Like an exotic bird-watcher or a weed dealer on a college campus, I am very much one of those dudes who look forward to fall. For one, the cooler temperatures mean that you can once again dress to impress and not just dress to survive. That slight chill in the air means more options: you can smash together a few colorful layers (jacket plus blazer plus tie) for a more downtown look, or you can think of your jacket as the pièce de résistance of your outfit, the extra shot of flavor that makes it all sing. Here are some looks to explore as you ditch the cotton and khaki for corduroy, tweed and wool, the starting lineup of cool fall outerwear fabrics.
So long as it fits well (not too big in the shoulders and not too long in the sleeve; please see our guide to denim jackets for the scoop), a corduroy jacket will always be a solid performer. To keep things youthful and hip, look for something with some pop and try to avoid muted, washed-out colors like gray and beige, which can make you look like a melancholic mechanic. This red version from Levi'slooks great with some dark blue jeans and desert boots for a clean, ’60s-influenced mod look.
For my more mature readers (or the young guys who can straight kill it wearing grown-man clothes), I can't recommend a well-fitting quilted jacket enough. The connotation of a piece like this is both outdoorsy and uptown, a rare mix of rugged charm and polished distinction. You can commit to the look and rock this with corduroys and some brown boots, or you can mix it up with more youthful pieces like sneakers or sweatshirts. As with all things that lean toward the grown-up side of the spectrum, look for models from brands who have been making these kinds of clothes forever. My pick is this bad boy from Barbour, which offers some swag details like a corduroy collar and plaid lining.
I am not a big fan of wearing "formal coats" unless you have the wardrobe (and lifestyle) to back it up. For the majority of men, men who don't own more than three decent suits, buying something intended solely for dressy evening events is silly. Instead of throwing down serious coin for a black number, think of getting something with a little character, something semi-collegiate and just a little bit retro. This wool number from Gant Rugger with faux-fur collar is very Mad Men, but less in the stuffy Don Draper way and more in the Paul Kinsey "quasi-beatnik with a job" sort of way.
About the Author
Elliot Aronow is a tv personality, editor and music and style hustler living in New York City. He is the host/producer/editor/publisher of OUR SHOW with Elliot Aronow and the Co-Founder of music site RCRD LBL. All of his hair and opinions are his own. Follow Elliot on Twitter @youngelz. Check out the rest of his Playboy.com Self-Styled columns HERE.