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.
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.
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.
Massimo Dutti Double Fabric Trench Coat
The coat I chose for the summer is a modern variation of the trench coat from Stella Carakasi.
While this coat (above) is past season, Stella Carakasi’s coat (below) is very similar.
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.
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.
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.
BLANKNYC Faux Suede Moto Jacket
LY VAREY LIN Floral Embroidered Faux Leather Moto Jacket
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.
Cole Haan Racer Leather Jacket
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.
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.
KUT from the Kloth Helena Denim Jacket
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.
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.
Steve Madden Yves Bomber Jacket
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.
Karen Kane Ruched Sleeve Linen Jacket
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
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.
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
Popana Lightweight Sleeveless Duster
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
Treasure & Bond Lace Trim Short Sleeve Ruana
You’ll find more swimsuit cover-ups in this article.
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.
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.
J.Crew Emilie Patch-Pocket Sweater Lady Jacket
Nordstrom Linen Blend Cardigan
If you have an event to attend this summer, then a bolero may be perfect to wear over your dress.
Also take a look at how to cover up a formal dress.
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.
COS Cropped Milano-Knit Jacket
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.
LAUDE the Label Roan Shirt-Jacket
Karen Kane Stripe Shirt Jacket
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.
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.
Eileen Fisher Bateau Neck Linen Crop Poncho
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.
Columbia Flash Challenger™ Water Resistant Crop Windbreaker Jacket
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:
- What To Wear In Summer – My Top 10 Tips & Tricks
- The Best Bathing Suits For Women Over 40 – Swim Suits That Make You Feel Fabulous!
- The Best Bathing Suit Cover Ups – From Beach Cover Up To Maxi Kaftan!
- The Best Women’s Sandals For Summer 2023
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Feature image by Beth @styleatacertainage
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I love the Stella Carakasi coat at the top of the page. Double breasted button trench. It is not on the website. Is it not a current style? I love the collar.
Please let me know where I can find it. Thank you
Unfortunately this particular style is not available any more but they still have similar styles in their store.
I was looking for some denim jackets for my wife who have recently gained lot of weight. I plan to get her a bespoke jacket from Manning Company Bespoke Tailors (www.manningcompany.com) so that she can have the designs she loos for but i am not very sure if a denim jacket is the right pick or not. Can you please suggest me which material is the perfect call considering her weight issues?
Basically any fabric that is not clingy would be good, so denim is a good option so long as you get a tailored jacket.(not too boxy)
Wonderful selection of coats. Gosh I adore the printed one. Fun to see your hair at the different lengths. I see the sleeveless jackets or vest in the stores and think of you. I purchased a couple of bomber style things. If short enough, they feel fresh and something new to try.
Haha yes I’m displaying quite a few hairstyles here. What do you like best?
Hello Sylvia- loved your collection of coats & jackets and such a wide selection of styles! I totally agree with you that it’s a great way to add some color & I’m finding the older I get the more I need some of that! Currently I have about 6 new spring coats in a variety of colors waiting for my Michigan winter to end so I can start wearing them. It’s amazing how many compliments you get when you go colorful with a coat! Great post!!!
Great recommendations Sylvia! I like them even better because I have most items readily available in my closet. An advantage of living in a cooler climate I guess. While I won’t be shopping for anything new I will be wearing my white blazer, like the one you are wearing with Jeans, a mint vegan moto (see my 21 Steps Style Course page), 2 denim jackets (one cropped and one with woven design), a short lightweight unlined single breasted kelly green Burberry trench coat, and a suede coat dress. Will try to restyle them for this season.
None…. I have enough. The Trouvé white moto jacket is very nice, but I have no idea whether it will suit me. So to order it from the USA and having it sent to Holland…no not really. Too much risk.
Do you have any moto jackets or anything similar in your country?
i love the IDEA of a trenchcoat – but in my daily life i don´t need one actually. in the car it is to much, on the bike to long, to light and not rainproof enough, on our colder summer days not warm enough and on warmer days i don´t really need a coat…..
so mostly i wear cardigans or a anorak.
luckily my dream trenchcoat did cost me only 14 euros – for a vintage burberry´s – so even if i only wear it once a season it´s o.k. 🙂
What a great compilation of coats!! I think some people often overlook that fact, that a great jacket can make/break the outfit—even though you put it on over your “outfit”….it’s still the first impression!! jodie
I am definitely in the market for a light jacket, but about the time I get around to realizing I need one, the weather has tipped into summer and I don’t need it again.
I have one that I have been holding onto for years that is a beautifully colored turquoise trench coat, but with some very dated styling. I know it’s out of style and never wear it, I know I should get rid of it — my modus operandi is tossing stuff that I no longer wear — but for some reason, it’s still in the front hall closet. (Maybe if I keep it a few more years, I can call it vintage and wear it again?)
Wonderful picks, Sylvia. In Florida we don’t need one, but I’d love a sleeveless jacket like you’ve shown here. xo
Not sure about that. We visit every summer and some air conditioned restaurants in Florida have had me longing for my scarf and mittens! LOL