It’s just not fair. A guy in a well tailored sportcoat or blazer has an unfair advantage vs. the rest of the room. A jacket cleans up your lines. It makes you look stronger and smarter. And with the market explosion of casual sport-coats, you can access all of these blazer-advantages even while wearing jeans. There’s no doubt that fall is the prime season for blazers and sportcoats. With affordability in mind, here’s this year’s best bets.
Recently hit Uniqlo’s site and has the potential to be the best bang-for-the-buck option of fall 2013. You used to be able to score a great chino blazer at Old Navy for like $40. Those days are gone. The vast majority of the time, if a blazer is under $100, it’s going to be all poly or overly-trendy. Except for at Uniqlo. Fits can be a little goofy on some frames (arms tend to run long and jacket tails tend to be short), but it seems like they’re working their way out of that. Lots of patterns and colors to choose from, including that outstanding looking deep-red “wine” on the right. Tweed is 70% wool. Cord is all cotton. Both are lined in poly. Got one on the way for an in-person.
You’ll have to play the waiting game with BR Blazers, since 99% of the time they’re excluded from codes. Cotton fabric is excellent. The muted plaid is perfect for fall. And for being fused, it moves well. But, and here’s a big but, the sleeve buttons are functional. Sleeves seem to run a little long too. Really, really wish retailers would get the hint and stop doing that. It’s such a pain to tailor that functioning sleeve buttons are a deal-breaker for most of us. Size shown here is a 38R.
Just went on sale for… 28% off. No code necessary. This is their newer, slimmer “modern slim fit”, which is a bit tighter than the “tailored fit” most of us are used to. All cotton, but it has a bit of a brushed-flannel look to it. Sure seems like the model could use a smaller size. UPDATE: Try BRSHOP35 for an extra 35% off on this one. Maybe the code works on sale… blazers? Seems to be working for some but not others…
GAP Corduroy Blazer – $57.85 w/ GAPFALL (89.00)
One of the better blazers GAP has produced in a while. A good weight corduroy, fully lined in cotton, and nicely tailored off the rack. … sonofa… functioning sleeve buttons again. The hell gap? At least since it’s more casual, you can get away with fudging on the sleeves. A great deal if you catch a sale. Super comfortable. Also available in a lighter brown/khaki called “pecan”. Size shown is a Medium. Currently 35% off with GAPFALL, which is a sizable code for gap. Works on full priced styles.
Not. Cheap. BUT… if you’re looking to translate a little of the bright-color summer style into fall and winter, a colorful but muted option like either of these might be a solid play. Also available in the more expected navy and khaki shades. Ships free and returns are super easy. Ninja service. Made from the same excellent fabric that their washed chinos are cut from.
New season, same great Claiborne off-the-rack-fit. One complaint about this one: The lining feels a little scratchy. Not awful, but could be a little slicker. Look for these over by the peacoats… with the faux-fur collars.
This IS the construction many of us are a looking for. A half-lined blazer (or, “buggy-back”) as H&C calls it is preferred by many. Let’s the back breathe, and if you’ve got some muscle on you, full lining really doesn’t do much for your frame. Button stance looks to be dead center (some prefer it a little lower). Pattern on this one in particular is right on, but know that the patterned options are a 60% wool and 40% poly blend. Lots of potential here. Haven’t seen one in person yet. And be careful when it comes to their sizing: some of us are tweeners who have struck out with H&C. Ships free since these are over $150, and they should return free as well.
JC Penney Stafford Blazers – $100 – $150 when 50% off
Slated to start arriving in October, the $300 full retail price is steep. But, it’s JC Penney, who went back to coupons and massive markdowns after the departure of Ronny J. Expect them to settle in around $150? It’s all about shoulders and armholes here. Last fall Stafford’s blazers had thick shoulder pads and low armholes. And as good as these look on the screen, if you can’t move your arms and you feel like you’re ready to get in the game at strong side linebacker, then forget it.
UPDATE: Here’s the camel hair on the left, and the tweed on the right. Both currently 50% off, and You can use the code 2DAYONLY for an extra 20% off. But a warning: They’re labeled as “classic fit”. Hopes are sinking on these. Checked in store a few days ago and didn’t see em’ there. Hat tip to Chris D. in the comments.
You guys know how the Factory pricing game works. Everything is almost always on sale. And then an extra 30% – 50% off code will come along, or, prices get marked down further sitewide and then you can code stack. Awaiting the arrival of one of these for an in person. Any reaction from you guys who got your hands on one already? They can be hit-or-miss some years. But when they’re a hit, they’re solid for the price. Many thanks for the tips about J. Crew Factory launching an extra 30% off code, THIRTY, as of this morning. It’s good through next Tuesday 9/24.
Made in the USA. And these two couldn’t feel more different. The one on the left is a like a wool version of the ol’ INC ultra lights. No lining. No shoulder padding. Will be loved by some, and hated by others. They call it their “Soft construction”, and it’s very similar to the Havana Jacket from Suitsupply… which costs $399. More over here. Also available in a solid slate grey for $200. That one is made from a ridiculously smooth wool/cashmere/silk blend. But two bills sure feels like a lot for what amounts to a shirt cut into a blazer. Meanwhile, the cheaper option is fully lined with bemberg. Again, both are Made in the USA and might be worth a shot. Sold through Amazon.
Yeah. American Eagle. Good thing the only noticeable branding on this thing appears to be on the edge of the buttons. It looks like the Target Merona Kensington is being discontinued. Is this really going to be the only other option? Meanwhile, sad to see that the AE “wool” blazer is almost all poly this year. Last year’s version wasn’t half bad.
Bar III Brown Tweed Suit – $440 w/ VIP (but wait for a bigger sale)
Something to keep an eye on. Hang out for a bigger sale. These should drop below $300 at some point since it’s Macy’s. A new arrival, and yeah, it’s a suit, but unlike a smooth pinstripe, a textured brown suit jacket like the one in these suit separates can be broken up and worn with other pieces. Description says it’s wool… all wool? A blend? Haven’t caught it in store yet. (Update: But it was just noticed over here. Hat tip to GQ, they mentioned it first.)
The really, really expensive option when compared to the GAP navy blue cord blazer. But man does this thing get it all right. Barely lined. Natural horn buttons. Incredible attention to detail and made in Italy. Plenty more views over at Mr. Porter.
J. Crew Ludlow English Wool – $246.00 w/ SHOPFALL
A potential signature piece for some, but it’s going to need a little work. The thickness of the English Wool from Moon Mills is off the charts. It’s so thick, that off the rack it doesn’t move the best. Here’s to hoping it would loosen up a touch over time. Size shown here is a 38R, and it fits decently in the body (I usually get the waist + chest brought in a touch on Ludlows… same deal would have to be done here), but the sleeves need some real work. Thankfully, J. Crew’s sleeve buttons are non-functional, and free of any faux-stitching around them. Super easy to tailor. Again, can’t get over how thick the wool is. Going to be too thick for some.
Ludlow in Herringbone Italian Linen – $187.49 w/ SHOPFALL ($348)
So the thick English wool version is tempting, but you’re worried that you’d rather have something more flexible and on the breezy side, and less… sheep kevlar. Grab one of the J. Crew Italian Linen blazers while you can. You can wear linen year round. Especially if it’s fully lined in Bemberg like these are. Great weight to these suckers.
And as always: Check your local thrift stores
Some areas are complete duds when it comes to finding, uh, “duds” that are wearable with some alterations… yet other locations are complete gold mines. Skip the poly jackets and dated colors and details (i.e. mega low-slung button stances, monster lapels, etc…) Just look for basic, all wool or cotton jackets. Make sure they don’t smell. Try them on. Look for damage. You never know what you might find. For more guidance, it’s hard to get more extensive and complete than Put This On’s guide to thrifting.
What else? Have any other blazers/sportcoats on your radar for the fall? Leave it all below.