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Style Advice

The best jackets to own in your 30s

The best jackets to own in your 30s

Jackets serve many a purpose: they’re your armour against the elements, an expression of your personal style, and the first thing people see you wearing in the cold-weather months. So lest you’ve been throwing on any old outer-layer in arm’s reach, we’d challenge you to give yours a bit more consideration. And that involves factoring in your age. 

Now we're not suggesting that age should in any way limit your personal style. There is a way to style every outerwear style during any period of your life – in fact, we've seen 50-somethings style bomber jackets more stylishly than the coolest 25 year olds. All it takes are a few style tweaks and the right level of confidence. 

That said, there are certain styles you’ll get the most wear out of during these prime years – and if you invest in high-quality iterations, you’ll be able to keep hold of them well into your 40s. We tapped resident style expert Toby Standing to walk you through his favourites. Your 30s are about to get a lot more stylish. 

Trench coat

Why it works

Your 30s is still a time to experiment with style and have fun, but because it's likely you have a larger disposable income, we recommend investing in a classic, higher-quality style, so you'll have it for years to come. The beauty of a trench is it works well with casual and smart pieces alike, so you’ll get a tonne of wear out of it. And it has the silhouette of an overcoat without the formality, so it won’t look stuffy. It’s a coat with decades of history behind it, so it’s not going anywhere. 

Photographed: A.P.C. City Mac ($539)

What to look for

For a fresher feel, go for a single-breasted trench that hits above the knee. Any longer and you risk looking like you’re in “The Matrix”. 

How to style it 

Don’t feel limited to wearing it with a shirt, tie, and smart shoes. This coat works well with all styles, even sweatshirts and relaxed trousers. 

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Denim jacket

Why it works

The denim jacket is a trans-seasonal hero that works especially well at this time in your life because you’ve probably already tried and tested it. And the good news is that you can continue wearing it in the same casual way you did in your 20s, while also finding new ways to elevate it now and down the road. Because it’s been adopted by so many people and sub-cultures over the years, it belongs to everyone. 

Photographed: A.P.C. Denim Jacket ($294)

What to look for

As this is the age to start investing in things that will last you a while, I recommend buying a smarter version of the denim jacket you lived in in your 20s. For maximum wearability, invest in a slightly more classic one in lieu of one that’s trend-driven. A light-wash style will work better with more casual styles, while a darker, selvedge style can be dressed up with a wool trouser and rollneck in the winter. 

How to style it 

The denim jacket tilts in a casual direction, so it works well with your classic crewneck tees and sweatshirts. But as I said before, don’t hesitate to style it with a pair of wool trousers and knit for a smarter cold-weather look. 

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Utility jacket

Why it works

The utility jacket sits at a kind of a midpoint between a denim jacket and a mac, so it’s fresh and classic all at once. It tends to come in a cotton twill, so it will feel more mature than a nylon or technical fabric, which you see in streetwear styles often sported by guys in their 20s.  

Because the workwear aesthetic is ingrained in menswear and will be forever, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with this style, and every brand has a version, so can have your pick of what you like best. It’s also a great substitute for a blazer or smart coat in a smart casual or creative office. It also has the same silhouette as a shirt, so it’s a no-brainer to pull off, which isn’t the case with all outerwear. 

Photographed: Universal Works Bakers Jacket ($217)

What to look for

I’d look for one with a classic silhouette that crops at the hip so it feels modern. Utility jackets look their best in olive green and other neutrals, so stick with those tones. 

How to style it 

In addition to wearing it with casual everyday styles, I like it in a place of an unstructured blazer and over a crewneck sweater with chinos and low-top trainers. It’s a more interesting take on smart style. It’s also a great neutral style for offsetting bolder styles and patterns.

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Words: Allison Pavlick
Styling: Toby Standing