Summer is the perfect time to showcase your individual style and wear those items you’ve been waiting all winter to haul out of the back of the wardrobe again. In some ways, choosing an outfit for summer can be even trickier than winter, and selecting pieces that will keep you cool during the day but keep off the chill when the sun goes down presents a new challenge.
The key to a retro summer outfit is finding the perfect vintage jacket, something lightweight that will bring a sense of style to your look without causing you to sweat, so here are some suggestions that every mod, two-tone and pin-up fanatic has in their wardrobe.
Types of Vintage Jacket
Presently, there are so many different types of outerwear available that the origins of each jacket may have been forgotten about. With so many colours, materials and styles on the high street and online, it is quite rare to find a genuine vintage style product exactly as it would have been when it first became popular.
For example, leather jackets were first worn in the 1950s by young people who wanted to make a rebel statement, often paired with a plain white t-shirt and rolled-up jeans. Today, leather jackets are available in not just leather but suede and vinyl materials and all sorts of colours.
Pilots first wore bomber jackets in the 1920s, made with thick, warm layers to keep pilots warm as they travelled in open-air cockpits. Today, these jackets are available in a thin, lightweight design to compliment an outfit – a million miles from their original purpose.
Harrington jackets became popular in the 1930s and were named after a popular TV character, Rodney Harrington, starring in ‘Peyton Place.’ They later became known as part of mod culture and are still worn in the current day, primarily with traditional styles, unlike other vintage jackets.
Styling Leather Jackets
Part of the reason why leather jackets have become so popular is because of how versatile they are. They can be worn by men who want to dress down a formal outfit, by women who want to toughen up a very feminine outfit, and even by children as a nice jacket for family meals or events.
Traditionally, these jackets would have been expensive as they were always made with genuine leather, but as consumers wanted a cheaper alternative, most are now made with a vinyl material featuring silver hardware. These are readily available in most high street stores all year round, as they can be layered in winter or worn on their own in summer.
For the perfect vintage summer outfit, style a black leather vintage jacket over a plain t-shirt and some casual jeans. For a truly vintage look, pair with some all-star Converse and you wouldn’t look out of place in 1950s America!
Styling Bomber Jackets
These jackets are symbolic of masculinity and are often worn in the modern day by bouncers to round off their silhouette, giving the appearance of broad shoulders and big arms due to the jacket’s structure.
Traditionally made in navy and khaki, featuring an orange inner lining designed to capture the attention of other pilots after a crash landing, these jackets are now a smart addition to any outfit. Best of all, they are lightweight pieces that are perfect for layering in summer.
This vintage summer jacket can be worn to any occasion. For a formal event, wear smart two-tone trousers with leather shoes and a shirt, then finish off the look with a navy bomber jacket for a smart, stylish vintage look.
If you’re going for a ska/skinhead style, opt for a green bomber jacket on top of a smart polo shirt with some rolled-up straight leg jeans and Dr Martens boots to finish the look off.
Styling Harrington Jacket
Harringtons jackets are great for summer because they are light enough to keep you cool while protecting you from rain and wind. These jackets are available through virtually every high street retailer after being worn by some of the most famous people in the world, including Elvis, James Dean and Liam Gallagher.
These vintage jackets are incredibly versatile and can be worn by men and women with pretty much any outfit.
Men might wear it with a polo shirt, straight-leg jeans and trainers for a casual vintage summer look, while women might wear one with a polo shirt and pencil skirt, finishing off the look with a pair of Dr Martens boots for an authentic vintage style.
Similarly to bomber jackets, these can be worn as an alternative to suit jackets to dress an outfit down and add a sense of personality to a formal look. Especially in black or navy, the tartan inner layer might subtly appear with each movement.
These vintage looks can go from season to season, swapping individual items depending on the daily temperature. On a particularly hot day, you could swap the jeans for smart shorts or change your Dr Martens for a pair of lighter trainers. On a summer evening or night out, these jackets are the perfect way to make a vintage statement and show your identity to the world. With these essential three looks in your wardrobe, you’re guaranteed effortless style every time you leave the house.