. Even if it’s only for a week or two!