Long Spring Jackets

Although recent seasons have seen the cropped jacket – in its various guises, from bomber and blouson to denim and biker – become the go-to outerwear silhouette within menswear, spring/summer 2014 sees longer length styles return to prominence.

GQ magazine writes: “The designers in Milan and Paris realise that some countries – like our own – are not blessed with a dry, Mediterranean climate all season long; sometimes a coat is essential even on the hottest days.”

As alluded to above, the transitional period between winter and spring is notoriously difficult to dress for, and the British summertime is often not much better. Fluctuating temperatures and unpredictable weather means that it is hard to plan what to wear from hour to hour, never mind day to day.

This season, designers and high street collections seem to have combated this perennial problem by pushing long length, lightweight outerwear that offers true protection from the elements while remaining breathable and easy to carry. This blend of fashion and function is sure to make a practical and versatile addition to any modern gent’s wardrobe.

In terms of length, these lightweight jackets tend to finish a couple of inches above or below the knee, offering you almost complete coverage from those notorious April showers.

On The Runways

One of the biggest supporters of the long jacket trend was Fendi, who showcased their collection in Milan. There was a summery feel from the start with the models walking along sand covered runways wearing traditional warm-weather hues such as burnt orange, terracotta and yellow.

At the more formal end of the spectrum was a stone overcoat with white patch pocket detailing, which was paired with cropped navy chinos, distressed mustard shoes and a tan satchel for a smarter take on the trend.

Similarly, a stone overcoat with brown buttons and yellow colour pop lining was featured. Combined with a beige suit, shirt and tie, as well as mustard yellow accessories, it was a well executed tonal ensemble that would be perfect for the office.

At the other end of the scale, Fendi featured a range of casual, knee-length, hooded macs in tones of khaki and burnt terracotta. Coming complete with contrast colour linings, they were worn slightly oversized and open with the jacket loosely belted at the waist, revealing the clothes below:

Another design house that took a more refined approach to the trend was Ermenegildo Zegna. Their collection featured lightweight knee-length overcoats and trenches in traditional shades of beige, black, light blue and, my personal favourite, gunmetal grey.

These were typically worn belted and fastened for an ultra-sleek look. However, this smart aesthetic was counteracted slightly by the addition of a long contrast colour cuff, which extended over the wrist and forearm of each jacket.

Statement styles included a knee-length navy overcoat complete with all-over beige star pattern, as well as a colour-blocked coat that featured a camel torso and belt with burgundy sleeves and navy blue hood:

Elsewhere, Carven offered a more experimental take on the trend, showcasing long jackets in bright lime green along with a beige raffia-texture fabric for an interesting tactile feel.

The brand also included a blue mac with contrast navy puffed sleeves, reminiscent of a blouson jacket, which played with the concept of silhouette:

Finally, we couldn’t report on the long jackets trend without mentioning Dries van Noten.

With floral set to become a huge print trend this year – it’s being pushed for both SS14 and AW14 – the designer applied floral patterns to a wide variety of pieces, including long length jackets.

Highlights included a black silk coat (almost kimono-like) with an embossed, all-over floral pattern and lining, as well as a black and blue trench coat with all-over leaf pattern. The latter sounds quite garish, but was in fact extremely subtle and worked well due to the muted tones.

Dries van Noten also included a sleek belted trench coat in a lightweight navy blue material, complete with a blue, white and purple flower motif. Even though the overall design was stripped back and minimal, the unexpected burst of floral colour on the chest added a sense of excitement and an interesting focal point.

Finally, for the really adventurous and those who embrace colour wholeheartedly, statement options were sent down the runway in much more lively and colourful floral prints that featured multiple tones of red, pink, yellow, green, blue and white:

The Fashion Press

Clearly, long jackets were extremely prevalent within the designer collections – but how have the fashion press reacted? The short answer is, on the whole, positively.

GQ was a particularly vocal advocate, writing: “This season thin belted trench coats are the solution. Look for one that hits between the ankle and the thigh and opt into an ultra-light fabric as well as a bright colour if you’re feeling as brave as our brothers on the continent.”

GQ online also published a preview piece back in June 2013 entitled ‘These are the coats you’ll be wearing next spring’, with the editorial focusing on long, below-the-knee jackets in minimalist and monochromatic styles. They even go as far to suggest that the more minimal, the better – so no need for pockets, epaulettes or belts, and any buttons should be cleverly concealed for a clean, streamlined, almost clinical finish.

Shortlist followed suit by publishing a piece championing the knee-length trench coat for SS14, featuring stylish examples from brands as diverse as French Connection, Thom Browne and Burberry.

Modern Lookbook Inspiration

As you can see below, many brands and designers are opting to move away from shorter, cropped silhouettes within their new SS14 campaign imagery and lookbooks:

bally ss14 dkny ss14 m&s best of british ss14 reiss 2014 ami ss13 saturdays surf nyc ss14 tommy hilfiger tailored ss14 woolrich john rich bros ss14 Enharmonic TAVERN ss14 hartford ss13 ami ss14 house of fraser ss14

The High Street

Turning to the high street, as always, the designer trend for long jackets has filtered down into more affordable collections for the average Joe.

Topman are currently stocking a single-breasted trench coat with concealed zip for a sleeker, sharper look – available in jade green, navy blue and burgundy. If you’re searching for something slightly more casual, Topman are also selling oversized, knee-length parkas with fishtail detailing in traditional khaki colour ways, along with a light khaki camo print parka by Australian brand Insight.

For something more traditional, look no further than the likes of French Connection, River Island or Reiss for classic double-breasted, belted trench coats in timeless shades of grey, beige and blue.

For the more rebellious, River Island are also offering a long biker silhouette in navy blue with black leather look sleeves and asymmetric zip detailing for an interesting take on the current biker jacket trend:

  • Allsaints Payne Mac
  • Vito Parka With Hood
  • Brixtol Parka In Vachetta Cotton
  • River Island Navy 2 In 1 Smart Biker Coat
  • Topman Burgundy Single Breasted Zip Trench Coat
  • River Island Dark Grey Smart Mac Jacket
  • Reiss Curzon Concealed Placket Mac Grey
  • Ted Baker Eazy Debonair Mac
  • A.p.c. Unstructured Woven-linen Overcoat
  • French Connection Basic Storm Coating Terry Coat
  • Topman Rains Green Long Waterproof Jacket
  • Bottega Veneta Lightweight Packaway Trench Coat
  • Lanvin Single-breasted Trench Coat 181558
  • Mackintosh Coated Linen Trench Coat
  • Christopher Raeburn Printed Cotton Raincoat
Final Word

So, are we set to see a return to more practical, long length outerwear this spring/summer? The industry clearly thinks so, and it makes perfect sense with our wildly unpredictable climate.

But now we want to hear your thoughts: are you ready to swap your cropped bombers and blousons for trenches and lightweight rain macs?

Let us know in the comments section…