The Best Men’s Spring Jackets: Lightweight and Perfect for Layering

by Beau Hayhoe  |  in Smart Casual

What comes after a festive holiday season? The long winter months of January through March. Endless weeks of rain, snow, wind, and freezing temps…

Until one day, the weather is no longer unbearable. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, you no longer have to wear your winter coat. It’s spring!

And that’s great news! But, one problem: Your lightweight outerwear rotation isn’t quite up to snuff. That’s where your team at Effortless Gent comes in handy. You deserve to know about the best men’s spring jackets (across a range of different styles, of course), and we’re here to help you out.

The same principles we always preach here at EG still apply: Fit, quality, and versatility. The best men’s spring jackets extend far beyond what you might think of at first—this ever-changing season isn’t just about rain jackets.

You can still have plenty of fun—yes, fun!—with spring outerwear for breezy days and (hopefully) warmer nights.

It’s a little bit like fall. There’s a lot you can wear, from a rugged denim trucker jacket to a lightweight cotton field jacket. And, of course, your tried-and-true rain jacket.

So let’s get into it, shall we?

Lighter-weight Options For Spring

When you have pretty typical, transitional spring weather (increasingly warmer as the months roll on), you’re gonna need a lightweight spring jacket. This will serve as the perfect outerwear piece that keeps you warm enough, without overheating.

The Chore Coat

The best men’s spring jackets should be as versatile and functional as they are stylish. Enter the increasingly popular chore coat. Originally worn by French laborers in the 19th century, the chore coat’s simplicity and utility has transcended time and trends to become a truly versatile men’s wardrobe staple.

Bridge & Burn’s Amos Chore Coat sits perfectly at that crossroads. It’s made with tough, water-repellent waxed canvas in a chore jacket silhouette, making this the ideal way to switch things up when you get tired of wearing your trusty blazer.

You should also check out versions from Spier & Mackay (classic and refined), Jungmaven (made from hemp fabric and cut and sewn in Los Angeles), and Alex Mill (made from a rich recycled denim).

Levi’s Denim Trucker Jacket

We know we can count on Levi’s to deliver classic menswear with a modern twist.

A light wash denim jacket is a spring go-to. It layers with ease over everything from a thermal henley to a white Oxford shirt, and it wears well with olive or tan chinos.

Levi's Denim Jacket

The original jean jacket since 1967. Can buy true to size for the perfect fit, or size up if you want to wear a thicker layer undreneath. 100% Cotton, button closure, hits at hip.

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02/15/2023 01:48 am GMT

Feeling edgy? Try it with black denim and tan suede chukka boots.

Not much more to say, really. If you don’t already have one, it’s time to add it to your wardrobe!

The M-65 Field Jacket

No spring jacket round-up is complete without the ever-versatile M-65 field jacket. Many brands make this popular style, from Alpha Industries (one of the OGs) to J.Crew.

The M-65 is historically significant. It was originally designed for American soldiers heading to Vietnam, and is a descendent of the M-51 model, and the M-43 before that. The beauty of this field jacket is its utility and versatility, plus the fact that it’s still so relevant and stylish after 55+ years.

Above, you’ll see some of our favorite M-65s we’ve recommended over the years.

Battenwear Packable Anorak

Bear with us for one second as we add this rain-appropriate number to our list of the best men’s spring jackets. More specifically, we’re going to add something truly adventure-ready.

Battenwear Packable Anorak

"The Packable Anorak is a Battenwear oldie and real goodie, inspired by the unpredictable spring/summer weather in NYC. Open the center zip pocket and flip the anorak into itself—you’re left with a compact package. The seams on each side have comfy hand pockets. The deep zip on the right side makes the anorak easy to slip on and off." -Battenwear. Made from a water-repellent Taslan nylon for SS22.

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As Battenwear says, this anorak is inspired by the unpredictable NYC spring weather, which… accurate.

It’s a fun, easy-to-wear design with classic anorak features (packs into itself, drawstring hem) as well as other well thought-out details, like the deep zips which make it easy to take on and off, the button placket, and the hand pockets on each side.

Plenty of room for your everyday carry essentials.

The Harrington Jacket

A bit on the preppier side, but a classic, easy-to-wear style nonetheless, the Harrington jacket is a must-have in your trend-proof Lean Wardrobe.

Lightweight, spring- and summer-friendly Harringtons are typically made from a cotton or poly blend with soft knit ribbing at the cuffs and waist. The jacket often features a (slightly extended, double button closure) stand-up collar and a hem that typically hits at the hip.

Originally, they were known only as Baracutas or a G9, many brands now make their own versions of this jacket.

By the way, it’s easy to mistake the Harrington for a bomber jacket since they look somewhat similar. Some of the Harrington’s defining features are the knit ribbing at the cuffs and stand-up collar as I previously mentioned, as well as slanted flap pockets, and raglan style sleeves.

Of course, you’ll find some bombers with Harrington details, and vice versa. If you’re unsure, you can always DM me on Instagram and I’ll try to help you out.

Heavier-weight and rain-friendly options

Spring doesn’t mean delightful warm weather for everyone! The type of spring weather you get is highly dependent on where you live. Here are some options to keep you warm (but not too warm) and dry.

American Trench Coat in Dark Navy

We promised you we’d move beyond spring rain jackets in this post — but not before we tell you all about the one spring rain jacket you really need.

What’s not to love about this American Trench coat? The Ventile cloth exterior is totally water-repellent, the silhouette is trim and easy to layer (even over a blazer and an Oxford shirt), and the crisp navy color goes with any combination you can dream up.

American Trench Coat

It’s as classic as it gets, with a trench coat silhouette that’s at once retro and modern. Be sure to pick yours up in time for spring rain, and know that this is one American Trench review (among many) that you can trust.

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It’s a workhorse during the week and right through the weekend, so it’s worth the price you’re paying up front (we think, at least).

Dehen Varsity Jacket

There’s something simple yet remarkable about the varsity jacket silhouette. It’s certainly stood the test of time. And Dehen has made one of the coolest renditions out there (in multiple colorways, no less). It’s refined and elevated to transcend that “high school jock” stereotype to become so, so much more.

Dehen Varsity Jacket

"William Dehen built the first Dehen varsity jacket in 1951. Sixty years and countless jackets later, Dehen continues to craft every jacket by hand, using time honored methods, and the best materials." -Dehen. Several colors available.

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For weekend coffee outings or a night out at your favorite brewpub, the Dehen Varsity Jacket will wear quite nicely with faded indigo denim and a white slub tee. This varsity jacket is perfect for the cooler (temperature-wise) days and nights. Think of it as the best men’s spring jacket your off-duty uniform.

Tap through to see the other available colorways.

Falcon Garments MA-1 Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket has gone through fits and starts over the years, from its roots as a military-ready garment to its celeb-driven resurgence over the past half-decade. So, why start wearing one now?

In short: The MA1 nylon bomber jacket (especially this handsome olive number from Falcon Garments) is the definition of a grab-and-go spring jacket. It’s weather-ready yet not too bulky, it’s easy to layer, and it goes with most of your wardrobe already.

Falcon Garments MA1 Nylon Bomber

"Water- and wind-resistant nylon outer insulated with a 4-oz. fill and snapped pockets with a modern fit." -Falcon Garments. Several colorways and customization options available.

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Don’t believe us? Try it with a white slub henley and tan chinos the next time you want to look sharp – but not too dressed up.

A Few Q&A About Spring Jackets

You’ve got questions about the best type of spring jackets? We gotcha covered. If you have other Qs not listed here, let us know!

What jacket is best for spring?

There is no one definitive answer, as it depends on what time of the year, how cold it is where you live, and your personal body temps!

In general, you want to go with a jacket that’s lighter weight. Of course, if it’s early spring, and you live in a place that’s still cold (like me, here, in NYC), it might make more sense to go with something mid-weight, or with a bit of insulation.

What jacket is best for summer?

If you live in an area that experiences true summer weather (hot and humid), then you may not need a jacket at all. But if you’re spending time indoors and the AC may be cranked up, a lightweight layer would be nice to have. Something like a standard harrington or M-65 field jacket would do the trick.

What’s the best lightweight jacket?

The best lightweight jackets have no insulation, and are often just the “shell”. Many jacket styles are made this way, from lightweight bombers, to Harringtons, to anoraks. Lightweight jackets will act as a windbreaker and can be used as a very light, non-obtrusive, outermost layer in your outfit.

Is a puffer jacket good for spring?

That depends! If you live in a colder place, then a puffer jacket would make sense to wear throughout spring, especially if you tend to get cold. But if it quickly warms up where you are, you should stick to some of the spring jackets we mention above in this article!

Are bomber jackets OK for summer?

Sure! Bomber jackets are simply a style of jacket, but the jacket itself can be made from many different materials, from nylon to heavy leather. So if you have a lightweight nylon or cotton bomber jacket, that could work well for the summer if you tend to get cold, or are spending lots of time in a heavily air-conditioned room.

Was that helpful?

That’s it! Which jacket’s your fave?

If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!