BE Guide: How to choose a fall sportcoat
Something I’ve always liked about fall sportcoats is that you can’t help but be reminded how practical they are, that a sportcoat is just that, a coat. And yet many men don’t know how to shop for one. In this article, we’re going to provide our guidance on how to choose a fall sportcoat that is both versatile and modern.
As is often the case in late September and October, at least in the Denver area, the weather will be chilly on your morning commute, but as the day warms, can feel a bit like summer. Therefore, wearing a lightweight jacket like a sportcoat is perfect; you can even pop the collar when the wind picks up.
Is this the year that you decide it’s finally time to update your fall style with a new jacket?
Here’s what you need to know to make a smart buying decision.
Step 1: Cloth
First things first, do you want a casual sportcoat or one that’s a little more refined?
On one end of the spectrum is a casual and thick textured fabric and on the other, a very fine and clean looking cloth. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot of versatility.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
In the image below, we have some very textural fabrics. Without even holding a swatch of the fabric, you have an idea for what it’s going to feel like, don’t you? These are somewhat casual. They will also complement other textural fabrics nicely. For instance, a sportcoat made out of one of these fabrics will hold up nicely against a flannel dress shirt.
Also, a very cozy scarf would be a perfect match, adhering to the rule that fabrics should get thicker the farther they are from your body.
And on the other hand, we have a more refined cloth, like in the photo below. It isn’t as textural like the options above. Instead, it’s very dressed up with smooth, clean lines. And the blue plaid pattern is subtle yet much defined because of the fidelity of the fabric.
What’s the difference in how you might wear these two jackets? With this brown jacket, you need to be careful that if you want to pair it with denim, that you wear your best jeans, free of holes or fades, and no fuzz. And if you opt for a nice pair of slacks, you’d be dressy enough for just about anything.
With the more casual sportcoat, you have a little more margin on the pants. You can wear something a little more rustic and rough around the edges, if you choose. Of course, this isn’t to say that you couldn’t dress it up with a crisp white shirt and pocket square.
Step 2: Construction
You may recall that with summer sportcoats, I advocated for an unstructured coat (i.e. without a lining and minimal canvas) to help keep you cool.
So then, how to choose a fall sportcoat from the perspective of construction? I think you have more wiggle room for this type of seasonal jacket. If you want to keep the jacket lighter and more breathable, then by all means, go unstructured, and when it gets a little too chilly, you can layer up with a sweater.
On the other hand, if you want the best looking drape possible in your coat, then you’ll want to build your fall sportcoat with a full canvas construction.
[Need a refresher on our suit construction – read this]
Step 3: Button closure
Your options are one, two and three buttons on the jacket front. But for a modern look, you’ll want to go with either one or two.
I recommend two, and here’s why: A fall sportcoat is inherently a bit functional. A one button coat is very trendy and errs on the side of a cocktail jacket. This can be a great look with the right fabric, but for an all-around versatile jacket, a two button will carry you through your daily meetings and all the way to date night with ease.
Step 4: Details
There are some notable details that really shine in a fall sportcoat.
First, the fabric beneath the lapel. You probably never even gave it much thought, did you? Here’s why I think it’s a fun thing to customize – because sportcoats are still coats, they keep you warm. And the transitional season of fall here in Colorado can bring with it relatively warm mornings and chilly evenings.
So, when the wind kicks up and gives you a chill, pop the lapel and throw on a scarf and gloves. With the lapel up you have a chance to show the world that you thought of everything by choosing a color that refers back to the rest of the jacket, perhaps an accent button stitching.
Secondly, you can add a theater ticket pocket. It’s the third pocket that you sometimes see on a suit jacket just above the typical side pockets. Historically, gentlemen would keep their, you guessed it, theater tickets inside that pocket. And since fall is the time of year when we start spending more time indoors and looking for things to do away from the cooling weather, I think a ticket pocket is a nice touch.
How to choose a fall sportcoat: wrap up
So, there you have it. Our tips on how to choose a fall sportcoat that is both modern and versatile.
Please note that the key point we want to get across is that sportcoats are downright useful this time of year. They can keep you warm and seamlessly take you from your walk to the office right into your first meeting of the day. Plus, a fine woolen jacket is just going to feel great.
And as always, let us know if you have any questions, we’re always here to help!