Even if you live somewhere with long hot summers, it’s likely that now and again you will need a summer jacket.
Scroll down to see links to my pick of the best. If you click and buy I may get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.
- A jacket gives a professional or smart look to a summer outfit. But it also covers your arms for modesty when required and keeps you from freezing when out of the sun.
- If you’re invited to a more formal wedding, you’ll probably want to wear a jacket, for at least some of the occasion.
- Popping on a jacket when giving a presentation or running a meeting at work or for a charity you support can make you feel more confident.
- And indoor spaces such as museums and art galleries can often have the aircon so high (or should that be low?) that you’ll need a simple cover-up until you step outside into the heat of the sunshine again two hours later.
With these occasions in mind,I have picked out my 2022 favorite Spring through Summer jackets from online retailers who ship worldwide.
Short casual jackets
These are the ones that get the most wear. If you live in the UK you’ll probably grab a casual jacket whenever you go out ‘just to be on the safe side’. A jacket can be a godsend once the sun goes down and the barbecue is in full swing. What you don’t want is a heavy item you have to lug about all afternoon. And you don’t want anything that will look bad if it’s slightly creased.
The answer is the denim jacket.
Once only worn by teens and twenties, and even then, only with jeans, denim jackets are now mainstream for all age groups. Buy the correct size and no, you won’t look like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’. You’ll look up to date and cool.
Because a traditional denim jacket has lots of structure – think double stitched seams – it keeps its shape well. As you are unlikely ever to fasten this type of jacket you don’t need to go too huge on the size. Just make very sure the back is wide enough not to pull at the top of the sleeves.
Look for a jacket that sits just below your waist. This gives a great look because it masks an expanding waistline and removes focus from the hips or top of the thighs – which is where most jackets hit.
You can let a collared shirt hang down beneath the denim jacket if you’re worried your tummy looks big.
Or tuck – or half-tuck – in a stripey, brilliant white or bold-colored tee shirt so all eyes are on that front narrow gap between the front edges of the jacket. Definitely slimming!
But one way you may not yet have worn a short denim jacket is over a summer dress.
This look started years ago at outdoor music festivals. Unpredictable weather and cooler evenings but nowhere to change, led young women to stuff a denim jacket into their tote bag as they headed off for a weekend of fun. At British festivals they usually also wore rubber boots. But you can forget the boots and concentrate on the feminine dress and masculine jacket combo. It’s the contrast between workwear and partywear that makes the look.
If you’re overweight, as I am, then this look works well. Instead of a large mass of floral flounciness you get a structured boxy top then all the flounces over hips and legs. Unless you’re slender I’d steer clear of a mini frock but all other lengths work perfectly for this one third/two third silhouette.
And that jacket won’t suffer if you push it into your bag.
Short smart jackets
I’ve explained above why I think a short open jacket works really well for all figure types. But on some occasions we might want to look less cool and more curated.
The answer is the short smart jacket.
Wear this exactly as I’ve suggested for the denim jacket but don’t hope that this little number will still look good if you ram it into a bag! This jacket is made to hang over your arm or the back of your chair when it’s not being worn.
Wear it with a white tee and jeans and you’ll look relaxed and stylish. Wear it with a frock and it will take you to a wedding. Wear it with wide linen pants and you’ll look just right for that talk you’re giving.
Longer casual jackets
The kimono, either hip length or much longer, is one of those very versatile items you may not have bought yet.
In my post last year on Boho I talked a little about the growing trend for the kimono. But at that time very few shops were selling them. It was mainly retailers like Anthropologie and Boho enthusiasts on Etsy.
This year most retailers have a least one kimono style for summer.
Traditionally made in silk these now come in silky polyester as well. The important thing is that the garment floats and flows.
There is very little structure to a slinky kimono jacket so choose a thin unstructured top to put beneath it.
A collared shirt or a dress with puffed sleeves will stop the kimono sliding gently across your form. A sleeveless fitted teeshirt – a tank or vest – is ideal. No need to worry about your upper arms looking less than perfect as this is a jacket you can wear all day and evening, even in very warm weather.
Lots a people wear a kimono as a beach cover-up as it’s so airy yet modest.
But it looks great with wide pants – either linen or something slinkier.
If you’re very slim you could wear a kimono over jeans but most of us cannot!
Roll the kimono up and it should still look perfect when you’re ready to pop it on later in the day. But my advice is to just keep it on from breakfast till bedtime. OK your arms won’t tan but you’ll look cool, feminine and very much on trend.
Casual in the summer needs to be relatively wide cut. If the short boxy denim jacket is not for you, then consider a longer, tie-waisted denim jacket.
These are coming back into fashion along with all things eighties and nineties.
Look for slightly or very off-the-shoulder seams. And wider sleeves than normal. Go for a paler mid-denim color to reference the nineties too.
If you are between two sizes, go for the size up. Some women comment that these jackets are ‘too big’. But that’s the point. The longer denim tie-waisted jacket is not a close-fitting neat little number. It’s a big, blousy look.
I generally suggest women, apart from the slimmest amongst us, stay well clear of the tie belt. It’s just so easy to look like a messy bundle tied up with string.
But this jacket can look good tied if your top is thin – such as a sleeveless scoop-neck tee – or non-existent. Pop it on if you’re embarrassed by your upper arms, then take it off (always supposing you are actually wearing a little top beneath) when you’re with friends and family and want to catch the sun.
This jacket also works just like the short denim jacket over a dress or top and skirt. Leave it open and it will successfully skim over your rounded contours and draw the eye to that important front panel.
But the jacket must be large. It must not hug your rear or even those annoying rolls of flab on your back!
Longer smart jackets
Just as tops have got baggier this last year or so, they’ve also got longer.
Now, if you’re short and square like me, the long blazer or smart jacket is anathema. It drowns us. So I’m only talking to women who are at least average height, preferably taller.
The shorter you are, the more important it is that your hips are slim. Sorry but that’s life, girls. Some of us can love a long, structured blazer but never get to wear one.
For the rest of you, here is a jacket that I adore (on other people).
It can have softer or more structured shoulders. It should come down to the top of your thighs. It can be single or double breasted. But most of all it should feel and look large.
These long blazers look really great in linen for summer. Anything heavier and they can be too warm – as there’s a lot of fabric there. Wear over a simple tee shirt with matching or white wide linen pants.
It’s a classic summer look that works for the office as well as for lunch with friends or smart summer evening events.
If you’re not built for the above then take a look at a three-quarter length linen coat-style jacket. The Chicos’ example is perfect.
It will even out lumps and bumps you’d prefer not to show under it’s almost straight cut. No fastenings, so leave it to hang open and display one solid color or white all the way down your middle. So a minimal linen top and matching pants would work well.
You could wear this as a wedding guest or for any smart summer event.
The model is wearing jeans which look cool in the photos but, frankly, I’m not sure most of us could make this silhouette work.
I hope I’ve inspired you to think about a new jacket this year, perhaps a style you would not have thought about before. All jackets add a stylish vibe to an outfit. Buy the right one and you should be able to wear it confidently for several years.
Just that final word of warning – don’t squeeze into one of these jackets. You’ll be self-conscious and too hot. Go for a relaxed fit.
Want to learn more about how to style clothes so they make you look great?