June 1st, 2015
Sportcoats, like suits, have been around for ages. They’re a foundational element of classic menswear, and they’re not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. What a lot of guys don’t know is that traditionally a sport coat (or “blazer”) was meant as a casual item; a weekend alternative to the business suit that gentlemen wore throughout the workweek.
As dress codes have gradually became more and more casual over the past hundred years or so, the sportcoat hasn’t disappeared, it just changed shape. Today the perfect Spring/Summer jacket is lightweight, unlined, and unstructured (minimal shoulder padding and a thin flexible canvas).
In the hopes of inspiring gentlemen to re-introduce some tailored goods into their casual wardrobes, here are my recommendations for go-to Spring/Summer sportcoats.
As always, feel free to use the comment section to ask more specific questions or share insights from your personal experience. What is your go-to sport jacket?
The Navy Hopsack
Every man who appreciates being well-dressed should own at least one navy sport coat. It’s an American classic that is as timeless as it is versatile. This one, cut from wool hopsack, is designed with patch pockets and gun metal buttons in place of the uber-traditional and uber-preppy gold crests.
Recommended with: just about anything, really.
Shop: Navy Hopsack Jacket
The Tropical Houndstooth
A houndstooth pattern (with or without a windowpane overlay) in a tropical weight wool (like this 8oz “high-twist”) is the perfect Spring/Summer equivalent to the tweed sportcoat that you wear throughout the Fall & Winter. This one has triple patch pockets and one colored buttonhole to draw out the light blue of the check.
Recommended with: a chambray shirt, navy chinos, wingtip brogues.
The Bold Chino
Every once in a while, when you’re feeling bold, it’s time to break out some strong color. The best fabric for this is a chino cotton because it holds rich dyes and gives you that matte, slightly rumpled look. I like saturated sunny colors like a golden mustard or this deep tangerine.
Recommended with: a white linen shirt, stone grey chinos, burgundy tassel loafers.
Shop: Khaki Cotton Jacket
The Country Clubber
For the prep set, there’s nothing more New England than a plaid sportcoat. It’s a classic American style that screams old money, but with a trim cut and a more muted color palette (like this navy and grey) it can also be hip, young and cool (depending on your styling decisions, or course).
Recommended with: a light colored oxford shirt, dark linen trousers and a lot of attitude (maybe a tilted panama hat and slick pair of shades).
The Summer Tweed
Ok, so maybe this is the perfect lightweight equivalent to your go-to tweed jacket. “Summer Tweed” has a similar beefy texture to thick woolens, but the silk/linen blend wicks away moisture and breathes much better (especially without a lining or shoulder padding).
Recommended with: a lightweight cashmere sweater, washed jeans, chelsea boots.
Shop: Silk Tweed Jacket
The Sexier Seersucker
Whipcord is the younger, cooler, more rebellious cousin of seersucker. It’s similar in texture, only the “wales” (or vertical “ribs”) are much narrower and tighter. It makes the fabric more consistent in color (a perfect neutral) and slightly less “waspy”.
Recommended with: a madras shirt, colored chinos (dark and saturated colors over bright pastels), Weejun loafers.
For the ballsier crowd looking for more of a show-stopper piece, there’s the European inspired double-breasted windowpane jacket with mother of pearl buttons. This is not a man’s first sport coat, and he’s likely wearing it to let you know that.
Recommended with: a strong tie-less collar, white jeans, chestnut suede loafers.
Shop: Windowpane Jacket
For the nightlife crowd, a charcoal grey linen is perfect for partying long into the wee hours of the morning. This one has a minimalist design to mimic the simplicity and sexiness of a dinner jacket – one button front, single button cuff, and double besom pockets.
Recommended with: a black t-shirt, black jeans, sleek black loafers and a stiff drink.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.