“An alligator is not a crocodile and a suit coat is not a sport
jacket.” – Steven Giles
Sport coats and suit coats are not the same.
Sport jackets are exactly what they sound like–jackets for sport.
A less-formal coat, usually styled of
bolder details, patterns and colors, made with a sturdier fabric and looser
fit, it was originally designed as a garment for gentlemen who hunted in the
The Sport Jacket today while only loosely retaining its heritage,
nevertheless is a less formal statement and does not stand in place of a
suit. However, today’s jacket may have
elevated its importance as both a refining and distinguishing fashion in an
otherwise dressed down culture.
Sport coats are meant to be worn with unmatched trousers or, with many
soft constructions, jeans. Contrast that
with a suit coat, which is a paired jacket with matching pants of the same
materials and cut to be more form-fitting.
“A suit coat should not double as a sport jacket. It’s a stylistic
mistake,” Giles says. “Plenty of pieces can be used in an array of outfits, but
this isn’t one.”
Look for a jacket with heavier wool yarns and room enough to
accommodate a sweater underneath in winter, but not so much as to hang off the
body. For summer, much lighter weights,
choosing linens, silks, cottons or any of these summer fabrics blended with
tropical wools. As with almost all other garments, Giles says, a good fit,
followed by skilled tailoring, makes all the difference.