Many men these days don’t know the difference between suits, sport coats, and blazers. Maybe that’s partly because so many insist on always dressing down now. These are three distinct garments, each with their own place in your wardrobe.
Sport coats are the most casual, and the only one that should ever be worn with jeans or t-shirts. They also should only be worn with a tie if they’re also paired with a v-neck sweater or sweater vest.
Sport coats are usually less structured and made of rougher fabrics than their more formal cousins, and can be worn in a wider variety of colours and patterns. One style that’s unique to sport coats is the elbow patch that are seen on so many stereotypical depictions of university professors.
Blazers straddle the line between casual and informal. Worn with a tie and pocket square, they make for serviceable informal attire and otherwise they make a smart base for a casual outfit. Blazers should always be worn with dress shirts and mismatched trousers.
Blazers are very similar to suit jackets but are less structured and have decorative buttons. On suits and sport coats, the buttons are designed to blend in but on blazers they’re meant to stand out, often being made of precious metals or mother of pearl. Metal blazer buttons are a great place to wear a personally meaningful insignia, like a personal or family coat of arms or the insignia of your military branch.
The defining feature of a suit is that it’s worn with matching pants. Suits are simple, structured, and made with finer fabrics in fewer colours and patterns. The only pattern a suit should ever have is pinstripe and the classic colours are black, and dark blue and grey. Brown is also acceptable, and you should only wear a suit of any other colour if it has a rank on it.
There you have the basic differences between suit, blazers, and sport coats. In the future I’ll bring you more articles about the specifics.