Do the differences between sports jackets, blazers and suit jackets seem confusing? We don’t blame you. Most menswear and fashion houses today use these terms interchangeably. If you’ve got designs on being a true gentleman of style, take the time to learn how each is distinct so that you can wear the right outfit for every occasion. Sports jackets have a long and interesting history. Wearing a blazer to Wimbledon doesn’t make it a sports jacket – we’re here to give you some insight into this noble staple of men’s suiting.
A Little History
Back in the day, what we now know as sports jackets were actually called morning jackets. Men would typically wear them with trousers of a different color and they were used for sporting activities such as shooting, hunting and polo. In 1920’s England, when sports jackets started to become a norm for more affluent men, it was considered poor taste to wear them to formal events.
Sports jackets were a novelty because only men who could afford to pursue activities such as hunting and shooting would wear them. As they grew in popularity, they became less exclusive and became casual wear, much like blazers.
Characteristics of a Sport Jacket
Firstly, you can recognize a sports jacket by a thicker fabric choice and looser fit. More often than not, they have patch pockets and are single-breasted. Here’s a quick guide to the most common fabric choices for sports jackets along with a color that looks fantastic.
Tweed – Perfect for sports jackets because of its thick and rough weave. They’re hard wearing as well: a great choice for your outdoorsy types.
Flannel – With a softer surface than tweed, flannel is a superb way to bring out the accents of your accessories and trousers.
Houndstooth – The classic sports jacket fabric. With busy patterns, these are your classic hunting sports jackets.
Herringbone – Timeless pattern for sports jackets. Look for colors in grey, light grey, brown and khaki.
Keep in mind that the original sports jackets were designed with sporting men in mind. Early designs usually had a fastening buckle around the waist so that athletes, especially shooters and archers, could raise their comfort level. In early incarnations of sports jackets, they were made from thicker fabrics and we’re defined by having looser cuts. Patch pockets were popular back then but they’re still ‘in’ today. So what’s different about sports jackets now? Firstly, they’re fitted tighter. The material also isn’t as thick, which makes them more versatile and comfortable.
It goes without saying that people are bolder with their pattern choices. Large pattern fabrics are the way to go and express your fun side. Choose the occasions you wear your colorful sports jackets to wisely.
How do you know if you’ve got a good fit? Sports jackets should allow you to layer a sweater underneath – the looser fit allows you to pursue in more outdoor activities like climbing and trekking.
What to Wear With a Sports Jacket?
Trouser choices are quite versatile. Dark blue jeans work almost all the time. If you want a dressier choice, pair your sports jacket with a trouser pattern that is distinct from the jacket fabric. Ensure that the trouser doesn’t draw attention away from the jacket fabric though – it’s best to stick to bold colors and minimal patterns.
Keep your footwear casual when you wear your sports jacket with jeans. Dress boots, slip-on loafers and monk-straps all work. Black bluchers and tassel loafers are the perfect, dressier choices.
Sports jackets offer unique advantages as long as you wear them for the right occasion. Heading to a tennis match? Rock that herringbone baby. Raja’s Fashions has a fantastic selection of fabrics so that you can get your own bespoke sports jacket. Drop in for a chat and we’ll get you fitted in one that has you looking like a boss, pronto.