While basking poolside in the sunny afternoon heat, jackets and sweaters are the furthest things from our minds. But as we near September, it’s crucial to consider the sudden change in evening temperatures and how they might impact your wardrobe. A.k.a. light layers are a must-buy before fall rolls around. To look cool while staying warm, consider investing in these 10 versatile, affordable, and trendy jackets and tops for all your light-night outdoor hangs.
1. This unisex windbreaker Match the rainbows during sun showers. (Photo: Teva x Cotopaxi)
It might not feel like much on the rack because its repurposed and sustainable polyester taffeta material is so thin, but draped against your body shielding you from a cool breeze, you’ll realize this water-repellent and highly breathable Teva x Cotopaxi collab is basically the ideal summer jacket. It features a massive front pocket to rest your hands or fill up with a fanny pack’s worth of belongings, a half-zip to adapt to your ever-shifting body temperature, and a hood for drizzly nights. And that color scheme! It makes doves cry.
Get the Cotopaxi x Teva Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker at REI for $90
2. This cropped jacket from Lululemon Crop it like it's hot (or cold). (Photo: Lululemon)
Cropped hoodies and tanks are in, so naturally, you’ll want to show off those high waistbands with a cropped jacket. Featuring a cinchable hem, you can adjust the length for extra ventilation or coverage (though it does include a ventilated back, making it ideal for warm days when you don’t want to carry your jacket in your bag). One 5-star reviewer even points out how well this jacket transitions to various climates: “Super light weight, cool enough for summer days, while also providing enough warmth for cooler nights. Will be awesome for hikes/walks/travel—just about anything.”
Get the Slip into the Moment Short Jacket at Lululemon for $128
3. This all-purpose jean jacket A jean jacket is the perfect summer layer. (Photo: BlankNYC)
There’s nothing more laid-back looking (and feeling!) than a distressed denim jacket. It instantly adds an element of both approachability and intimidation to your outfit, making it the perfect option when you’re not sure what kind of vibe you’re going for. Its adjustable button side tabs and one-button cuffs will also allow you to play with the fit. As the No.1 top-rated denim jacket at Nordstrom, customers say it’s an all-around awesome jacket no matter the occasion: “I had been searching and searching for a great every day jean jacket and here it is. And at a wonderful price! Every time I wear it I get compliments.”
Get the BlankNYC Distressed Denim Jacket at Nordstrom for $68
4. The cult-favorite Patagonia Better Sweater No matter the weather, this sweater is to the rescue. (Photo: Patagonia)
Not sure if it’s sweater or jacket weather? Opt for both. This top-rated option from Patagonia fuses the buttery soft recycled polyester material of a hoodie with the length and coverage of a coat, so you never feel too over- or under-dressed when it comes to unpredictable nighttime weather. An adjustable hood draw cord and handwarmer pockets will help you feel bundled up. With a 5-star rating, the consensus is that it’s a wardrobe staple no matter the season: “The fit is perfect, roomy enough to layer but not bulky so it can be worn over a light weight top. On my petite frame it falls at a perfect peacoat length. This has become a staple to my wardrobe.”
Get the Patagonia Women's Better Sweater Coat at Dick’s Sporting Goods for $91.97
5. This sporty Adidas jacket All Day I Dream About Sporty Jackets. (Photo: Adidas essentials jacket)
You’d be hard-pressed to find an athleisure brand that’s as comfortable, timeless, and affordable as Adidas. Available in five colors, this classic option with more than 500 reviews looks great thrown over your workout clothes or sundress for a pared-down casual look. Its recycled polyester tricot material sits snugly around the torso and arms, and it features deep pockets for storing your belongings. Reviewers say they can easily wear this jacket all day—from morning to night no matter the weather.
Get the Essentials Tricot Track Jacket at Adidas for $35
6. This utility jacket that goes with anything Form-fitting and functional, it doesn't get more practical. (Photo: Gap)
Boasting a borrowed-from-the-boys aesthetic, this twill stretch oversized, functional jacket is a chilly summer night essential to pair with jeans, a light tee, and sandals. Though it’s longer than your standard jacket, its cinched waist accentuates the silhouette so you feel put together, and its many pockets save your back from having to carry a bag. One of its many 5-star reviewers says “I love this jacket a lot. The color, fabric, style, and finishing is awesome. It will be a good jacket to throw on when the weather is slightly cold during summer and mostly during fall.”
Get the Utility Jacket at Gap for $72
7. This summer-friendly flannel Live your best lumberjack life. (Photo: L.L.Bean)
When we think of L.L.Bean, durable flannel comes to mind. And for this flannel’s 3,000 reviewers, that same sentiment rings true. Made of brushed high-quality Portuguese flannel and coming in 12 different patterns, you can wear it alone as a top or layered over a thin tee. One reviewer says, “I have five of them and they are best flannels I have ever worn.”
Get the Women's Scotch Plaid Flannel Shirt, Relaxed at L.L.Bean starting at $44.99
8. This chunky cardigan for the outdoors Who needs a fleece blanket when your clothes are this cozy? (Photo: Free People)
It’s even in the name: This cardigan will keep you cozy (and mosquito bite-free) while you sit around a bonfire. With over 5,200 fans on Free People, this top-selling layer features a cropped slim fit, wooden buttons (to match the great outdoors!), and cinched wristbands. Coming in six stunning colors, it's the end-of-summer cardigan for everyone, including this 5-star reviewer, who says, ‘This is probably my favorite cardigan. The sleeves are a little big on me, but that’s exactly what I was looking for. It keeps me warm but it’s still light enough to throw on during the summer and the color is very nice.”
Get the Bonfire Cardi at Free People for $128
9. This super soft cashmere turtleneck Turtlenecks this soft are officially a late summer staple. (Photo: Mott & Bow)
Every summer wardrobe needs at least one turtleneck like this one from Mott & Bow made with grade A Mongolian cashmere yarn. It comes in light and soft hues so as not to jar your senses after wearing a wardrobe entirely of florals and pastels the whole season, a turtleneck neckline to avoid wearing a chunky scarf on colder nights, and won’t pill. The material is so buttery soft you’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a blanket. With a 5-star rating, reviewers say, “This sweater is my new favorite. The weight of the fabric is perfect, the fit exceptional, and the feel is precisely what one wants from a cashmere sweater. I love it. It is a new favorite.”
Get the Cashmere Turtleneck – Willow at Mott & Bow for $80
10. This lightweight Madewell shirt Worn alone or over a tank, you'll never want to take it off. (Photo: Madewell)
Sometimes you just need a paper-thin layer to protect you from the elements (i.e. slight summer breeze), and that’s where this best-selling beauty comes in. It features dropped shoulders for an effortless, casual vibe, and banded sleeves that sit an inch or two above your wrists so they don’t get stuck to your roasted marshmallows (because that’s what you’re doing all summer, right? Right??). One reviewer calls it the “perfect summer top” because “It’s slightly sheer but super lightweight and the colors are beautiful. This runs small but I sized up for a more flowy fit and I’m so glad I did. Because it’s a little sheer, I think an oversized look is more flattering. Snag this one if you can! Will be perfect to transition into fall as well.”
Get the Striped Gauze Drop-Shoulder Popover Top at Madewell for $54.99
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