Even when spring is in the air or summer has arrived, there will still be plenty of days when you want to wear a coat or jacket. Today, let’s explore how to choose a summer coat as well as some of the most stylish women’s jackets for summer that are in stores now.

First of all, when thinking about how to choose a summer coat, I think it’s important that you see your coat as an important piece of your wardrobe. It will usually get a lot of wear and it’s just as important to look and feel stylish when you are out and about in the streets than it is when you are indoors. If you like to wear a variety of styles in outfits you may like to have a few coat options as well.

The advantage of spring and summer is that your coats do not need to be as thick as winter coats and you can also use lighter jackets as your outerwear. Many jackets can do double duty as inner wear in the colder months.

For more styling tips, read our top tricks on what to wear in summer.

What to think about when choosing the best women’s jackets for summer

1. The weather

An obvious one. But what is the weather like where you are, and will your coat cope with it? For example, if it’s often rainy, you’ll want a waterproof option, but if it’s generally dry, then a little jacket to add warmth should be all you need.

2. Style or practicality

What purpose does your coat need to serve. Maybe you’re wearing if to stay dry or warm, or perhaps you actually just want your coat to add a little extra style to your outfit.

Summer coats - Melanie wears a kimono over her shorts and vest | 40plusstyle.com

Melanie @melanie.rae.miller above shows how you could wear a duster jacket or ruana over your vest and shorts combo. Perfect if you want to cover up a little during the summer without adding too much warmth.

Get her look with this similar top, denim shorts, kimono, sandals, straw tote and earrings.

3. Will it go with your outfits?

You want your summer coat to go with the outfits you have in your closet. If you want a versatile choice, then a denim jacket, moto jacket or a blazer should go with most things.

4. Casual or formal?

Your jackets for summer can change the tone of your outfit so bear that in mind when thinking about how to choose a summer coat that is right for you. For example, you could add a denim jacket to make your summer dress look more casual, or a blazer for a more formal occasion.

How to choose a summer coat or jacket + the best coats available online right now! | 40plusstyle.com

Beth @styleatacertainage above (read her style interview here) matches her jacket to her slide sandals.

She is wearing a cardigan, cuffed jeans, belt, and handbag (another option here) from Walmart. Check out this similar pair of sandals, and earrings to complete the look.

5. Are you traveling?

If you’re heading on vacation, you’re likely to need a cover-up of some sort for cooler evenings. Choose a coat or wrap that you can wear on the plane, and then when you arrive.

Best summer coats

Now that you’re thinking about why you need your summer coat, let’s look at some of the most stylish coats you could choose from stores now.

The Trench coat

Often listed as a must-have essential, the trench coat is always chic and a true classic. Both long and short versions look great with many outfits. This season there is a great variety of trench coats from classic cuts to more modern versions.

I especially like lighter colored trench coats for their great versatility. Choosing a trench in a color that is different from the traditional beige creates a great dynamic between the classic and the hip.

Trench coats look very good over jeans and classic pants but can also easily be worn with a-line skirts. Shorter trench coats look younger and more sporty while longer trenches have a more classic look.

How to choose a summer coat - ANINE BING Finley Trench | 40plusstyle.com

ANINE BING Finley Trench

Summer coats - Massimo Dutti Double Fabric Trench Coat | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Double Fabric Trench Coat

The coat I chose for the summer is a modern variation of the trench coat from Stella Carakasi.

summer coat options | 40plusstyle.com

While this coat (above) is past season, Stella Carakasi’s coat (below) is very similar.

How to choose a summer coat - Stella Carakasi Favorite Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Stella Carakasi Favorite Jacket

The blazer jacket

On warmer days, all you may need is a blazer jacket to serve as your coat. I especially like blazers with more casual jeans, as they can make a very casual outfit more chic.

An extra benefit of the blazer is that you can wear it as part of your indoor looks too.

You could choose a pale neutral shade, or a bright color. Look out for options in linen to keep you cool.

Summer coats - ANINE BING Quinn Blazer | 40plusstyle.com

ANINE BING Quinn Blazer

Summer jackets - J.Crew Stretch Linen Blend Parke Blazer | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Stretch Linen Blend Parke Blazer

You could also look out for a style that combines blazer with cardigan, like Adaline @sdmomstyles below.

Recreate her outfit with this similar tee, blazer, jeans, sneakers and crossbody bag.

How to choose a summer coat - Adaline wears a cardigan style blazer | 40plusstyle.com

The biker or moto jacket

Biker jackets are super hip right now and a great option when you want to add a bit of an edge to your look. You can buy these in lighter or heavier materials and they can be worn as outerwear but also as part of an outfit.

They look great and very modern over straight or A-line skirts as they make these more classical skirts more hip. They can also be worn with skinnies or straight jeans.

Summer jackets - BLANKNYC Faux Suede Moto Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

BLANKNYC Faux Suede Moto Jacket

Summer jackets - LY VAREY LIN Floral Embroidered Faux Leather Moto Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

LY VAREY LIN Floral Embroidered Faux Leather Moto Jacket

Summer jackets - Stella Carakasi Style To Spare Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Stella Carakasi Style To Spare Jacket

The leather jacket

Also very current is the leather jacket. Especially if you combine the other trend of moto jackets into the mix. You can opt for lined or unlined versions, with the latter ones being very suitable for summer.

Summer jackets - Cole Haan Racer Leather Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Cole Haan Racer Leather Jacket

Summer jackets - BLANKNYC Cropped Suede Leather Motorcycle Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

BLANKNYC Cropped Suede Leather Motorcycle Jacket

I’ve worn my unlined leather jacket on its own as inner wear as well as outer jackets to protect against the chill when in Europe and the US during summer.

How to choose a summer coat - Wearing leather coats with skirts | 40plusstyle.com

The denim jacket

Another option this summer is the denim jacket. They look good with so many clothes.

Style them with lighter bottoms like white pants or with your favorite skirts. They also look great over long dresses.

It’s also a good idea to combine dressy items with denim as this creates a great contrast and an interesting casual chic outfit. It’s the perfect way for 40+ women to wear denim.

This summer you can also choose to wear denim on denim which is very trendy right now. For more ideas also check out our article on how to wear a denim jacket.

How to choose a summer coat - KUT from the Kloth Helena Denim Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

KUT from the Kloth Helena Denim Jacket

How to choose a summer coat - J.Crew Louisa Denim Lady Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Louisa Denim Lady Jacket

Cathy @themiddlepageblog below (read her style interview here) shows how you can wear your denim jacket over any of your summer dresses for a classy, casual look.

Steal her look with this similar dress, denim jacket, sandals, bag (another option here), necklace and sunglasses.

Womens jackets for summer - Cathy wears a denim jacket over her maxi dress | 40plusstyle.com

The bomber jacket

Part of the sporty luxe trend, the bomber jacket will appeal to those with a more sporty style. It’s fun to combine these with more formal pants and straight skirts for a nice contrast.

Of course they are great for an all-round casual vibe as well, but I usually feel they look better on 40+ women if you dress them up a bit.

Womens jackets for summer - Steve Madden Yves Bomber Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Steve Madden Yves Bomber Jacket

Womens jackets for summer - Lucky Brand Lace Trim Bomber Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Lucky Brand Lace Trim Bomber Jacket

Women’s jackets for summer – The linen jacket

Linen jackets are great for summer.

They are the perfect cover up for warmer summer days or slightly cooler evenings but these jackets are also great to wear on its own as I’m doing here (below). I also recently wore this an outer jacket with a draped dress.

Womens jackets for summer - Karen Kane Ruched Sleeve Linen Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Ruched Sleeve Linen Jacket

Womens jackets for summer - Eileen Fisher Open Front Organic Linen Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen Fisher Open Front Organic Linen Jacket

Read this in-depth article on linen jackets and how to wear linen this summer.

The sleeveless jacket

If the chill on your arms does not bother you then a sleeveless coat is a great trendy option. We especially love the long sleeveless coat or vest for the long lean line it creates which is slimming and elongating. Or, you could try a shorter, moto style to give your outfit an edge. You can either wear with no sleeves, or long sleeves.

Madewell The Larsen Linen Vest | 40plusstyle.com

Madewell The Larsen Linen Vest

DKNY Faux Leather Moto Vest | 40plusstyle.com

DKNY Faux Leather Moto Vest

If you love to wear sleeveless jackets or a vest, we have some tips on how to wear them and a great list of options available online here.

How to choose a summer coat - Nora wears a sleeveless vest over her t-shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Nora @juststylela above (read her style interview here) wears a white vest over her pink t-shirt.

Check out this similar top, vest, pants, sandals, handbag, scarf, earrings and sunglasses.

women’s jackets for summer – Kimono or duster

If you want to add interest to your outfit, or perhaps a little coverage, without too much warmth, then a duster or kimono style could work. You could try a formal duster over an evening dress, or a casual style over your vest and shorts.

Misook Embroidered Stripe Organza Duster | 40plusstyle.com

Misook Embroidered Stripe Organza Duster

Popana Lightweight Sleeveless Duster | 40plusstyle.com

Popana Lightweight Sleeveless Duster

ruana

Similar to the duster and kimono, you can pop a lightweight ruana over your summer outfits, and they can also do double duty as a swimsuit cover up.

Kate Spade New York Joy Dot Ruana Scarf | 40plusstyle.com

Kate Spade New York Joy Dot Ruana Scarf

Treasure & Bond Lace Trim Short Sleeve Ruana | 40plusstyle.com | 40plusstyle.com

Treasure & Bond Lace Trim Short Sleeve Ruana

You’ll find more swimsuit cover-ups in this article.

How to choose a summer coat - Jas wears a utility style jacket over her jeans and sandals outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Jas @thefashionstylefile above chooses a utility jacket with her jeans and sandals.

Steal her look with this similar tee, jacket (another option here), jeans, sandals, belt and sunglasses.

cardigan

If it isn’t rainy, then a cardigan may be all you need. You could choose a shorter, cropped style with high waist pants, or a longer cardigan.

Womens jackets for summer - J.Crew Emilie Patch-Pocket Sweater Lady Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Emilie Patch-Pocket Sweater Lady Jacket

Womens jackets for summer - Nordstrom Linen Blend Cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Nordstrom Linen Blend Cardigan

bolero

If you have an event to attend this summer, then a bolero may be perfect to wear over your dress.

Womens jackets for summer - Eliza J Bolero Cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Eliza J Bolero Cardigan

Womens jackets for summer - Totatuit Knit Bolero | 40plusstyle.com

Totatuit Knit Bolero

Also take a look at how to cover up a formal dress.

cropped

A cropped jacket looks perfect for summer. Cropped styles can make your legs look longer, as they make your torso look shorter proportionately. Cropped jackets look good worn with high waisted, wide pants or your dresses.

Womens jackets for summer - COS Cropped Milano-Knit Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

COS Cropped Milano-Knit Jacket

Womens jackets for summer - J.Crew Collection Cropped Lady Trench Coat | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Collection Cropped Lady Trench Coat

women’s jackets for summer – shirt jacket

A shirt jacket (or shacket) will give you the warmth you need without being as bulky as your winter coats. Wear with your casual wear.

How to choose a summer coat - LAUDE the Label Roan Shirt-Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

LAUDE the Label Roan Shirt-Jacket

How to choose a summer coat - Karen Kane Stripe Shirt Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Stripe Shirt Jacket

How to choose a summer coat - Claudia wears a shirt over her striped dress | 40plusstyle.com

Claudia @glamupyourlifestyle above (read her style interview here) wears a shirt over her striped dress.

Recreate her outfit with this similar dress (other options here and here), shirt jacket, (another option here), sneakers, bag and necklace.

poncho

For a lightweight cover up, you could also try a poncho over your outfits. Ideal if you want to cover up while your travelling, and then you want something to cover your shoulders while on vacation.

How to choose a summer coat - Eileen Fisher Bateau Neck Linen Crop Poncho | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen Fisher Bateau Neck Linen Crop Poncho

How to choose a summer coat - PULI Cross Front Poncho | 40plusstyle.com

PULI Cross Front Poncho

raincoat

Perhaps your summer coat needs to be practical. If you think that you might get showers, a waterproof or water resistant option will be what you need. Wear for walking, hiking, or with your casual clothes. Also check the best trench coats for summer.

How to choose a summer coat - Columbia Flash Challenger™ Water Resistant Crop Windbreaker Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Columbia Flash Challenger Water Resistant Crop Windbreaker Jacket

How to choose a summer coat - Zella Sheer Water Resistant Packable Zip-Up Hooded Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Zella Sheer Water Resistant Packable Zip-Up Hooded Jacket

What kind of coat are you looking to add to your wardrobe this summer? Let us know in the comments below,

shop the featured women’s jackets for summer below:

Continue reading:

  1. What To Wear In Summer – My Top 10 Tips & Tricks
  2. The Best Bathing Suits For Women Over 40 – Swim Suits That Make You Feel Fabulous!
  3. The Best Bathing Suit Cover Ups – From Beach Cover Up To Maxi Kaftan!
  4. The Best Women’s Sandals For Summer 2023

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DRAFT: How to choose a summer coat or jacket + the best women's jackets for summer

Feature image by Beth @styleatacertainage

Sylvia

Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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