What Is a Jacket?

Jackets are more casual than coats and can be worn in most temperatures, but typically aren’t as insulating. They’re ideal for transitional seasons and come in a range of styles.

From a peacoat to a Harrington jacket, they’re the go-to outerwear for men looking to convey machismo and style. Jackets finish at waistline or higher and come in a variety of materials.


A jacket is an outer garment that extends from the hip or below, and covers your upper body. It can be any type of fabric, but typically features sleeves and a fastening in the front (though some jackets, such as gilets, are sleeveless). They are often lighter and less insulating than coats.

Jacket insulation is a key consideration as it affects how warm a jacket is, how it handles moisture and how it packs down. It’s also important to consider the conditions you will be using it in, as different types of insulation suit certain environments more than others.

For example, a down jacket is ideal for use in snow or wet conditions. But if you’re backpacking, a synthetic jacket may be more suitable as it can pack down smaller and is less bulky. A jacket’s ventilation is also important. While some people prefer a non-vented style, vents Jackets improve breathability and comfort when active or sweaty, and they are especially useful when climbing or skinning uphill. They also help to prevent overheating, which can be dangerous in cold weather.


The amount and type of insulation in a jacket determines how warm it will be. It also impacts the jacket’s weight and packability. The level of insulation required will depend on activity levels, sweatiness and weather conditions.

Down jackets use natural feathers that trap air, mimicking body warmth and reducing the need for bulky or hot fabrics. One ounce of down will have up to 2 million filaments creating tiny air pockets that trap body warmed air, providing warmth without added weight. The ‘fill power’ or ‘fill weight’ figure that you see on a down jacket refers to the density of the down – the higher the number the more dense the down.

Synthetic insulation is designed to replicate the structure of down clusters – it’s lighter, more compressible and just as warm but handles moisture much better. It will still retain heat if it becomes wet but won’t clump together like down and will dry much quicker. Hybrid jackets offer the best of both worlds, using both down and synthetic in different areas within the same garment.


Pockets add both function and style to a jacket. They can be positioned in the front, on the chest, or in the back of the garment. Regardless of which type of pocket is used, it is important to reinforce the edges to prevent them from coming unraveled. This can be done by using edge stitching, stitch-in-the-ditch, or top stitching. Edge stitching is the easiest to do, and works well with most fabrics. Top stitching, however, adds a more casual look and should be avoided for formal garments.

Flap pockets are the most common pocket style found in suit and sport jackets. They can be straight or slanted, and are sometimes joined by a ticket pocket. This style of pocket has its roots in English equestrian culture, and instantly gives a jacket a more rustic image.

Jetted pockets, also known as besom or piped pockets, have narrow strips of fabric sewn into a pocket cut to frame the opening. These are the neatest pockets you’ll find on a jacket, and make a great choice for formal wear, like tuxedos.


A jacket is a piece of outerwear worn over a shirt or tee to protect the wearer from cold temperatures. Jackets can be fitted or baggy depending on the style and material used. They can also be made of different types of fabrics and can be vented. The jacket’s history dates back to the Middle Ages or early Renaissance as a more fitted version of the shorter tunic worn by working-class men. The jacket was popularized by the British Navy as a warm and Women’s clothing manufacturer weather-resistant garment to wear out at sea. It was later marketed in India as the Nehru jacket and grew in popularity there, and then in Europe and America when Indian fabrics became more readily available in the 1960s.

A key consideration when choosing a jacket is understanding how it will be worn, either formally or casually. The more formal the occasion, the longer the jacket should be. This also applies to tailcoats and dress shirts. Jackets worn more casually, like sports coats or blazers, are typically shorter. They might have different kinds of lapels or pockets to add a bit of flair but they are not intended to be as long as a suit jacket.