In the south, lightweight jackets are an absolute spring essential. We get frequent spells of rain and the bookends to the day are usually brisk, so even though I’m already craving sleeveless tops and dresses, I never leave the house without an extra layer.
In today’s post I’m rounding up this year’s best lightweight spring jackets by type. Then, you’ll find four style pointers to make sure your outfit is enhanced, not encumbered, by your spring layers!
5 Essential Lightweight Spring Jackets
1. Moto Jacket
A moto jacket is one of the most versatile pieces of outerwear you can have on hand. This is because in a traditional hip-length cut, they don’t hide your waistline and can be worn with dresses and skirts in all lengths, denim, pants, and even shorts.
You can go tough-chic with a traditional leather or faux leather biker jacket, but I recommend a softer take for spring. Look for suede or leather jacket options in light neutrals, pastels, and whites. AllSaints and BlankNYC are two of my go-tos when shopping moto jackets.
Blazers are having a moment in oversized and cropped styles, but I love a classic cut that will stand the test of time. Fabrication and color is so important when choosing a versatile blazer for spring—look for mid-weight, breathable fabrics that can be carried into summer.
L’AGENCE and Veronica Beard are known for the fit of their blazers (see my L’AGENCE Kenzie blazer styled here). If they’re out of your current budget category, check out ShopOneThird by fellow blogger See Anna Jane, MANGO, and Banana Republic.
3. Jean Jacket
The denim jacket is a favorite of mine to create a finished look over dresses, floral tops, spring jumpsuits, and even leggings/athleisure. Don’t overthink this one! As long as you have a jean jacket in a classic cut, you can’t go wrong.
If you’re in the market for a jean jacket refresh, here’s a helpful rule of thumb: opt for a darker wash if you plan to wear it dressier and a lighter wash if you plan to wear it casually.
For widely beloved denim jackets at a mid-range price point, check out Levi’s, Madewell, and J.Crew. Look to L’AGENCE and AG if you have a larger budget.
4. Rain Jacket
For April showers, overcast days, and everything in between, a layer that falls on the water-repellent to waterproof spectrum is a must.
If style is your priority, a trench coat will do the job. Consider a mid- or full-length cut so that you have the option to wear it over full-length separates (maxi skirts/dresses and jumpsuits). The trench should, ideally, hit at the hemline of your bottoms or below.
If you live somewhere with heavy spring rain, a parka, anorak, or packable raincoat will lend more functionality. Keep the casual theme going with denim, a tucked tee, waterproof boots, and a belt (to create a waist) underneath.
I’m lumping mid-length and long cardigans into the category of lightweight spring jackets because they might be the most versatile layer in the transition seasons! Usually thin enough to roll into your purse for travel, the office, and errands, a drapey duster adds a touch of elegance.
For spring, look for airy cotton and linen styles—I love to take a linen cardigan on our beach getaways where it’s cool in the morning and evening.
Bonus: Quilted Jackets
Quilted, patchwork jackets are popping up everywhere this season. This is a huge spring 2022 trend and the floral patchwork prints can make them the focal point of your transitional outfits.
My favorite quilted piece of the season is this Veronica Beard reversible jacket. I pulled a few others in the widget below at a variety of price points.
Keep in mind that your layering isn’t limited to just these lightweight spring jacket types. You can absolutely get wear out of your shackets (shirt jackets), sherpas, fleece jackets, faux fur, and puffer jackets if the weather is still cold where you live. And the bomber jacket and utility jacket aren’t out of style.
3 Layering Tips for Lightweight Spring Jackets
The goal of a jacket is to add polish and practicality to your spring outfits, but some frustration can come up when it comes time to choose one.
The wrong spring layer can make a great outfit feel “off” just as much as the right spring layer can make a great outfit even more chic.
Once you learn how to choose the right finishing layer, you’ll love the sophistication and balance they bring.
Below are three tips for layering lightweight spring jackets.
1. Keep Shape at the Forefront of Your Mind
To mitigate looking bulky in your jacket, choose cuts that hit at the natural waist. The more structured your jacket (fitted blazer, cropped and tailored moto, belted trench coat), the less likely you’ll need to emphasize your waist with additional pieces.
When wearing long or oversized spring jackets, emphasize your waist in other ways. Add a belt to your denim or spring skirt to draw the eye there. A half tuck or full tuck can have the same effect.
2. Pair Silhouettes that Work Nicely Together
Combining flowy and structured pieces in your outfit is key to creating balance.
For example, if you’re wearing skinny jeans with a chunkier spring sweater underneath, pick a structured jacket. It should have a clean silhouette that isn’t too boxy so as to taper the chunky knit underneath.
Alternatively, you can go for a more voluminous jacket if you have fitted layers as your base, like a sheath dress or a bodysuit with slim jeans. Boxy, cropped jackets are perfect for this.
3. Bookend Your Neutrals (or Go Bright & Bold)
If your base layer contains a pop of color, like a coral camisole with neutral trousers, bookend the neutral bottoms with a neutral jacket on top. A coordinating colorful jacket here will be too bold for most. A white or neutral jacket tones down the look without dialing it all the way back to boring.
Alternatively, if your base layers are neutral and you want a pop, you can add that colorful outerwear in. Play with coordinating your jewelry, shoes, and bag with the colorful jacket to create even more visual harmony.