One of the hallmarks of the British transitional seasons is their fluctuating temperatures and unreliable weather forecasts, which can make leaving the house well-dressed and well-prepared it a bit of a nightmare. However, this is where a shacket excels. Although the name is a little daft, they are a truly versatile and dependable layer – just ask the military men and labourers that have championed them over the years.
Coming in somewhere between your standard shirt and a lightweight jacket, this garment adds a little beef where needed, without the baggage of weighing you down. All you need to do is find the right one! Luckily, we’ve put together a buying guide to help you discover the subtle differences between each shacket, as well as a list of picks from ASOS, John Lewis and more.
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Table of Contents
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the most pressing factors you need to consider when picking up a shacket. We’ll be thinking about materials, the forever-vital pocket situation, whether you fancy a lining, and who wins in the war of plaid vs plain.
One of the big questions that needs asking before buying any garment is "What material is it made from?". This is because the fabric will determine the characteristics and qualities of what you’re buying, which of course, in this case, is a shacket. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular textiles and see what they have to offer.
One of the more common materials used in any style of clothing, including shackets, is the ever-reliable cotton. This material is easy to produce, low-cost, easy to maintain, and easy to wash.
However, it does have some downfalls, the main one being that it won’t stand up too well if the heavens open. Plus, it’s not that good at retaining heat, therefore, a cotton shacket may be OK in the summer evenings or as a layer beneath a bigger coat, but it's not something you’d wear as your warm layer in the middle of November.
Another popular shacket material (and autumn clothing material in general), corduroy is always a good option for this time of year. This fabric hard-wearing, warm and looks good on guys of all ages, plus, it can come in a variety of different weights depending on which you prefer.
A thicker corduroy fabric can be a little heavy, though, and while it is mainly used when producing trousers, it can rear its head on shackets. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify this specific trait when buying online, so be sure to check the reviews if you're looking for something lightweight to layer.
A trusty material for many other types of garments, denim is known for its durability, its relatively low cost, and its sustainability as a fabric. It’s not a common choice when it comes to shackets, although in recent times we have seen fashion step in and begin to use the material.
As with many shacket materials, denim isn't made to stand up well in the rain and will become particularly heavy if you do get caught in a shower. Plus, it will take an age to dry when you do make it home, so this is another one to keep for indoor wear or milder weather.
As with denim (both twill and denim are made from cotton, in case you didn't know!), twill is a popular fabric used in the making of hard-wearing and versatile clothes. One additional benefit of twill is that it shows very few stains, which is due to the pattern of the weave – worth remembering if you’re a little clumsy or you work outside.
Unfortunately, twill is more expensive to produce than other fabrics with a plain-weave, and consequently, you can expect to pay more for a shacket made from this material. Also, its distinct weave pattern can make the garments harder to clean.
Wool is the warmest of all the fabrics we've discussed. This is because of its outstanding insulation capabilities which retain the body's natural heat.
Of course, this is a good quality when you want to be cosy. However, if you’re looking for a versatile shacket that can be worn both in the post-summer months as a single layer and then teamed up with heavier fabrics come winter, it may be a little much. Wool can also be considered scratchy depending on the grade you get.
Alongside the other materials, you could find a shacket which is comprised of a blend of fabrics. These will usually contain one of the big guys that we have mentioned, only with the addition of synthetic materials such as polyester, polyamide, viscose or acrylic.
These will generally be used for one or both of two reasons. Firstly, they help bring the cost down, meaning that the clothes are more obtainable for consumers. Win.
Secondly, when it comes to garments like wool, they can be a little hit or miss when it comes to texture, so making a blend with a smoother and more comfortable material means that the shacket will be popular with a wider array of people. And lastly, they are easier to wash and care for.
After the materials, you’ll want to consider the available pockets. Usually, when it comes to shackets, you will have at least two small-ish breast pockets, which resemble those that you would find on a shirt.
Nevertheless, these are not as convenient as lower side pockets, which are more commonly found on jackets. Luckily, there are options out there that can provide you with both, which create a much more useful garment for carrying everyday items such as your phone, wallet, and keys.
On the other hand, some shackets come without any pockets, so you won’t get any of the benefits. This is something to keep in mind, particularly if you don’t like carrying a bag or you don't plan on wearing another outer layer.
Another feature worth looking out for in your shacket, particularly as we approach the chillier months, is a lining. These will usually be either fleece or borg (a faux sheepskin alternative). Both materials are made from polyester and are effective at trapping body heat which then sustains warmth.
The flip-side to a warm, lined shacket, however, is that it becomes less versatile. Therefore, if you'd prefer a piece of apparel that you can pop on for those mid-season summer or autumn evenings, a shacket with fleece is likely going to be a little too hot. It all depends on when you want to wear it.
Finally, while it’s more down to personal taste, we thought we would touch on the plaid vs plain argument. Both have distinct style qualities, so as a result, you’ll need to consider the rest of your wardrobe to see which would fit better.
Plain can work with both smart and informal outfits. Plain shackets tend to come in neutral colours, such as khaki, navy, black or grey. This makes them the ultimate weapon when it comes to layering as they will go with practically anything.
Plaid, on the other hand, is considered more casual, so if you’re a bloke who likes to keep it easygoing, then this is generally a good option. However, you’ll only be able to do informal, which makes the shacket less adaptable.
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Clark Teddy Overshirt Jacket
Cosy and Sophisticated, the Perfect Everyman's Shacket
Warm, Stylish, Practical and a Bargain!
Salinac Denim Shirt Jacket
Proof That It's Nice to Try Something New Sometimes
Men's Military Sherpa Shacket
Avoid a Moral Dilemma Every Time You Get Dressed
Castleford Cord Shacket
A Classic Corduroy With All-Day Comfort
Wool Mix Harrington Shacket
A Modern Twist on a Traditional Jacket Shape
Wool Mix Overshirt
Perfect the Canadian Lumberjack Look
Zip Through Overshirt
Maintain a Casual Impression With Cool Muted Tones
Twill 2 Pocket Shacket
A Sophisticated Number From a High-Street Powerhouse
Drummond Checked LS Overshirt
A Contemporary Take on a Well-Loved Pattern
We know that not everyone will be after the addition of a lining, yet we feel like most men in the UK would benefit from having a shacket with one – especially if you want to get plenty of use out of your purchase. Hence why this organic cotton Selected Homme Overshirt takes our number 1 spot!
Also, its ultra-soft and cloud-like lining provides warmth and cosiness, all while being framed in a sophisticated and sleek khaki overshirt style. Whether you want to wear it over a hoody with some joggers or a just over a t-shirt with your jeans, this garment can accomplish every shacket look with ease.
This shacket from Regatta has a timeless look that will not be out of place in any bloke's clothing arsenal. Whether you're taking a hike, trekking home from the country pub or simply pottering around town, this garb will look good in all casual situations.
Moreover, not only is it stylish, but it's extremely practical too, thanks to the addition of a fleece lining and the holy grail – not one but four pockets! Best of all, it's an absolute bargain, coming in under £20.
Carhartt has a range of different overshirts available, from plum corduroy to cream canvas. Still, we opted for this denim number as we think it's nice to step away from tradition and always exciting to encourage something new into our wardrobes.
Made from their 13.5 oz Maitland denim with a vintage blue wash, this is a contemporary take on an overshirt with its concealed button closure and mismatched breast pockets. These little details are what give the piece of clothing that extra little bit of intrigue, without the need for anything too drastic.
Mixing the sherpa collar that is frequently found on heavier jackets and transferring that to an overshirt is somewhat of a gamble, but we feel that Levi's have hit the nail on the head here. The style completely epitomises the kind of trucker jacket that can be seen up highways in the US.
This shacket is made from 100% cotton, which makes it suitable as either an outer or inner layer, depending on the weather. Plus, because getting dressed shouldn't be some kind of moral dilemma, Levi's ensure they source only the most sustainable materials.
This classic corduroy style shirt from AllSaints is light enough to be worn as an underlayer, whilst also providing just enough warmth as an outer layer in the transitional seasons. As well as heat, this well-designed shacket will offer all-day comfort and lasting style.
Whilst we've opted for the slightly more interesting almost-brown khaki colour, it's also available in black for those that would like to keep it a little more conventional. And unlike wool shackets, this one can be machine washed.
Marrying the design of a shirt with a classic jacket shape (the Harrington jacket) could very easily have gone wrong for all parties involved. Thankfully, ASOS DESIGN played an absolute blinder and produced a wonderfully-cultured and stylish piece of kit.
The garment looks more like a jacket than a shirt, but with the two breast pockets carried over, we think it strikes a great balance between both looks. Our only slight criticism is the ratio of the material blend, which we would have preferred to have a little more wool.
We don't know about you, but we think this shacket from ASOS Design just screams Canadian lumberjack. The wool-blend even ensures that it could stand up to the job pretty well too, unless it drops to those insanely low B.C. -40 °C's, that is.
If the wool mix wasn't enough, this shacket also comes complete with a cotton lining, although, we imagine this is more in aid of creating comfort rather than retaining heat. We are concerned about the lack of pockets too, as the overshirt doesn't even have the regular two breast ones.
If you're a fan of muted tones and want to maintain a casual impression, this navy and dark green combination will be right up your street. The colourway is only one piece of the magic though, with Another Influence using quality soft cotton, a zip to keep the heat in, and a smart spread collar.
Furthermore, if you're working on a tight budget, this is going to be appealing as it comes in as one of the least expensive products in our whole ranking. It also has four pockets, unlike many of its more expensive competitors.
This shacket from high-street powerhouses Topman is a classy number. The soft, stretch twill material creates a comfortable feel, while the zip-through fastening provides the shacket with a touch more sophistication than its buttoned counterparts.
It also comes in an adaptable light grey which will seamlessly fit in amongst most people's wardrobes. That said, while the neutral tone is good for matching with other garments, it is a risky colour for an outer layer as it could become dirty easily.
Getting us underway is this fiery number from Farah. It utilises the well-loved familiarity of plaid but adds a contemporary twist with the navy and orange colourway – something that isn't seen often. The shacket is made from 50% wool too, so you know it will be toasty warm.
The downside is that the other 50% is made from what is described as 'other fibres', which may be OK for some folk, but here at mybest, we like to know what we're buying! It also does not have any pockets.
Looking to update your autumn/winter wardrobe but don't fancy a trip to town? Get your comfies on and shop our favourite boots, jumpers and raincoats for men without leaving the sofa.
So there it is, our comprehensive guide to buying the best shacket for men. Whether you're looking for something to pop on when you're feeling a chill or a reliable layer that you can use for most of the year, we believe that if you follow our buying guide, you'll no doubt find the right garment. Here's to being warm and looking good!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Selected Homme｜Clark Teddy Overshirt Jacket
No. 2: Regatta｜Tygo Shacket
No. 3: Carhartt WIP ｜Salinac Denim Shirt Jacket
No. 4: Levi's｜Men's Military Sherpa Shacket
No. 5: AllSaints｜Castleford Cord Shacket
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