By Leah Melby Clinton
In most parts of the country, fall weather can vary widely even in the course of a day—snow isn’t unheard of, and neither is a streak of blazing sun. That unpredictability makes outerwear all the more important. A just-right layer can be a game-changer, and to help you get set with yours for the season, we asked fashion pros for the picks they count on most. From casual zipped styles by Bonobos or Tom Beckbe to polished, buttoned-up versions by J. Crew or Billy Reid, these are the jackets you’ll want in your closet.
$425 at Filson
This “structured, incredibly well made” Filson coat is a version of the outdoor-enthusiast retailer’s classic from the ’20s, says Brandon Little, president of product design for Detroit-based watch company Shinola. The design is “simple yet functional,” he points out: four pockets in front, plus a horizontal “reach-through” one in back extending the width of the jacket. It’s constructed to withstand the elements too, Little says. Made of water-resistant waxed canvas, it “handles light rain or snow with no problem.”
$199 at Bonobos
With its single zip and banded cuffs and waist, this clean-lined, ’60s-inspired Bonobos coat is easy to dress up (for the workday) or down (for nights out), which is why Joseph Carrillo, a New York City-based makeup artist who works with fashion editors and celebrities—considers it a fall staple. It’s lightweight, made of a cotton-nylon blend with a water-resistant exterior, and its quilted lining adds a touch of softness and extra warmth.
$498 at J. Crew
Anyone who’s a big fan of blazers—like Peter D’Ascoli, the creative director of the New Delhi, India-based textile house D’Ascoli—will want this tailored, tweed J. Crew one on their fall shopping list. Cut from high-quality, 100% hand-woven Scottish wool, according to the company, it’s insulating enough to count as outerwear in addition to office wear, D’Ascoli says. “It’ll feel good for casual walks in the woods or hacking about, and it’s ideal for layering over sweaters.”
$278 at Billy Reid
$398 Save $120
A boxy fit and roomy front pockets are hallmarks of the chore coat, a style initially intended for laborers, and these days the loose fit works well with practically any type of shirt or layered over a sweater. Textile designer John Robshaw wears this crinkly cotton Billy Reid chore coat when he wants a no-frills look at work in New York City and Connecticut. “It’s great with jeans or more tailored pants,” he says, adding, “I like how it looks a bit worn in.”
$80 at UniQlo
Lightweight and easy to toss in a suitcase Uniqlo’s down-filled jackets are a go-to for fashion pros like John Truex, the Aiken, S.C-based creative director of Ghurka. “I have these in multiple colors because they fit nicely under jackets and blazers,” he says. A water-repellent exterior makes this outerwear indispensable too. “I always keep one in my bag,” Truex says. “When you roll it up, it becomes incredibly compact.”
$530 at A.P.C
New York City-based fashion publicist Mohamed M. Alladin lives in indigo throughout the fall. “I like the durability of denim,” he says, and this richly hued A.P.C. coat “handles the stress of taking the subway every day.” With a faux sheepskin lining and quilted cotton sleeves, it also offers more warmth than a typical, unlined jean jacket.
$159 at L.L Bean
Jeff E. Parrott, owner of a home-barware shop in New Canaan, Conn., wears this thick, L.L. Bean cable-knit cardigan as a jacket alternative. “It’s very Hemingway and ‘The Old Man and the Sea’” he says of the shawl-collar style he purchased in navy. Known as a fisherman’s or Aran sweater, this type of cardigan was originally crafted for Irish seafarers; even in today’s iterations like L.L. Bean’s, the heavy cotton yarn provides enough warmth to keep you cozy in early fall, though the fit is slimmer and more modern.
$495 at Tom Beckbe
Lightweight and resistant to water, waxed canvas is the practical fabric behind this stylish Tom Beckbe jacket, which Parrott purchased in a military-inspired print. (“Camo is my black,” he says of the neutral pattern.) Gussets at the underarm enable more movement than a standard zip-up, and a vertical-zip pocket at the center of the chest offers easy access to essentials like a phone or wallet.
$935 at Schott
Devoid of the bulky belts and excess pockets typically associated with motorcycle jackets, this sleeker version is a top pick of Little’s for its “fitted, slim aesthetic” and exceptional construction. Three zipped exterior pockets are complemented by an interior pocket at the breast, and each panel of the jacket is cut by hand before being stitched together, according to the company. The size offerings are more inclusive than others too, ranging from XS to 3XL.
$1,095 at Brit & Blue
This high-end, handmade piece toes the line between polished and laid-back. Made of durable Duck Cloth canvas, “it’s tailored like a luxury piece, but rugged as all hell,” says Parrott, who loves his for its ability to make dressy occasions feel less fussy. The Kentucky-based brand says it will begin offering made-to-measure options this fall, though ready-to-wear options will continue to be available via select retailers.
$2,610 at Agnona
If fall is considered “sweater weather,” a jacket made of a luxurious knit makes perfect sense. Take this single-breasted cashmere blazer: Having purchased his nearly 20 years ago, Truex still wears it “all around town,” to this day, he says. “I live in the South where it isn’t that cold, so this is a great layer that I can rely on.” Even those in colder climes will find this a versatile piece—it can be worn on its own or easily be layered under other jackets.
$2,690 at Mr. Porter
At the top of Carrillo’s outerwear wish list is a varsity bomber. “I’m obsessed right now,” he says of this chic designer version that made its debut on the runway nearly a decade ago but hasn’t lost any of its luster. “It can be dressed up with a button-up for that McDreamy look or dressed down with a white tee and some old jeans.” Made of 90% wool, it’s also plenty warm, Carrillo notes, whether worn atop a sweater or over a favorite T-shirt.
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