Look out the window. The Starks were right - winter is coming. You've probably dusted off that old Northern Alpine-windbreaker jacket you had buried down the back of your wardrobe, am I right? That luminous yellow thing might be grand if you're scaling the western face of Mont Blanc, but you're not going there any time soon. You need to look at sorting that shit post-haste. Here's the rules to follow:
5. Keep in mind that it's going to piss rain on a daily basis.
You're in Ireland. It's going to rain. It's never going to be as crisp and beautiful as it looks in those Lowe Alpine ads. It's going to be drenched and your bus is going to be filled with condensation. Therefore, you need to consider the material of the jacket. Mohair and that kind of felt-look isn't going to cut it. It's going to be soggy and smelly in a day or two of hard rain. Not only that, it'd probably shrink on you as well. Your best bit is either something that rain will fall off quickly. That means parka jackets. We love them. They're completely utilitarian, fit-for-purpose and look amazing at the same time. Best thing is you can pick up a nice one for about €60 in the right place.
4. Check the length.
Depending on what you're wearing the jacket with, the length of the jacket should be a consideration. Forget about ankle-length trenchcoats. Unless you know what Warhammer 40,000 is or you're familiar with the back-catalogue of Manowar, you're never going to be wear a trenchcoat. However, half-trenchcoats can be quite cool. Again, it's a question of length. The half-trenchcoat just goes a little bit beyond your belt so if you're looking for something to go beyond that, well, look elsewhere. The great thing about half-trenchcoats are the fact they can go with anything. Suit, jeans, t-shirt. Whatever. Not only that, they also come in different material, heavy or light depending on your preference. The heavier ones are great for keeping you warm, but it's like a mini-workout wearing them. Opt for something light and wear an extra layer if you're cold.
Let's make this clear. You do not need twenty pockets. You are never going to need twenty pockets. Any jacket that has more than four pockets on the outside looks tacky as shit. Clean, simple design. That's what you want from a jacket. Two pockets on the outside, two inner pockets on the inside. That's it. An extra two pockets on the front is acceptable in VERY limited cases. Think about it - you don't want to be fumbling and struggling for your keys or change, patting down every single pocket on your jacket. You check left, you check right. If it's not there, it fell out. Simple as.
2. Avoid branding.
Branding on jackets isn't cool. Certain jackets - we're not saying who - have their label and a foreign language plastered all over them and it looks crap. Like we said before, you want something sleek and chic that's not overtly flashy. You want a jacket that looks as effortless and sits on you right. Walking around with a huge brand on the back or front of a jacket is like walking around with an advertising sandwich-board. Avoid it at all costs.
1. Be selective.
If you find a type of jacket you like, stick to it. There's no point in having twelve different types of jacket, clogging up your wardrobe. If you've found a style that suits you and looks good, keep to it. Don't bother experimenting. It's way too cold for that shit. Find a variation on it, sure, but keep to the general feel and vibe of the jacket you're trying to replicate. You want this to be practical, a work-horse. It's not a going-out jacket or a date jacket, it's your armour for getting you home with the least possible fuss.