Because of all the rain that’s been happening here in LA and the East Coast, I’ve been trying to find stylish yet practical jackets for some of my clients who are doing press right now along the soggy coasts. I found this awesome snokel jacket that fit the bill perfectly.
I was so excited to find a lightweight snorkel jacket that fit the bill perfectly. A snorkel jacket is basically a parka. It’s a 3/4 length jacket hitting mid-thigh and has a drawstring hood that can tighten so your entire face is covered except a small breathing hole, hence the name snorkel. A lightweight jacket, like the one in the image, will also take you through Spring and is easy to layer under.
My favorite sweaters for this time of year are crewnecks and cardigans – either regular or shawl collar styles. They’re great because not only do they keep you warm, but they allow you to create a bunch of new looks depending on how you layer them with the other items you own.
I like crewnecks because they can be worn over t-shirts, unlike v-neck sweaters which look weird with t-shirts under them, and they look great in casual outfits or can take a more dressy outfit, like a suited look, and dress it down, while still adding a nice, warm layer to your outfit.
The two things you have to do, though, and I’ll say this forever, is:
If you are a broader guy, then crewnecks 100% of the time have to be worn as a layering piece only. So underneath a jacket, blazer or suit – never on their own because, otherwise, it’ll create a huge swath of fabric on your torso and accentuate your size. Trust me, you don’t want this. (Watch my video at the top for examples).
For any body type, you always want to make sure your crewneck sweater fits like a glove. Make sure you can’t pinch more than an inch of fabric on the back of your tricep and no more than 2 inches of fabric on one side of your belly.
As for length, ensure the sleeves generally stop around the bend of your wrist, and make sure it is no longer than just past your belt buckle area.
The thing that drives me nuts is when I see guys wearing crewnecks with big bunchy sleeves and rolled or rippled mid-sections. Bleh!
Now let’s move on to cardigans – specifically, regular and shawl collar styles.
Just like crewnecks, they’re great worn over most shirts (even with ties) except v-neck t-shirts (unless it’s a really shallow “V”, otherwise it just looks weird with the double “v”) or polo shirts because the collars never lay or look right with cardigans.
Regular cardigans can pretty much be worn underneath everything up to a suit, while shawl collar cardigans, since they’re usually made of thicker wool or cotton, are typically worn on their own. Think of shawl collar cardigans as knit jackets, basically and wear them in their place.
If you’re a larger guy, regular cardigans are to be worn buttoned up AND only underneath another item as a layering piece. If you were to wear it on it’s own, it’ll make you look super big and wide. (examples shown in the video at the top).
If you have a regular or slim body type, then you can wear regular cardigans on their own, but almost always buttoned up – leave the bottom button undone so it lays nicely and doesn’t look bunched up while you’re sitting. I think when they’re worn unbuttoned, they lose their structure and get really floppy and messy looking.
For shawl collar cardigans, if you’re a broader guy, you should absolutely wear them on their own, but never buttoned up. Leaving it unbuttoned breaks up your width nicely and looks great and hides those problem areas around the midsection and upper body. I really love them for this body type.
If you’re any other body type, you can wear your shawl collar cardigan buttoned or unbuttoned, but remember to leave the bottom button undone, of course.
As to how your cardigans should fit, the same crewneck rules apply:
Pinch no more than 2 inches on one side of your stomach and no more than an inch on the back of your tricep.
It should hit pretty close to past your belt buckle and the sleeves should end somewhere around the bend of your wrist.
The best jackets for the Fall (and Winter if you live in a climate like Southern California) are bombers, trucker & flight jackets, as well as utility (aka M65 aka Safari aka Field) jackets. Now, which one you should wear depends on your body type and how you’ll be wearing it. But I’ll get into that shortly.
The goal with your jacket, just like everything else in your wardrobe, should be to create a sharp, polished look and not draw attention away from the rest of your outfit. With that being said, your jacket is a great place to insert those Fall colors ( I specifically like dark green, camel, navy or black for these jackets) I was talking about in the series intro.
I love a good wool or suede trucker or flight jacket for the Fall. I’m lumping these together because they look very similar. A trucker is basically a denim jacket but in a different material. I’m not going to discuss denim jackets because those are really a spring/summer item because they’re not very warm.
A trucker usually has buttons on the front and a flight jacket has a zipper front. You want to make sure your jacket stops at hip level, like a bomber would, and is fitted through your shoulders and torso. There are a ton of trucker jackets out there that have shearling or fur collars, which I really love, but I’d recommend choosing a jacket where you have the option of removing the collar, that way, you can get two different looks out of one jacket.
If you’re a broader guy, I wouldn’t recommend this jacket because the combination of the collar and shorter length of the jacket will make you look really top heavy. With your body type, whenever you have a jacket that stops at hip level, you want to make sure it’s as streamlined as possible, like a bomber.
Speaking of bomber jackets, I consider them the utility infielder of the jacket world. I use them all the time with clients because they look great on every man, regardless of his body type. They break up your body at the waist nicely, keeping everything proportional.
If you’re a guy with a larger midsection, the one thing to watch out for with bomber jackets is zipping it up. If you do that, you just created a large swath of fabric that’ll actually accentuate your mid-section. So if you’ve got a bit of a belly or are just a bigger guy, do not zip up your bomber jacket, ever. And I’m not joking about that, either.
The last type of jacket I love for Fall and Winter is a utility jacket, aka Safari, Field, or an M65 jacket.
This jacket differs from my other favorites because if it fits well, it’ll hit somewhere between mid to lower crotch – so it’s a great option if you want a longer jacket. But please, nothing longer or shorter than that, otherwise it’ll throw off the proportions of your body. I really like this style for heavier men, almost more than a bomber or trucker style because the slightly longer jacket length and pockets on the front break up your broader torso and will make you look smaller.
And if you’re a thinner guy – just beware of this style of jacket that has a hood in the collar because it will look too bulky/heavy around your thinner frame, especially the neck area, and will actually make you look skinnier. Instead, you need your jacket to have a standing collar or at least a collar that’s free from any puffiness.
Regardless of your body type, this type of jacket needs to be very fitted throughout so it doesn’t look like you’re swimming in a bunch of pockets and fabric. This is important because it can make a thin guy look skinnier and a broader gentlemen look even heavier than he is.
I like suede or leather for Fall/Winter because it’s visually heavier, but just be careful about wearing suede in wet or snowy weather. But if you don’t want leather or suede, you can use a cotton or wool bomber or trucker, as well.
For utility jackets, anything but leather goes. They look a little too 70’s pornstar-ish to me.
Crewnecks are okay, but they’re a more casual item. So for this reason, a V-Neck sweater is essential because it’s the classy mofo of the sweater world. V-necks add a touch of dressy formality that you just won’t get with a crewneck.
I love crewnecks, don’t get me wrong, but most guys don’t know how to wear them so then it starts looking really sloppy. I know some guys like the crew neck and tie or suit look, but I would choose a v-neck or cardigan sweater over a crewneck in this case almost every time.
Let your partner borrow them to snuggle with or wear
Throw them out if they get worn or thin around the elbows or the collar gets stretched out
Wear them with a dress shirt and have the collar resting on top of the “v”
Wear them with shorts
Wear them over Polo Shirts (ever)
Wear them over T-Shirts (ever)
Wear them without any shirt underneath – gross!
Wear them if they have any holes, pilling or they’re worn thin around the elbows
I prefer the V-Neck Sweaters I work with to be made of wool, – either regular or merino wool. Cashmere is also a great fabric, but it’s definitely on the pricier side. If you run a little warmer, then go for a wool/silk or cotton-blended sweater – Pima cotton is also great, but it stretches out very easily.
You need at least 1 black V-Neck Sweater in your closet. If you’ve got a black one already, grab a navy and/or charcoal gray version. These colors will go with everything else in your Essential Wardrobe. If you want a 3rd option, then a darker brown will also go pretty well with your wardrobe, too.
Although the sport coat in the above picture is grey, I’m still recommending a similar outfit but with a brown jacket instead.
September is a tricky month because we’re between seasons, so the weather can be blazing hot one day and chilly the next. This shades of brown outfit will keep you cool during the warmer times and cozy during the crisper days.
A tweed sport coat is the perfect transition piece during this time. Wear with a grey t-shirt, slim khaki chinos (either cuffed at the ankle or not), and brown suede lace-ups during warmer days. When it gets chillier, throw a grey sweater underneath and finish with a chocolate knit scarf.
Billy Reid Virgin Wool Dorsey Blazer in Rust
Diesel ‘Tossik’ V-Neck T-Shirt in Light Grey
Vince Five Pocket Stretch Cotton Pants in Khaki
John W. Nordstrom Woven Leather Belt in Brown
Allen Edmonds Fifth Avenue With Combination Tap Sole in Bitter Chocolate Suede
Take note of the functional, well-designed Barbour Jacket. With more pockets than you’d ever need, the Barbour jacket is practical, and like a leather jacket, will look age nicely. Pair with a blue gingham shirt and navy trousers to complete this outfit. For added warmth, throw on a navy sweater.