Too Warm For Parkas, Too Cold To Go Topless: Five Essential Spring Jackets

Wondering what to wear when the weather's in between? I got you covered.

Apr 23, 2014 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

It's that odd time of year where it's way too warm for your proper winter coat yet far too chilly to go bare armed -- but you really can go out bare legged. So what's a fashionable girl to do? Break out her collection of transitional jackets, that's what!

A transitional jacket is one that works to break the pre-spring chill without making you look like you might be a flasher with nothing on underneath (as a fingertip-length trench coat has the tendency to when worn with a shorter skirt and no stockings.) If you buy just one piece of clothing to carry you through from now until summer finally arrives, it should be this: a lightweight jacket that hits right at about the top of your hipbone or higher -- never any lower.

This magical jacket should also be able to keep you toasty warm without looking too winter-esque, so you can keep it on indoors if you need to. If that sounds like a lot of rules for a darn jacket, don't worry -- because I've narrowed down the field to five specific styles that will work with any and every spring outfit you could possibly dream up.


My very favorite example of this type of jacket is a stretchy sweatshirt-material blazer. I have an ancient one I got at Walmart (of all places!) when Norma Kamali did a collab with them years ago.


Trashball in a dirty T-shirt looking sort of professional.

I've been looking for another one ever since, as it's the single most versatile item I think I own -- you can dress it up or down as needed in a snap. This season, it seems that a myriad of spots have finally delivered. It's like wearing a cozy hoodie, only work-appropriate!

Sweatshirt blazers
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With a novelty skirt, flat sandals, skin baring top and an armload of slinky bracelets. When you get to the bar or the weather randomly warms up, just slip off the blazer and you're ready to rock! (I bought that Bart Simpson skirt, in case you hadn't already guessed.)
Sweatshirt + Bart
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Bouclé is a tweed-look fabric that is created by twisting two different strands of yarn together to form small 'loops' or nubby irregularities in the finished product. If you've ever seen a Chanel jacket, you are already familiar with what I'm talking about. I like a motorcycle style jacket done up in bouclé yarn because it gives a ladylike edge to what can be a too-tough biker look when paired with delicate spring dresses.
Bouclé moto jackets
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With a floaty chiffon frock, sturdy ankle boots and a clutch so you don't have to deal with the shoulder snaps popping open when your sling a purse over your arm. (A moto-style jacket is actually the very best way to press any summer dress you may have into service when it's still a lil' bit too cold outside.)

Boucle moto style
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A bomber (short for bombardier) jacket doesn't have to be basic brown or black -- the newest versions are free to be who they wanna be in endlessly adorable checks, florals and polka dots. 

Bomber jackets
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With bubblegum pearls, sporty sneakers and a fit & flare dress. (The key is looking ready for anything that could possibly occur -- so don't forget the hands-free crossbody bag!)

Bomber style
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A close cousin of the bomber, a varsity jacket is also sometimes called a baseball jacket and it easily identified by the distinctive striped ribbing around the collar and cuffs. 

Varsity jackets
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With as many random patches as you can manage to glue, tape or stitch onto the sleeves, a chopped-up T-shirt, pair of knee-length cut off shorts and some moccasin-inspired boots. (Add some rose gold accessories and your old high school letter to the mix for extra credit.)

Varsity style
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Anything with shiny metal buttons makes enough of a statement that you can skip the jewels and accessories if you need to -- perfect for days when you're either running late or just can't manage to give a crud.  

Band jackets
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With a pair of dark skinnies, heeled sandals that play like boots and any old shirt you want -- because the whole point of a band jacket is to button it all the way up! (Until you're good and ready to unbutton it.)

Band jacket style
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If none of these looks floats your boat, you could always just cut to the chase and go with a classic: the Levi's 'Trucker' jacket, a perfect match for every spring frock there ever was. This version done up in stretch denim is -- hands down, without a single doubt -- the absolute very best denim jacket that money can buy. I own three of them just in case I ever lose one.

This, my dear bunny rabbits, is a spring jacket recommendation you can take straight to the bank -- because it's pure gold. 

I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison