Three basic spring coats

by Jennifer Ortakales / Beacon Correspondent • March 28, 2013

We all know that magical feeling when it gets warm enough to shed the layers and no longer have to bundle up in scarves, hats, and heavy coats. As the moment approaches, the outerwear that emerges is lighter, more versatile, and carefree. 

Most people only have one bulky winter coat that they wear every day, but once spring comes around, options open up. Your outfits aren’t hidden under a shapeless coat anymore. Instead, the jackets you wear complement your outfit and let the rest of your clothes take center stage. With more options available, there are three basic jackets to fill your spring needs.

The first is the ultimate classic — the trench coat. It shields you from the rain but is no ordinary raincoat. Originally created for British WWI army officers by Burberry, these jackets held up in the trenches and still thrive today as one of the most popular outerwear styles. The camel color goes with anything, so there’s no need to coordinate an outfit to match your trench.

While the first designs were intended for males, today’s looks include flattering A-line styles for females. This silhouette is perfect for wearing with dresses because the coat forms to the dress shape, whereas other jackets end too short or are too thick. Winter coats often leave awkward bits of a dress bulging out underneath, but trench coats fit just right with any dress style because they are slim, yet have room below the waist for any volume skirt.

Many males underestimate the power of a sharp trench. It’s a go-to option for work because it’s light enough to wear on top of a suit, but it can also add class to a casual look. Ankle-length trenches are outdated but a style that hits just at your fingertips is modern. Instead of the classic tan, try black or white for an edgier look.

Jean jackets are the second essential in spring outerwear. Well before they became the American classic, Levi Strauss created them as a durable work uniform for miners and cowboys in the West. It’s now become a sort of uniform for students, artists, and West Coasters.

Denim looks good with almost any outfit; however don’t make the mistake of wearing this jacket with jeans. Denim on denim only works in some cases, like a chambray with a different wash of jeans. But because jean jackets have a rough, bold look, too much blue denim is overwhelming. Colored denim, on the other hand, is more flexible to work with. A denim jacket with red jeans is doable because the color breaks up the outfit.

Men and women look equally cool in these all-American jackets. Women can wear them rocker style with black pants and a vintage tee, or bohemian style with a maxi dress and high-heeled sandals. Men can pair a jean jacket with a cardigan and chinos, or even a button-down and tie.

The leather jacket is the last basic in a complete wardrobe. This jacket has gone through an evolution: from beginning as a brown, bomber jacket worn by aviators, to the first Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket sold in the 20s, to the rebellious jacket of 50s movie star fame, and finally the high-fashion piece it is today. It gives the ultimate edgy vibe to any outfit, and is relatively versatile. Far from the jackets worn by James Dean and John Travolta, current styles are more fitted and come in an array of fabulous colors.

The latest trend for women is leather in pastels like mint and bubblegum. These pair well with white, simple, and clean silhouettes. No longer restricted to motorcyclists, the recent trend for men is more utilitarian with military inspired outer pockets and details. This style makes the most casual outfits, like jeans and a T-shirt, more intriguing and distinguished. Not to mention, the second a guy puts a leather jacket on, he’ll get women to swoon.

Spring weather can be unpredictable. Temperatures can be chilly one day and warm the next, while some days get downpours without warning. But having three very different, but equally versatile, options available will keep you prepared.