As I write this, it certainly doesn’t feel much like fall. In fact, it’s 81 deg and the sun is shining. Summer isn’t over yet, thankfully. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking about your fall clothing needs. Specifically, how to choose a fall sportcoat.
And I admit, it feels a little premature writing about fall sportcoats with summer still in full swing, but I want to make sure you’re ready. By the end of September, you’ll be wishing you had your fall sportcoat hanging in your closet. With our 6 week lead time, now is the time to start planning.
If you’re thinking about treating yourself to a jacket, here’s what you need to know about how to choose a fall sportcoat.
Step 1: Casual or sophisticated?
This first step is the same no matter what item of clothing you’re in the market for. On one end of the spectrum is a casual and thick textured fabric and on the other end, 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 Brett’s very sophisticated jacket from our Signature Line. It isn’t 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.
So, what’s the difference in how you might wear these two jackets? With Brett’s jacket, he needs to be careful that if he pairs it with denim, that they are his best jeans, free of holes or fades, and no fuzz. But if he goes with a nice pair of slacks – even if he were to borrow them from his favorite suit – he’d be dressed nice 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 canvas) to help keep you cool.
With fall sportcoats, I think you have more wiggle room. If you want to keep the jacket lighter and more breathable, you can again have one made without a canvas construction. 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: Buttons
Your options are one, two and three buttons. 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. What’s that, you ask? 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.
So, there you have it. The basics of how to choose a fall sportcoat. I hope this makes the process of building a bespoke jacket a little more approachable.
And as always, let us know if you have any questions, we’re always here to help!
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By Ryan Wagner