Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

6 Types of Jackets Men and Women Need to Own Now

Complete your fall wardrobe by topping an outfit with one of these cool coats


spinner image Banana Republic Men Malo Twill Shirt Jacket in Khaki; Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Stretch Denim Jacket in Carbon; Uniqlo  Men Ultra Light Down Jacket (Narrow Quilt) in 37 Brown
(Left to right) Banana Republic Men’s Malo Twill Shirt Jacket in Khaki; Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Stretch Denim Jacket in Carbon; Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Jacket (Narrow Quilt) in 37 Brown
Banana Republic; Zappos; UNIQLO

Jackets are the “fixers” in your closet. They’re wardrobe magicians that turn a blah outfit into a stylish one, give layers of tees and sweaters a pulled-together look and make us appear better-dressed, poised and polished or just plain cool … all in the five seconds it takes to slip one on. But before you donate your oldies and splurge on a new blazer, biker or bomber, read this because the best (and only) jackets to own now are those in sync with our 50-plus bodies, lifestyles and attitude. Here are the ones that do it:

spinner image A New Day Women’s Relaxed Fit Essential Blazer in Black; Everlane Men Performance Chino Blazer in Deep Navy; Talbots Easy Knit Blazer in Deep Almond Buff
(Left to right) A New Day Women’s Relaxed Fit Essential Blazer in Black; Everlane Men’s Performance Chino Blazer in Deep Navy; Talbots Easy Knit Blazer in Deep Almond Buff
Target; Everlane; Talbots

1. A modern blazer

Once relegated to office wear, tailored notch-collar blazers now thrive “off-duty” to dress up jeans, tees and sneakers, toss over untucked shirts and hoodies and give any pants, from wide-leg trousers to joggers, suit-level class and authority. Your best bet is a single-breasted style. It’s easier to wear open or closed than double-breasted styles, which are dressier and look best buttoned — and are hard to sit in for that reason. Stick with neutral colors to amp up versatility, but switch to practical lighter year-round fabrics with stretch and eased up silhouettes for a contemporary look. For example, A New Day Women’s Relaxed Fit Essential Blazer in Black ($38, target.com) has a casual fit that layers easily over light sweaters, and the Everlane Men’s Performance Chino Blazer in Deep Navy ($188, everlane.com) with 4-way stretch is comfy. Knit blazers with sharp lines and a sweater-like feel, such as the Talbot’s Easy Knit Blazer in Deep Almond Buff ($189, talbots.com) — the horn buttons are purely for show — are another lifestyle-friendly update. The right blazer will be not too tight, not too loose and slip easily under your winter coats without a worry. Leave the massive, oversized styles trending on social and runways alone.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

spinner image Milwaukee Leather SH1011 Black Classic Brando Motorcycle Jacket for Men; Michael Michael Kors Men’s Faux-Leather Hooded Bomber Jacket in Espresso; Good American Sculpted Faux Leather Blazer in Black 001; Abercrombie & Fitch Women’s Vegan Leather Bomber Jacket in Black
(Left to right) Milwaukee Leather SH1011 Black Classic Brando Motorcycle Jacket for Men; Michael Michael Kors Men’s Faux-Leather Hooded Bomber Jacket in Espresso; Good American Sculpted Faux Leather Blazer in Black 001; Abercrombie & Fitch Women’s Vegan Leather Bomber Jacket in Black
Amazon; Macy's; Nordstrom; Abercrombie & Fitch

2. A black leather jacket

The Milwaukee Leather SH1011 Black Classic Brando Motorcycle Jacket for Men ($130, amazon.com) is the go-to for those wanting to add a rebellious touch to their clothes. But that just-rode-in-on-my-Harley hardware has tough competition from the bomber (also known as a flight jacket). The Michael Michael Kors Men’s Faux-Leather Hooded Bomber Jacket in Espresso or Black ($250, macys.com) and the Abercrombie & Fitch Women’s Vegan Leather Bomber Jacket in Black ($160, abercrombie.com) pack plenty of attitude but have sleeker lines. For an even softer approach, regardless of biker or bomber style, choose brown leather rather than black or opt for suede instead of leather. Or for another kind of swagger, women can try the gutsy Good American Sculpted Faux Leather Blazer in Black 001 ($195, nordstrom.com) that combines tailored polish with a shapely edge.

spinner image Blake Shelton X Lands’ End Men’s Flannel Lined Waxed Cotton Chore Jacket in Forest Moss; Gap Men’s Canvas Field Jacket in New Classic Navy; a.n.a. Women’s Regular Utility Jacket in Dusky Green
(Left to right) Blake Shelton X Lands’ End Men’s Flannel Lined Waxed Cotton Chore Jacket in Forest Moss; Gap Men’s Canvas Field Jacket in New Classic Navy; a.n.a. Women’s Regular Utility Jacket in Dusky Green
Lands' End; Gap; JCPenney

3. A work jacket

The label may say chore, utility or field, but this category of hardworking, stylish jackets is a practical choice that will stick around in your wardrobe for years. Inspired by actual work jackets for farming, fishing, hunting and construction, they’re durable, multi-pocketed and roomy enough for layering beneath. Don’t let the rugged look fool you. Work jackets look as great with tailored clothes and dresses and black leather leggings as they do with jeans and khakis. Jacket warmth differs since some are unlined; others have flannel or fleece on the inside. Length matters too since styles range from below the hip to mid-thigh, so choose accordingly. Lighter cotton utility jackets such as the a.n.a. Women’s Regular Utility Jacket in Dusky Green ($51, jcpenney.com) feature subtle waist definition and are ideal for transitional weather and warm climates. Heavier cotton jackets in canvas or waxed finishes such as the Gap Men’s Canvas Field Jacket in New Classic Navy ($118, gap.com) and Blake Shelton X Lands’ End Men’s Flannel Lined Waxed Cotton Chore Jacket in Forest Moss ($180, landsend.com) are sturdier and weather protective (look for similar styles for women at Barbour and Lands’ End).

Entertainment

Ancestry

30% off a 1-year subscription

See more Entertainment offers >
spinner image Eddie Bauer Men’s Eddie’s Favorite Faux Shearling-Lined Flannel Shirt Jacket in Gray Smoke; Banana Republic Men’s Malo Twill Shirt Jacket in Khaki; Old Navy Quilted Utility Shacket for Women in Spiced Saffron
(Left to right) Eddie Bauer Men’s Eddie’s Favorite Faux Shearling-Lined Flannel Shirt Jacket in Gray Smoke; Banana Republic Men’s Malo Twill Shirt Jacket in Khaki; Old Navy Quilted Utility Shacket for Women in Spiced Saffron
Eddie Bauer; Banana Republic; Old Navy

4. Shackets or shirt-jackets

These hybrids are the lightest and most casual option for adding a little extra warmth. Thicker than regular shirts, they’re not as structured as a jacket and can be worn indoors and outdoors. Thrown on as a top layer over tees and sweaters, shackets have become a staple that’s here to stay. Rather than the extra-oversized plaid shackets so popular with millennials and Gen Z, choose sophisticated styles in solid colors such as the Old Navy Quilted Utility Shacket for Women in Spiced Saffron or Conifer ($65, oldnavy.gap.com), the Banana Republic Men’s Malo Twill Shirt Jacket in Khaki ($100, bananarepublic.gap.com) in heavy cotton twill and the Eddie Bauer Men’s Eddie’s Favorite Faux Shearling-Lined Flannel Shirt Jacket in Gray Smoke (this one even has a zipper).

spinner image membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.

spinner image Levi’s Premium Men’s Trucker Jacket in Dark Horse-Black; Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Stretch Denim Jacket in Carbon; Chico’s Denim Blazer in Sycamore Indigo; Mango Women’s Denim Jacket With Belt in Dark Blue
(Left to right) Levi’s Premium Men’s Trucker Jacket in Dark Horse-Black; Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Stretch Denim Jacket in Carbon; Chico’s Denim Blazer in Sycamore Indigo; Mango Women’s Denim Jacket With Belt in Dark Blue
Levi’s; Nordstrom; Chico’s; Mango

5. A denim jacket

Whether you call them truckers or jean jackets, classic denim jackets still make everyone over 50 feel like a rock star, rapper or country-western singer. They transcend age (theirs and ours), so there’s no reason to toss out your vintage denim jackets. Still, you may want to try a black denim version such as the Levi’s Premium Men’s Trucker Jacket in Dark Horse-Black ($98, levi.com/US) and the Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Stretch Denim Jacket in Carbon ($228, nordstrom.com). It’s an elevated change from blue that slides into a neutral wardrobe and looks dressier. But denim jackets are no longer just about the iconic style. The Chico’s Denim Blazer in Sycamore Indigo ($149, chicos.com) and the Mango Women’s Denim Jacket With Belt in Dark Blue ($80, mango.com) project that same cool feeling and let you feel like you’re wearing jeans without actually wearing jeans. For those wondering about wearing a denim top and bottom: Yes, double denim is a fashion win for some, but for the 50-plus set, it can look gimmicky and forced. Do yourself a favor and choose just one.

spinner image Athleta Whisper Featherless Jacket in Acacia Olive; L.L. Bean Women’s Ultralight 850 Down Jacket in Field Gold; Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Jacket (Narrow Quilt) in 37 Brown
(Left to right) Athleta Whisper Featherless Jacket in Acacia Olive; L.L. Bean Women’s Ultralight 850 Down Jacket in Field Gold; Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Jacket (Narrow Quilt) in 37 Brown
Athleta; L.L. Bean; Uniqlo

6. Quilted jackets

Quilting makes Chanel bags and fluffy down blankets coveted items to own. It also makes jackets warmer and cozier without excess weight or structure. One of the best jackets to own is a very light insulated quilted style that’s water-repellent and designed for colder weather, rain and wind. Forget about the big puffy styles of the past that were unflattering and cumbersome to wear. The new quilts are streamlined and styled for active lifestyles, driving, commuting and traveling. The Athleta Whisper Featherless Jacket in Acacia Olive ($199, athleta.gap.com) has a swingy shape with a high-low hemline that’s perfect for wearing over the thickest sweaters or long tunic tops and is lined with Thinsulate. For more warmth, head for body-skimming lightweight down jackets designed with slimmer quilted “channels” such as the Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Jacket (Narrow Quilt) in 37 Brown ($80, uniqlo.com/us) and the L.L. Bean Women’s Ultralight 850 Down Jacket in Field Gold ($249, llbean.com) — so airy they roll and fold into a pocket for easy packing or storing.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?