Like most essential items in a man’s closet—boots, blazer, button-down, leather jacket—an insulated vest can be admired as much for its looks as for its functional utility in a wide range of settings. Read on for our top-20 vests—plus tips on how to wear them anywhere, from work to weekend.
Ultimate Coat Guide
Our Ultimate Coat Guide is all-new this week, with a fresh batch of cold-weather lifesavers.
Though the guide is stocked with a range of outerwear from uptown overcoats to summit-ready mountain gear, we were inspired by the year-round versatility, and all-around badness*, of a leather jacket.
Throw one on over a T-shirt and jeans in warmer months, and you’re basically Marlon Brando. Fast-forward 30 years, grab a guitar, and you’re Joe Strummer. Add a rebel streak to your shirt and tie with a trim-fitting leather jacket, and you’re straight out of GQ.
When it comes to braving colder months, it’s a simple question of creative layering. If you like your leather to fit trim and streamlined, like the Italian-made bomber above, underpin it with a toasty thermal or cashmere sweater, then add a scarf, hat and/or gloves on top. If you opt for a looser-fitting fatigue style, like the caramel-colored number below, you can get more creative with chunky knits underneath—we even saw a member of our visual merchandising team sport a denim jacket under his leather coat just yesterday.
Check out a few more favorites below, then shop our full selection of leather jackets.
*Speaking of badness: Did you catch Spike Lee’s 25th-anniversary special on Michael Jackson’s Bad last week, in which Kanye West confirms that Jackson’s black leathers in the 1987 Martin Scorsese-directed short film (Part 1 | Part 2) still influence his stage wardrobe to this day? Check out the trailer.
With over 150 years of experience, Burberry is a name you can count on for weather-ready outerwear that will remain in style for countless winters to come.
At 21 years old, Thomas Burberry opened his first store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England in 1856. Focusing on outdoor attire, Mr. Burberry invented gabardine, a tough, water-resistant, yet breathable fabric, in 1880. By 1911, the brand was a leading choice amongst adventurers in the harshest conditions imaginable: Burberry outfitted Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition across Antarctica.*
Also in 1914, Burberry was commissioned by the War Office to adapt British officer’s coats to the conditions of contemporary warfare, resulting in the trench coat. Trenches in Burberry’s classic gabardine are the most common—but we like this wool-blend version, which will keep you toasty on the front lines of frigid commutes.
Founded in Hudson, Massachusetts in 1975, Penfield takes pride in designing garments fit for New England winters. This jacket’s Teflon® coating and real down fill have the ‘winter’ part covered—while Ivy League details like genuine wood-and-rope toggles and a hood lined with tartan plaid (must be somebody’s school colors) reflect the brand’s preppy roots.