Styling For Spring

Spring is arguably the toughest time of year to dress with any great confidence. You can leave the house under thick grey clouds and a wall of drizzle, only to find yourself enjoying your lunch on a sunlit terrace, and making your way back home in the bracing cold come evening.

Luckily, there are plenty of outer layers that are bound to make your life considerably easier over the coming months. Here we break down our top five spring jackets, from relaxed to buttoned-up, subtle to statement-making…

The Safari Jacket

Based on the British khaki drill military jacket, the safari jacket has traditionally been a four-pocket lightweight cotton silhouette designed specifically for hot climates, hence the name. It conjures up images of early 20th century British archaeologists digging away in Egypt, or Roger Moore’s James Bond in Moonraker – neither of which is immediately suggestive of a style classic, but allow us to elaborate.

The safari jacket has been popular to varying extents in virtually every decade since the turn of the 20th century because of its casual versatility. These days, it’s managed to shed the strict khaki association, coming in a slew of different colours that have lifted it from its original context.

Turning our attention to this season’s runways, safari was a key influence at Richard James’ spring/summer 2015 show, with the jacket playing a starring role. The designer paired a heavy olive version with white slacks, a printed shirt and desert boots, while a lightweight safari suit came in bright pink. Our favourite, however, was a tightly tailored version in pistachio green, which was layered over a buttoned-up embroidered green shirt and again finished with white trousers and suede desert boots.

Others have taken the template of the original safari jacket and run with it, perhaps no better than Belstaff whose belted four-pocket wax-cotton Gardiner design is a stylish and contemporary interpretation that packs plenty of functionality. Being lightweight, it’s a perfect layering piece to throw over a simple T-shirt, button-down shirt, lightweight knit or sweatshirt.

Lookbook Inspiration

Classic khaki safari jackets often look best combined with other dusty or earthy neutrals such as off-white, beige, brown, cream and military green.

Try throwing one over a lightweight shirt and slim chinos combination for an effortless smart-casual springtime look:

mango man ss14 mango man spring 2013 mango man ss14 pepe jeans ss13 mango man summer 2013 digel ss12 hackett mango man ss13 club monaco ss12 ovadia & sons ss13 hackett ss12 massimo dutti april 2014

Key Pieces
  • He By Mango Nylon Field Jacket
  • Hackett Mayfair Saharian Suede Jacket
  • J. Crew Field Mechanic Jacket
  • He By Mango Concealed Hood Field Jacket
  • He By Mango Nylon Field Jacket
  • Ted Baker Khuprus Four Pocket Jacket
  • Brioni Cotton And Silk-blend Field Jacket
  • Burberry Prorsum Cotton-blend Twill Field Jacket
  • Jaeger Travel Jacket
  • Aquascutum Blythe Field Jacket Grey
  • Canali Padded Field Jacket
  • Tomas Maier Cotton-gabardine Field Jacket 1003048
The Tech Jacket

Constant innovations in fabrication have led to all sorts of jackets, coats and blazers coming in new materials or being treated with hi-tech coatings – meaning your traditional cotton and linen styles are now available waterproofed.

One brand that fuses technical features with tailoring particularly well is Oliver Spencer. The label’s polyurethane-coated Upton jacket is a perfect example of a smart-casual style that could be worn with jeans and boots on days that threaten rain, or with some lightweight pastel chinos and a pair of driving shoes/canvas trainers when the sun is out.

Also worth checking out is the brand’s Helvellyn jacket, another technically advanced piece that’s ideal for layering with a fine gauge jumper, or a chunkier roll neck depending on what Mother Nature throws at you.

Elsewhere, premium Italian label Herno does a minimalist car coat in a bonded thermoplastic fabric that teams well with some slim jeans and desert boots, while providing ample protection from inclement weather.

For something more obviously ‘performance’ in aesthetic, turn to Christopher Raeburn’s sports luxe styles for spring/summer 2015. His collection featured lightweight floral print hoodies and transparent plastic blousons and macs worn with a mixture of luxury track pants and fluid cotton trousers.

Also, don’t overlook the brands coming from a purely functional or sports background. One of our favourites at the moment is Aether, a Los Angeles-based company that produces practical activewear that we’re eager to wear, even on off-days. The label’s field jacket is a neat piece of kit built to handle blustery conditions, while its fall line jacket with a bonded zip is a smart way to add some function and minimal styling to a smart-casual outfit.

Lookbook Inspiration

Technical jackets and waterproof rain coats aren’t just for off-duty days, as you can see below. Try a bold colour pop version over a lightweight suit to set yourself apart on the springtime commute, or an advanced parka or hooded jacket with an Oxford shirt and sweater to bring a contemporary twist to a timeless smart-casual combination.

Of course, if you want to take a more fashion-forward approach to your look, combine your tech jacket with longline and sports luxe pieces for a slick and directional aesthetic:

topman ss14 sisley ss14 penfield ss15 matalan ss15 bershka zara spring 2015 selected homme ss14 ti for men spring 2015 next spring 2015 HASPEL SS15 gap spring 2012 m grifoni aw13

Key Pieces
  • He By Mango Inner Jacket Waterproof Parka
  • Native Youth Lightweight Technical Parka In Khaki
  • Clwr Waterproof Jacket With Hood
  • Rains Long Jacket
  • Topman Topman Sport Black Jersey Dry-tech Zip Through Jacket
  • Element Jacket With Colour Block Waterproof
  • Selected Homme Rainger Waterproof Jacket Orange
  • Ami Paris Overhead Hooded Jacket
  • Fall Line Nh
  • Herno Lightweight Thermoplastic Overcoat 1005544
  • Helvellyn Jacket Bolt Navy Osj225a
  • Upton Jacket Turner Navy Osj240a
The Bomber Jacket

A fixture on runways for the last few years, the bomber jacket is loved for its youthful, counter-cultural styling and military heritage. Testament to its staying power, designers are still finding new ways to make this classic outerwear piece their own.

For a simple, no-fuss style, a minimal cotton bomber from Faconnable hits all the right spots. The perfect spring jacket for dressing down with a pair of distressed jeans and leather trainers, or dressing up with a button-down, sweatshirt and cropped trousers, it’s an investment piece that’ll work for most of the year.

Not moved by minimal? Try turning heads with Haider Ackermann’s floral-jacquard linen and silk-blend bomber, which is about as big a statement as you could make.

Other styles of note this season include Paul Smith’s luxurious satin trim and midnight blue wool twill version and Alexander Wang’s textured faux raffia cotton-blend bomber.

Exceptionally easy to wear with everything from a crew neck T-shirt to a patterned short-sleeved shirt, and with so many different options available – from high-end to high street – the bomber is set to remain front and centre for spring/summer 2015.

Lookbook Inspiration

The bomber jacket is a classic and extremely versatile silhouette that pairs just as well with tailored trousers and button-downs as it does slimline joggers and sweatshirts.

If you opt for a timeless neutral design then there is no need to over-think your styling here – simply throw it on over the top of all your current go-to outfits and away you go.

However, if you go for a bold coloured or printed version, the standard rules apply: team with muted, pared-back pieces in order to anchor your jacket while letting it become the focal point of your look.

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Key Pieces
  • Shore Leave By Urban Outfitters Dobby Bomber Jacket In Khaki
  • Asos Bomber Jacket
  • Ps Paul Smith Floral Bomber Jacket
  • Topman Burgundy Cotton Bomber Jacket
  • Burton Stone Bomber Jacket
  • Allsaints Cale Bomber Jacket
  • Grayers Russell Herringbone Cotton Bomber Jacket
  • Gant Chambray Bomber Jacket Blue
  • Reiss Cannes Bomber Jacket Bright Blue
  • Reiss Toulon Suede Bomber Jacket Grey
  • Alexander Wang Textured Bomber Jacket 1005161
  • Paul Smith Satin-panelled Wool-twill Bomber Jacket
The Cotton Jacket

For a smarter, fail-safe sartorial option this spring, the cotton jacket/blazer is an excellent choice. Often cut from shirting cotton, lightweight blazers are ideal for looking your best on balmier days.

This silhouette has been a mainstay of Oliver Spencer collections for years. We’re particular fans of the label’s Barrigan jacket – the fruits of a collaboration with cycling brand Vulpine (Mr Spencer is a keen cyclist) – that features hi-vis elements beneath the collar and cuffs. The Navigator jacket is another standout piece from the current SS15 line and a must-own for double denim enthusiasts.

Elsewhere, Albam’s Montmartre blazer is another easy-wearing cotton twill outer layer that looks great paired with chinos or indigo denim, while brands such as Gieves & Hawkes and Dolce & Gabbana have recently presented pea coat styles (traditionally made from wool) in cotton, allowing a classic, masculine silhouette to be worn in all seasons.

Lookbook Inspiration

Smart but not stuffy, a well-cut, unstructured cotton blazer will instantly upgrade any off-duty look. Try throwing it on over a simple jeans and T-shirt combination when going out for drinks, or combining it with an Oxford shirt and slim chinos for a meal with the other half.

On the flip side, its relaxed nature will also help bring more of a dress-down feel to your formal attire, which is ideal for casual Fridays in the office or business-casual events.

Overall, it’s an extremely versatile piece that will effortlessly adapt to multiple occasions and scenarios throughout spring/summer:

digel ss14 h&m Boglioli ss13 allsaints ss13 gap aw12 sarar ss14 mango man ss13 scotch & soda aw13 amsterdams blauw Gap ss12 Bottega Veneta cruise ss14 gap ss12 house of fraser ss15

Key Pieces
  • Gap Twill Blazer
  • Ted Baker Chicago Layered Cotton Jacket
  • Montmartre Blazer
  • He By Mango Cotton Canvas Coat
  • Ted Baker Igrot Layered Cotton Jacket
  • Navigator Jacket Flitwick Navy Osj154e
  • Incotex Slim-fit Garment-dyed Cotton Blazer
  • Alex Mill Slim-fit Ripstop Cotton Blazer
  • Gieves & Hawkes Double-breasted Cotton Jacket
  • John Lewis & Co. Garment Dye Work Wear Jacket Oxblood Red
  • Kin By John Lewis Cotton Blazer Navy
  • Dolce & Gabbana Lightweight Double-breasted Pea Coat 1006949
The Trench Coat

If you find yourself suited and booted while April’s showers are looking their most threatening, you could do worse than cover up with the classic trench coat.

Offering more coverage than a cotton blazer and traditionally featuring an adjustable belt that helps cut a flattering figure, the trench is the only outer layer you’ll need as the weather starts to warm up.

As this is a timeless piece that will potentially last you a lifetime, Burberry should be the first brand on your hit list if you’re eager to add something truly iconic to your wardrobe. However, Parisian label Sandro is offering an impressive version this season at a much more affordable price point.

Deviating from the classic double-breasted (DB) style, there are plenty of excellent single-breasted trenches out there, too. While perhaps not as inherently flamboyant as a DB version, they are nonetheless smart alternatives to wear over a work suit. Personally, I think the Italian brands work this style best, so look for versions by the likes of Zegna, Canali, Brioni and Herno.

When it comes to hue, you can never go wrong with a timeless camel or beige version, yet there are a wealth of striking colour ways available on the current market – our favourites come in bolder shades of blue, which look extremely contemporary but retain a sense of versatility.

As for length, let your body type guide your choice: tall gents should be looking for longer styles that finish a couple of inches above the knee, breaking up their considerable height, while shorter men would do well to opt for slightly cropped styles, which offer full suit jacket coverage while providing a much-needed lengthening effect.

Lookbook Inspiration

If you’ve opted for a belted style, there are two key ways you can wear it: fully done up and fastened across the waist so that you achieve that desirable ‘V’ shape silhouette, or left open and relaxed with the belt loosely knotted behind your back once the weather picks up.

Of course, tailoring (whether a full suit or separates) is the perfect partner to a trench coat, but don’t be afraid to dress yours down at the weekend with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. This smart and casual juxtaposition was one of the key styling tricks we witnessed on the AW15 runways and is a technique that can be applied all year round:

daks ss15 de fursac ss14 sarar Jaeger AW13 drykorn ss13 gucci resort ss15 zara spring 2015 zara september 2014 boomerang ss15 paul & joe ss13 allsaints ss14 Boglioli ss15

Key Pieces
  • Antony Morato Trench Coat
  • Asos Lightweight Trench Coat
  • Burberry Cotton Poplin Trench Coat
  • River Island Stone Holloway Road Trench Coat
  • River Island Dark Red Smart Short Trench Coat
  • M&s Collection Best Of British Pure Cotton Trench Mac With Stormwear
  • Reiss Madison Belted Mac Dark Grey
  • Autograph Pure Cotton Slim Fit Mac With Stormwear
  • Sandro Double-breasted Cotton Trench Coat
  • Ted Baker Endurance Kirkham Belted Trench Coat
  • Burberry London Cotton-gabardine Trench Coat
  • Aquascutum Pattison Single Breasted Trench Coat
Final Word

Between work and off-duty wardrobes, smart and casual, showers and sunshine, dressing well for spring is no mean feat. Yet equipping yourself with one these five key jackets gives you a focal point around which to build a myriad of springtime looks, no matter what the weather’s like outside.

What’s your go-to spring jacket? Will you be investing in one of these styles to see you through to summer?

Comment below to let us know.