10 Spring Jackets All Men Should Own

Want to know the secret to nailing transitional dressing? We’re going to let you in on an insider tip: it’s all about the jacket. Get that right and everything else will fall into place.

Outerwear often gets overlooked in the spring, but it shouldn’t. People are so desperate for it to be summer that they underdress and end up uncomfortable. Either that or they go the other way and sweat through the transitional months in a winter coat that’s overkill for the changing temperatures.

The solution: invest in a tried-and-tested transitional jacket that’s built for spring conditions. We’re talking mid-weight, short length and good for layering up or down. Tick all of these boxes and you’ll breeze through spring and beyond in style. Curious? Here are a few of our favourite spring jacket silhouettes for your consideration.

Suede Jacket

Want to instantly lend an outfit a touch of class, sophistication and purpose? A suede jacket is what you need. This upscale outerwear option is perfect for adding texture to outfits and elevating even the simplest of looks with ease.

There are plenty of suede jacket styles to choose from, but the bomber jacket and overshirt are two of our favourites thanks to their timelessness and versatility. These are two jackets that can quickly elevate casual outfits or be used to give smarter looks a stylish, contemporary edge. Opt for a classic colour, like navy, brown or beige, and you’ll be able to team it up with everything from T-shirts and jeans to tailoring.

For anyone on a budget, there are plenty of decent faux-suede options out there, but it’s always best to get hands on before buying and make sure the fabric feels and looks realistic. If you do go for the real deal, make sure to use a suede-protector to shield it against any unexpected April showers.

Safari Jacket

As you can probably guess by the name and its multi-pocket utilitarian design, the safari jacket was born out of the military. It was initially designed for use by English and European soldiers stationed in South Africa during the Second Boer War.

Given the climate and demands of war, they needed a lightweight jacket that would keep them cool and camouflaged while also enabling them to carry plenty of personal cargo. Cue a rugged khaki cotton jacket with large bellow pockets that became popular in the 1970s after Yves Saint Laurent released a one-off, and Roger Moore wore various styles in the guise of James Bond.

In recent years, the sartorial crowd has gleefully appropriated it, elevating it into a useful piece of tailored outerwear. The design hasn’t changed much over the decades, but the fabrics have, with super-soft linens offering a nice breezy layer in the summer and more luxe belted renditions in cashmere for winter.

Today’s styles have veered into shacket territory thanks to unstructured cotton versions, making them a versatile option for adding a utilitarian twist to a simple pair of chinos and a T-shirt.

Field Jacket

The modern field jacket has become an indispensable part of stylish menswear, offering a masculine silhouette and tonnes of practicality. Much like the safari jacket, the field jacket’s origins are military, which is why the two often get mixed up.

While they share many details, there are some crucial differences: the field jacket tends to be constructed from a heavy cotton twill and is thus better positioned as a spring or autumn jacket when the weather is cooler. It’s more rugged and generally features a short funnel collar. It’s also often made in dark tones such as khaki green and navy, unlike the safari jacket’s lighter tan and beige default palette.

The beauty of the field jacket is that you can throw it over just about anything in your wardrobe and look decent. We love using it to add rugged appeal to a knitted polo shirt and tapered chinos with loafers, but you could just as easily wear it with selvedge denim jeans and a pair of sneakers. Equally, we’ve seen some great examples of guys wearing field jackets over smart suits at Pitti Uomo, which is a compelling juxtaposition.

Worker Jacket

With a simple, practical design, the chore jacket, aka worker jacket, has been doing the rounds ever since it came to life in 19th-century France, where it was the daily uniform for ‘blue-collar’ workers. In fact, that very term was spun out from the chore jacket itself since those early iterations were dyed with a vibrant benzoate-based blue dye to hide the dirt and stains of outdoor labour.

In the modern era, the late street-style photographer Bill Cunningham famously wore the blue chore jacket daily. Still made from cotton, today’s chore jackets have largely deviated from the bright blue style, with Japanese makers popularising indigo-dyed denim versions and contemporary menswear labels creating a raft of options in softer tones.

What we love about the chore jacket is that it’s not really a ‘jacket’ at all – consider it an easy-to-wear overshirt that you can combine with simple tees for an effortless summer look. Denim jeans or cotton twill cargo pants are the chore jacket’s natural foils, complementing the workwear heritage.

If you’re on a budget, you can always find classic blue styles at vintage or military surplus stores, while contemporary menswear brands that lean on a workwear aesthetic will always have fresh options.

Denim Jacket

The denim jacket is the stuff of layering legend. Low-profile enough to slot comfortably underneath an overcoat yet robust enough to serve as an outer layer, it’s perfect for changeable spring weather and you’ll probably find yourself using it in the summer, fall and winter too.

Our go-to style will always be a raw denim trucker jacket. It’s a classic garment with a stylish mid-century look that gets better with every wear and goes with just about anything. It’s a must-have piece in our eyes and one of the best spring jackets there is.

Wear it on its own over a white tee with cream pants and a pair of Converse, or layer up with a parka and knitwear on colder days.


If you choose just one transitional jacket, a quality overshirt is probably the best option. It’s the best of the bunch in terms of versatility; able to be called upon through all four seasons and worn with almost anything… depending on what style you choose.

For the uninitiated, an overshirt falls somewhere between shirt and jacket. It’s designed to be worn over the top of a shirt, tee or sweater (hence the name), with jacket-like features such as patch pockets. It’s usually unlined and can be easily layered on top of too.

One of our favourite overshirt styles is the worker jacket. It features a classic collar, button front, three patch pockets and is usually made from thick cotton fabric like twill or drill. Wear it with workwear staples like raw denim and leather boots.

Bomber Jacket

Originally designed to keep military pilots warm at high altitudes, this ex-forces favourite has fully integrated back into civilian life. It features a round neck, cropped length, ribbed cuffs and hem with a zip fastening to the front. Classic versions are made from shiny nylon fabric and feature a zip pocket to the sleeve.

Traditionally, a bomber jacket is best worn casually with things like jeans and plain tees. However, there are luxe options out there that make it possible to style a bomber in a dressier manner too. For this, opt for a premium material like suede or leather in a dark colour and team it up with dress pants, knitwear and business casual footwear.


A windbreaker is a sporty spring option that’s functional and can look great too. The ongoing gorpcore trend for technical, outdoorsy gear has brought this style back into the spotlight, making it a great choice for those looking for a practical transitional jacket that’s timely too.

Windbreakers may be practical but they’re not particularly versatile when it comes to styling. This is a casual style and is best avoided when wearing tailoring or smart casual clothes. Stick to sportswear, outdoors-inspired pieces and other weekend-ready garb and you can’t go wrong.


Another type of jacket that’s been revived thanks to gorpcore is the fleece. Thick-pile versions like Patagonia’s iconic Retro-X have been flying off shelves at machine-gun pace for a couple of years now, with many high-fashion houses and designer labels following suit and releasing their own take. Vintage versions of that particular fleece can fetch multiple hundreds on eBay and Grailed, and the hunger for fleece doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon.

We love fleece because it adds texture to outfits and is excellent for layering. It’s also comfortable, cosy and ideal for those spring days when the weather’s neither here nor there. It’s surprisingly versatile when it comes to styling too, but we like it best with classic outdoors, military and workwear-inspired pieces like cargo pants, work boots and down jackets.

Harrington Jacket

The Harrington jacket is a 1950s icon that’s still a solid choice to this day. Popularised by Hollywood heartthrobs of the era and later by the mod and skinhead subcultures in the UK, it’s a style steeped in history and culture.

The Harrington’s trademark cropped length and light weight make it perfect for the transitional weather. It works best as part of a smart casual outfit and can look razor sharp when paired with preppy pieces like an Oxford shirt, knitwear, chinos and loafers.

It’s also an excellent casual jacket and goes great with jeans, T-shirts and sneakers.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.