When it comes to menswear, we spend so much of our time focusing on the primary seasons that we often forget about the transitory periods between each. As a result, difficulties often arise when spring and fall show their unique faces. We’re either too cold, or too warm, depending on the time of day, and due to limited capacity within our bags, carriers, or briefcases, our inability to add or shed layers can become a serious detriment to our comfort.
Luckily, the menswear world’s largest brands were already well aware of the difficulties surrounding inter-season adornment. To answer our cry for capable, middle-weight clothing that could be utilized on a whim, they took to the drawing board to create the shirt jacket — a versatile style piece that would act as a simple but obvious solution to the shortcomings of traditional outerwear. Below, we’ve curated a list of our favorites from around the space, focusing primarily on capability, comfort, and compatibility with other items in our wardrobe, including shirts, button-ups, and lighter garments. So, without further adieu, let’s dive right in.
Carhartt Rugged Flex Rigby
It’s rare that we kick off one of our lists with Carhartt, but in this case, we’re willing to accept that fact. The brand’s Rugged Flex Rigby is an essential cold-weather accessory that’ll check all the boxes of heavier, more expensive models, without making your wallet feel lighter than it’s been in months. Just because it’s affordable, doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in terms of quality and composure. Each example boasts a heavyweight, stretch-canvas construction, a fleece-lined interior, and a spread collar/full-button front, giving it a classic appeal that’s comfortable, stylish, and functionally-sound. Plus, with Carhartt’s recognizable iconography on its exterior, the rugged, yet refined Rigby will let everyone in your circle know that you mean business.
There are shirt jackets that are created to take a more stylish approach to the outerwear genre, and there are garments that place “functional” form at the forefront. It’s rare that the two collide, but thanks to Wellen’s Stretch shirt, you’ve just found one of the shirt-jacket world’s finest examples. This versatile, hybridized garment is inspired by classic workwear silhouettes and features a suite of sustainable materials — like organic cotton and hemp — to keep it as environmentally conscious as possible. This, paired with the piece’s unique stretch material, allows wearers to adopt this structured staple for work, or play, providing mobility that’s unmatched by a handful of its inter-league competitors. The best part? Off the shelf, Wellen’s Stretch jacket is garment-washed and pre-shrunk, giving it that “worn in” appeal that often takes months to emerge.
Everlane’s Heavyweight shirt jacket is lauded as the company’s “most versatile” winter layer, and after taking one look at the stylish piece, you should understand why. This attractive outerwear piece features a handsomely-realized heavy cotton twill construction, resulting in a weighty, tangible feel that’s almost twice as heavy as the brand’s Japanese Oxford cloth. Due to its unique look and feel, the Heavyweight acts as an amazing mid-layer that can complement your coat, windbreaker, or insulated jacket, while also being versatile enough to act on its own as a light outerwear layer on those chillier days.
Goldwin Cordura Coverall
Goldwin’s Cordura Coverall is brimming with formal influence, but thanks to its various colorways, it can also be utilized as a stylish, outdoor-inspired layer. To keep things sturdy, the brand has opted to craft the shirt jacket from a relaxed, but abrasion-resistant CORDURA, prolonging its life as a versatile alternative to your heavier coats. Due to its lightweight demeanor, it works perfectly as a traditional shirt, helping you to face the transition from mild to cooler temperatures, courtesy of its adjustable snap cuffs and large side-entry pockets. Want to utilize it as a true outer layer? It can do that too, thanks to its loose-fitting silhouette.
Topo Designs Field
Topo Designs always catches our attention with its unique, colorful layouts. The brand’s Field shirt jacket is no different. This time, things are a little less vibrant, but that doesn’t take away from the garment’s utilitarian presence. Inspired by the straight silhouettes of classic military jackets, this formidable cold-weather piece adopts a rugged cotton/nylon ripstop fabric construction, reinforced snap closures, and an intuitive hang loop that allows you to dry the Field in the correct orientation. To channel the company’s mountainous lineage, Topo has called upon a number of outdoor-inspired fabrics, colors, and additions, including spacious internal pockets for tool and device storage.
Filson C.C.F. Coat
Filson has perfected the formula or hybridized clothing, and the C.C.F. Coat is a product of that knowledgeable expertise. Bridging the gap between workwear and common, everyday jackets, this unique piece takes on a durable, tightly-woven 12-ounce cotton duck construction, helping to deter cuts, knicks, and abrasions while on the job site. This is also great for more casual wear, as it staves off abrasions that would turn lesser models into mincemeat. The C.C.F.’s durable traits are complemented by a bevy of external additions, including a front snap closure that can be utilized while wearing gloves, adjustable cuffs for adequate heat retention, and raglan sleeves that provide improved range of motion over other garments. If you’re feeling a little froggy, throw it on over some of your favorite torso pieces for increased warmth.
Madewell Quilted Indigo
Madewell enjoys its position within the menswear world. It acts as the perfect middle-ground between affordability and significant monetary investment, giving it an appeal that few companies can match. The brand’s Quilted Indigo shirt jacket, for example, sits at the halfway point of our list, providing wearers with a functional, seasoned alternative to the genre’s more expensive offerings. Much like the garment’s neutral standing, its purpose is also suited for versatility. Thanks to its supersoft worn-in cotton construction, pearlized, western-inspired snap buttons, and unique yoke, the Indigo straddles the line between fall and winter, acting as an intermediary between the two. Of course, this isn’t the only time of the year that it can be utilized.
Flint And Tinder CPO
Flint and Tinder’s heritage appeal is second to none, and the CPO shirt jacket is a testament to that fact. Inspired by the original CPO model, which acted as a stylish icon worn by U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officers, this militaristic take is nothing short of dependable. Its clean design is defined by Flint and Tinder’s best-selling built-in stretch fabric, dual button-flap chest pockets, and a pair of classic side welt hand-warmers or ample storage. But, what makes the CPO so special is its layering potential. As an ideally-weighted alternative to heavier coats and jackets, it provides just enough warmth when utilized alongside your traditional torso pieces, without encumbering you and reducing your mobility. Plus, due to its comfortable stretch fabric, you’ll never have to worry about your lower layers bunching up, becoming uncomfortable, or pinching like they would with a more constrictive style staple.
Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece
Patagonia’s Better Sweater Fleece is a warm, mid-weight staple that’ll add comfortable clarity to any outfit. It draws from the brand’s unique outdoor experience to provide qualities that you might only find in older, more heritage-inspired clothing pieces, thanks to its soft, sweater-knit fleece, heathered yarns, and lined interior. Since the shirt jacket’s fabrics are all 100% recycled, they’re also more attractive for those who have decided to take a more conscious approach to their outerwear. Each example uses less dye, energy, and water to produce, making it an instant classic, as well as one that’s primed to change the clothing industry for the better.
Outerknown’s sustainable appeal is well-known, and with each garment that the company produces, their mission becomes even more clear. Alongside the brand’s outstanding, surf-inspired gear, the Blanket shirt jacket provides a more winter-friendly approach, helping wearers to bridge the gap between the mellow summer season and the lively winter waves. While it’s defined as a “year-round” model, the Blanket truly shines in chillier environments, thanks to its heavyweight organic cotton twill construction, button-flap chest pockets, and side-seam hand warmers. To make things even more interesting, the brand has also gifted the garment with a set of impact-resistant natural corozo buttons, making it a perfect companion for chaotic travel.
Taylor Stitch Quilted
When it comes to Taylor Stitch’s Quilted shirt jacket, you won’t find a piece that’s quite as unique, especially in terms of its multi-generational design. This aesthetically-pleasing garment features a timeless silhouette that makes use of patterned quilts to keep it functional, formal, and interesting, while a small helping of cozy insulation helps to keep heat-retention at an adequate level. Each garment is crafted from a 12-ounce hemp/ recycled polyester/organic cotton/spandex blend, giving it renowned qualities in terms of mobility and comfort. This, paired with a brushed organic cotton blanket lining, YKK antique brass snap closures, and a subtle dropped-back hem, gives the Quilted a leg up on its competition in terms of true vintage appeal.
Faherty’s Cooper is a lightweight garment that’s been built for everyday wear. Crafted primarily for those in-between seasons where the weather can seem a bit indecisive, this unique garment features a layer-savvy silhouette that’s primed for use alongside your less-versatile style staples. It’s roomy, soft, and thoughtful, providing wearers with a fully-lined interior, adjustable snap cuffs, and internal pockets for adequate gear storage. Plus, it’s one of the cleanest shirt jacket silhouettes that we’ve seen in some time, earning our vote as one of this list’s most prominent picks.
Mission Workshop Nash
Mission Workshop’s Nash shirt could be passed off as a classic button-up if given the chance. Fortunately, that’s the mark of a true shirt jacket staple. This subtle garment features a suite of modern, engineered fibers, formidable yarns, and breathability that’s second to none, making it an adaptable alternative to some of the heavier examples on this list. Where the Nash shines, however, is in its versatility alongside layered shirts. Since it’s roomier than other models, it can transition from a traditional base layer to an over-the-top accessory with ease, providing ample warmth whenever the situation dictates. To round things out, the shirt’s natural wool construction helps to keep odors at bay, making it a prominent choice for work situations where sweat and strenuous activity are commonplace.
Woolrich Alaskan Quilted
Woolrich’s Alaskan Quilted shirt is the perfect choice for those days where you can’t decide between a jacket and a common undershirt. To amplify its standing as the perfect mid-weight piece, this layered example features a thick Melton wool blend, Thermore insulation, and a quilted nylon liner for increased protection against the elements. Of course, this wouldn’t matter much if the shirt wasn’t designed to look great alongside your other clothing items, right? With the Alaskan Quilted, you’ll never have to worry about your aesthetic appeal, thanks to its tasteful pointed collar, signature Buffalo Check logo tag, and snap-fastened pockets.
Todd Snyder Wool Cruiser
Todd Snyder is rounding out our list once again, and this time, its with the brand’s substantial Wool Cruiser. As one of the heavier and more tangible garments in this guide, it struggles to adhere to the sleek, slimline profile of its competitors. That’s not all bad, though, considering it owns its role as an oversized style staple crafted from premium Italian double-face wool fabric. Each olive example is crafted with materials from Italy’s Tessuti di Sondrio, providing impeccable quality, durability, and layering potential. On top of being one of the most eye-catching shirt jackets on the market today, it also boasts a traditional, four-pocket style, woven trim detailing, and partially-lined Bemberg sleeves, illustrating its tasteful lineage.
The 12 Best Base Layers For Winter
Looking for some amazing, low-profile garments to pair with your new shirt jacket? Head over to our guide on the best base layers for winter, where we highlight the clothing items you’ll need to make your seasonal transition a lot easier.
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