How can a part of your menswear wardrobe go from “nice to have” to truly indispensable? By doing more than one thing quite well, just as with the best men’s shirt jackets. Yes, it’s got the build of a classic buttondown shirt and maybe resembles your favorite flannel shirt.
But look again and you’ll find that shirt jackets or “shackets” offer up more than meets the eye, as I’ve found through years of trusting the shirt jacket as my go-to, transitional fall layer.
Shirt jackets are often made from sturdier, thicker and warmer fabric, perhaps finished off with helpful design touches like quilted detailing or a warm lining, and of course, they’re made with both style and rugged performance in mind.
The best shirt jackets for your fall wardrobe can slot right in alongside existing staples with ease, even if you’ve never worn one before.
Surfing legend Kelly Slater set out to design a more sustainable, yet no less stylish, clothing brand, and by all accounts, it looks like he’s succeeded so far.
That includes fan favorite staples like one of the best shirt jackets, the well-reviewed Outerknown Blanket Shirt. Comfortable enough to wear on its own and yet equally well-suited to style over a thermal shirt or an Outerknown Oxford shirt, the Blanket Shirt is cozy enough to live up to its name.
In my experience with the brand, this shirt is durable yet soft, moves well and layers with ease – it’s a regular fit, neither too slim nor too relaxed. The cotton twill is nicely textured, supple yet sturdy. The chest pockets deliver crucial EDC utility, which I appreciate. Oh, and it comes in a massive array of cool colors and plaid patterns (and I personally can’t get enough plaid for fall).
On exceptionally cold days when the weather just won’t quit – and even on fall days when temperatures plummet more quickly than expected – you should be lacing up your trusty L.L. Bean “Bean Boots,” right? No doubt, and you can add this cozy, rugged overshirt to your cold-weather arsenal, too.
I’ve found over the years that L.L. Bean tends to be a bit under-appreciated aside from its legendary boots (a high bar to clear), but one wear of this extremely cozy shirt jacket should be enough to change your mind.
It’s as if L.L. Bean designed this shirt with the aim of stoking a fire on a cold day, leaves crunching underfoot, flask in hand. Who doesn’t appreciate that?
The flannel exterior is crafted from mid-weight cotton flannel, but the lining is ultra-warm sherpa, and handsome plaid color options aren’t a bad touch to add to your fall style favorites, either.
While it might be tough to leave your trusty Flint and Tinder Waxed Trucker Jacket on the hanger every so often, you’d best believe that this quilted nylon shirt jacket is a hard-working replacement.
It’s ideal for those times when you want more coverage than a trucker jacket can provide. The lightweight quilted polyester insulation should also offer a touch more technical warmth, and the F&T blanket lining even calls to mind your trusty Huckberry trucker jacket. For good measure, the cotton-nylon exterior resists water and abrasions.
Carhartt has tons of history to back up its name. The brand’s workwear is the stuff of legend, and you might not find a better shirt jacket for true rough-and-tumble work than one made from the brand’s aptly named Rugged Flex fabric.
That fabric features a blend of cotton and spandex for stretch, while a fleece lining bolsters its warmth. The relaxed fit offers crucial room for layering on frigid days, and a chest zipper pocket adds easy access alongside lower welt pockets. Whatever awaits on your to-do list, this Carhartt “shacket” can take it on.
Think back to what we said about the best menswear picks doing more than one thing well – what if we told you the best men’s shirt jackets can go above and beyond even that lofty goal?
That’s the case with this hooded flannel shirt jacket, which powers up the warmth and utility with polyester lining and a flannel exterior – and then adds a super-cozy hood for good measure.
For cool evenings around the bonfire, chilly days on the trail and a warming stout beer back in town, make this hooded shacket your favorite move.
Although the shirt jacket has rugged roots far afield, you can trust designer Todd Snyder to put his own luxe spin on a rough-and-tumble staple.
In this case, that means using premium, burly-yet-soft wool, then building this shirt jacket in Italy (always a mark of great quality, in my experience).
It still features classic shirt jacket details, like oversized chest pockets, while the large collar should offer critical wind protection on blustery days. Distinctive color options also add a luxurious look to this new layering staple.
Of all the brands on our list of the best shirt jackets, perhaps none is more authentic (in my humble opinion) than Filson.
The Pacific Northwest heritage brand started out making gear for explorers and adventurers in a wild region, with the pedigree soon to follow thereafter.
Times may have changed, but the CPO Wool Jac Shirt has stayed largely the same, with some of the same details that, say, your grandfather might have trusted. 24oz. natural wool gives this plenty of weight and warmth, while the U.S. Navy-inspired design is practically legendary.
The mix-and-match potential of Everlane’s Uniform Collection – made up of classic pieces from head-to-toe – isn’t the only thing to love about this durable overshirt. 8oz. cotton twill gives it hard-working wearability, as do the two front-button chest pockets for your everyday carry.
It’s also ideal to add to your fall style rotation thanks to its versatility: Color options like Heather Grey pair up with plenty of other colors in your wardrobe. And the design is comfortable enough to wear over a lightweight Everlane cotton tee or a more rugged henley shirt.
Distinction seems to be the name of the game with Wax London. Yes, its pieces, like its handsome shirt jackets, have truly functional appeal, but there’s a unique quality to its lineup.
Its rich array of patterns and colors have a vintage vibe that still feels undeniably fresh – its overshirts boast everything from bold ‘70s-esque colors to Western-style jacquard detailing and a hearty helping of rugged, classic plaid. The shirt jacket makes a statement all its own with Wax London’s lineup.
Relwen goes all out with its Quilted Shirt Jacket, as the Ohio-based brand should given the surrounding weather. The outside is soft brushed cotton flannel twill, like a trusty shirt, but the inside is amped up with recycled polyester insulation for plenty of fall-friendly warmth.
The best shirt jackets do more than just blend a flannel shirt with warm lining – sometimes, those materials get switched up in highly useful ways.
This innovative Woolrich overshirt does it the right way, using a water-repellent, wind-resistant microfiber construction that goes all out on fall’s most blustery days.
Think of it like an insulated bomber jacket turned into a shirt jacket, since it’s also finished off with Primaloft insulation. If you want one of the warmest shirt jackets out there, pick up this finely crafted number.
Taylor Stitch might have cracked the code on soft chamois shirting and classic Oxford shirts, but what about a reliable workshirt? Consider the Shop Shirt the answer to that question, with a highly durable custom fabric blend out to prove it. It’s highly sustainable, thanks to the use of hemp, organic cotton and recycled polyester, while spandex gives it stretch.
Raglan sleeve stitching delivers crucial ease of movement, while those oversized patch pockets are a must-have for EDC tools. In my own experience wearing this beast of a shirt, it’s hard-working yet still softer than expected out of the box, and it’s rugged enough to take a beating.
One of the things this author appreciates the most about Billy Reid (and hopefully, you agree) is that the Alabama designer has a crystal-clear vision of his ideal customer. A guy who appreciates a cool night’s breeze, a bonfire, a rich dram of whiskey and the right gear to go along with it, for instance.
In my experience with Billy Reid shirt jackets, this piece should live up to that ethos handsomely. Lightweight, water-repellent Halley Stevensons fabric gives this jacket a highly functional exterior that’ll break in nicely with age, while side seam pockets lend it a streamlined look.
It might at first seem odd to turn towards a surfing-inspired brand to outfit you with your new shirt jacket, but the great thing about this handsome number is that it’s practically perfect to throw on for cool mornings.
That goes for whether you’re in the water surfing or hitting the trail, because it’s constructed from soft, vintage-style 100 percent cotton flannel, yet lined with super-warm sherpa for exceptionally brisk weather. The Olive plaid pattern also switches things up from fall’s typical shades of red plaid.
Think of the shirt jacket like a hybrid go-between for all those times when it’s too chilly to wear, say, just a long sleeve tee or a rugged henley on its own–yet, it’s not quite cold enough to break out a winter parka.
In my experience, this piece is the kind of style you’ll find yourself wearing for days at a time, especially if you find the right one.
Some of my favorite shirt jackets are made from canvas fabric or else a thicker cotton flannel (like chamois), and all have useful details like chest pockets (another personal favorite. Plus, it’s hard not to appreciate a slightly roomier cut that gives you some room to layer.
As for me, I’ve found that wearing a shirt jacket atop a thermal henley is a reliable move on brisk days, but I sometimes opt for a shirt jacket over a crewneck sweatshirt (beanie cap preferable, as well).
Best of all is the fact that you can even wear a heavier shirt jacket atop one of your more standard everyday shirts, like an Oxford shirt or a chambray shirt (again, this is a move I’ve grown to love in my experience layering up shirt jackets).
And they’re not just designed with pure utility in mind, either. Shirt jackets team up readily with dark blue jeans or even classic tan chinos. Make it a go-to casual layer, and unlock the possibilities of the humble, hard-working shirt jacket with our essential selections.