Of a fall jacket, you ask the impossible. It has to work for a solid month of freezing mornings and almost warm afternoons. It seems pointless to own a piece of outerwear that's useful for six weeks a year at most.
But listen, six weeks of freezing or sweating are six weeks too many, especially when you have options. Behold, your options.
The first and best candidate is a Bedale jacket from Barbour for $379. No breaking news here -- it's a classic, and for good reason. Indestructible, waterproof and windproof, so long as you keep it waxed. The moment you let it dry out, it's like wearing a heavyweight T-shirt. No wax = no protection.
The other bulletproof option (please note, this is metaphor) is a down jacket from Patagonia for $249. It's warm and lightweight, and it breathes. But a blazer won't fit underneath it, so if you're corporate-bound and want something that won't look absurd with a pair of dress shoes, Marc by Marc Jacobs makes a stylish heavyweight nylon jacket for $528. It's not something you'd want to be wearing in a downpour or a freak snowstorm, but it's lined, fits well and looks reasonable at the office or on the weekend.
And if you've got an extra thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, a lightweight overcoat should do the trick. There's one by Anne Demeulemeester for Barneys for $1,470. It's cashmere, which is to say warm, but thin and trim enough that it won't feel like a prison if the sun comes out.
These are all solid jackets -- get one and you're set. For the next few weeks, at least.
James Tarmy reports on arts and culture for Bloomberg Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.