April 25th is the perfect date. “It’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket,” at least according to Miss Rhode Island in the film Miss Congeniality. However, at the start of spring, you're bound to find yourself dressing in a confused manner, not quite sure if you’ll be warm enough or exactly what to wear together as the weather is generally still a bit brisk. A spring jacket is the missing puzzle piece that will ensure you’re warm, but not too much so, as you resume picnics in the park and outdoor brunches.
Whether you’re in the market for a work jacket like a blazer or structured trench, or would rather pick up something a bit more casual, there is a range of seasonal styles that are ideal for layering or simply wearing over your shoulders when the weather allows.
To help you on your journey we tapped Leslie Kouhana Halfon, the founder and Creative Director of Paris-based, American Southwest-inspired label Arizona Love and Rent the Runway's Senior Director of Fashion and Styling, Suzanne Smallshaw to share their advice on finding that just right spring jacket.
Bode White House Steps Jacket
A cotton jacket is the perfect in-between material for your transitional spring wardrobe. The quilted fabric used in this Bode style will keep you cozy, while the light-colored patchwork and reversible floral print keep things light and cheery for the season—offering many styling combinations with breezy dresses, leggings, and your favorite jeans.
Price at the time of publish: $1,380
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS–XL | Length: Hip-length
Best Overall, Runner-Up
Free People Team Spirit Jacket
While we love Bode’s zingy take on crafty-cool, we understand that it might not make sense for you to spend four figures on a spring jacket. Free People’s denim twist on a varsity jacket is a more reasonable investment. The quilted inner will offer extra warmth, but the relaxed fit feels perfectly suited to outdoor spring occasions. Floral details fit the season without being too on-the-nose, so feel free to wear it year round.
Price at the time of publish: $298
Material: Cotton, polyester, and lyocell | Size Range: XS–XL | Length: Hip-length
Mango Tweed Jacket
The soft yet elegant look of the textured tweed makes for the ideal spring jacket for work. In a lush coral or light blue, this style not only looks more expensive than it is, but it also serves as an instant mood-boosting pop of color against your minimalist office backdrop.
Price at the time of publish: $130
Material: 51% cotton, 47% polyester, and 2% wool | Size Range: XXS–4XL | Length: Waist-length
Khaite Flinn Leather Jacket
Since spring weather can be temperamental, you need a jacket that’s not only good-looking but can also still offer some warmth when the occasion calls for it. This leather jacket from Khaite has a cropped fit that makes it better suited to spring than other more heavy-duty styles.
Price at the time of publish: $3,800
Material: 100% leather | Size Range: 2–10 | Length: Cropped, waist-length
Madewell The Larsen Blazer
Build a closet full of quality pieces that you’ll want to hold onto for years to come. This simple, classic blazer from Madewell is an easy piece for layering under heavier jackets if needed, but it works all on its own. Style it with a crop top and jeans on the weekend, or dress it up with trousers for the office.
Price at the time of publish: $178
Material: 67% viscose, 30% TENCEL™ Lyocell, and 3% linen | Size Range: XXS–4X | Length: Hip-length
Outdoor Voices PreciPoly Jacket
Spring showers aren’t to be taken lightly. Make sure you have a jacket that can stand up to a little wet weather. This shell from Outdoor Voices has a technical bent, but it’s cool enough to wear with your favorite everyday casual pieces.
Price at the time of publish: $258
Material: 100% polyester | Size Range: XS–XL | Length: Hip-length
Vince Shirt Jacket
A shirt jacket, sometimes referred to as a “shacket,” is that in-between piece that can easily be layered through the tumult of a sunny-to-snowing spring day. The relaxed fit and neutral navy color makes it easy to style, which will come in handy when you find yourself reaching for it daily.
Price at the time of publish: $345
Material: 79% cotton, 15% polyester, 6% spandex | Size Range: XXS–XL | Length: Waist-length
J.Crew Cropped Lady Trench
A trench coat is a classic option for spring, but this take from J.Crew is a refreshing reimagination. The cropped silhouette, made of 100% cotton, pairs just as well with a playful floral dress as it does with your favorite pair of relaxed jeans. If you’re feeling particularly preppy, style it back to a rugby shirt or striped sweater.
Price at the time of publish: $278
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: 00–24 | Length: Waist-length
Christopher John Rogers Fitted Jacket
Sometimes a formal occasion calls for a jacket that fits the dress code. This ruched creation from designer Christopher John Rogers is set to stand out from the crowd thanks to unexpected buttons and a deep-V neckline. Layer it over a fitted dress or slip skirt for your next dressy event.
Price at the time of publish: $2,595
Material: 51% silk, 49% wool | Size Range: 0–16 | Length: Hip-length
The Arrivals Turbo Puff
Many quilted jackets are too warm for spring weather, leaving you sweaty after a walk around the block with your pet. This lightweight puffer will keep you just warm enough without making you feel like you’ve been completely marshmallowed. This style is particularly smart for outdoor activities like hiking thanks to removable backpack suspenders and a hood that you can take off too if needed.
Price at the time of publish: $498
Material: 100% nylon shell; 100% recycled poly lining | Size Range: XS–XL | Length: Hip-length
Dôen Northerner Duster
Dôen is a brand known for its ability to master elegantly easy dressing. Its take on the duster coat is no exception. The wool iteration has puffy sleeves and a waist belt that adds soft shapes to the cocoon-like silhouette.
Price at the time of publish: $998
Material: 100% wool | Size Range: XS–XL | Length: Calf-length
Everlane The Gathered Drape Trench
A modern take on the everyday trench, this style from Everlane has a storm flap and waist tie—nods to the iconic silhouette’s signature touches. But, a looser A-line silhouette makes this iteration feel particularly of the moment. Style it with jeans and loafers, and don’t be afraid to show a little ankle now that the sun is out.
Price at the time of publish: $198
Material: 60% TENCEL™ Lyocell, 40% cotton | Size Range: XXS–XL | Length: Calf-length
Off-White Corporate Denim Jacket
A great denim jacket has a worn-in look that happens to look just as cool with casual, everyday staples as it does with a night-out ensemble. This design from Off-White fits the bill. The silhouette is slightly shrunken without being too cropped, and the color is a worn blue that’s faded in all the right places.
Price at the time of publish: $650
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: IT36–IT46 | Length: Waist-length
Rails Steffi Buffalo Plaid Jacket
If you’re looking for something a bit cozier for the transition this season, then look no further than Rails’ Steffi buffalo plaid jacket. The oversized check pattern is a bit reminiscent of a picnic blanket, but the wool fabrication is staunchly cold-weather appropriate.
Price at the time of publish: $298
Material: 51% wool, 49% polyester | Size Range: XXS–2X | Length: Waist-length
GANNI Layered Cotton Blazer
Minty green has a decidedly springy feel to it. This blazer from Copenhagen label GANNI promises to be an instant mood booster—especially when teamed with colorful accessories or an equally zingy skirt or pair of trousers.
Price at the time of publish: $725
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: DK32–DK44 | Length: Hip-length
Reformation Marco Jacket
Reformation’s relaxed bomber jacket is made using 100% regeneratively grown cotton. The fit is oversized, making it the perfect layering piece and a casual-cool staple that will look good with both other neutrals and bolder styles.
Price at the time of publish: $198
Material: 100% regeneratively grown cotton | Size Range: XS–XL | Length: Hip-length
Arizona Love Prescott Jacket
If you’re counting down the days until summer arrives, then this jacket is just the piece for you. The bold bandana print has a warm-weather feel to it. As a bonus, this hand-made jacket is also reversible, meaning that you can wear it twice as often with no one the wiser.
Price at the time of publish: $300
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: OS | Length: Hip-length
Depending on where you live and how much time you spend outdoors, your spring jacket needs may differ, but overall we love Bode’s quilted jacket for its seasonal coloring and light-yet-warm design. If you’re looking for something heavier, The Arrivals’ puffer or Dôen’s duster coat may be a better choice until temperatures start to rise. For an easy-to-style option, go with a classic trench shape like our options from J.Crew and Everlane. The style in and of itself is classic, says Smallshaw, and there are so many new reinvented silhouettes that make her want to add more to her rotation.
What to Look for When Buying Spring Jackets
Keep an eye out for jacket material when shopping, not just for aesthetics—it can also be crucial for determining how warm you’ll be when you put it on. “Spring jackets should be light enough to take off and carry around as the day warms up but will keep you warm as the day cools,” Smallshaw says. If you’re looking for something to wear towards the start of spring, wool is a good choice for ensuring you’ll be warm enough, even in a cropped silhouette like Rails’ Steffi jacket. Come the end of the season, a lighter cotton jacket, such as GANNI’s layered blazer, will suffice.
While spring might be typically associated with bright, floral hues when it comes to jackets, a neutral style may be just as worthy for spring. Since jackets are the last layer you put on when getting dressed, a style in beige or white is still lighthearted while being easy to style with the rest of your ensemble.
Seasonally, spring is a time of transition, so you want a jacket that can easily be layered for early days, or worn solo once temperatures rise. Generally, shorter lengths or roomy, oversized silhouettes allow for breathability that will be welcome as the weather thaws. On the other hand, longer-line jackets are great for wearing over sweaters or tops when you don’t want to be worried about clashing hemlines.
How should you style a jacket for spring?
When getting dressed during spring, it's best to think about layers as temperatures can fluctuate from hour to hour. For casual events, try styling a spring jacket with jeans and a tee. Tie a sweater over your shoulders for layering. “At the beginning of the season, like March, I would wear it over a cashmere sweater,” says Halfon. “On cold nights in summer, [I like] a T-shirt and a bandana jacket over it and a pair of heels.” As the weather warms, transition to springy dresses or denim shorts that you can style with a jacket for both warmth and textural play.
How do you know if you’ll be warm enough?
Make sure to prepare for possible breezes and chilly evenings during spring. When choosing a jacket, you’ll want to make sure you opt for a style that fits the occasion at hand. The material will be an important factor when considering warmth—wool or leather will be better for cold weather while cotton is ideal for warmer temperatures. “Layers are key to dressing during the months where the weather can fluctuate or if you’re heading to an office that is perpetually cold or hot,” Smallshaw says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Aemilia Madden is a writer and editor who has spent the last decade covering the latest trends and advancements in the fashion space. For this piece, she tapped experts for advice and also relied on her jacket knowledge having navigated over a decade’s worth of New York City spring seasons. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, and more.