This… was not easy. Searching out and finding a few affordable blazers or sportcoats appropriate for warmer weather is harder than ever. You used to be able walk into Macy’s and pick up a shirtweight blazer, or stroll into Old Navy and find a chino with a cotton half-lining. That’s just not the case anymore.
The majority of affordable blazers are not just fully lined, but fully lined in stuffy, suffocating-to-plenty polyester. Even if the shell is cut in a summer fabric, an all poly lining will probably cause you to overheat. What you want is either as little lining as possible, or, a lining that’ll breathe a bit (such as bemberg, cupro, rayon, or at least acetate). A good batch of retailers & brands were scouted, and the majority were disappointing , mainly due to bad linings… (JCP, Macy’s, Kohl’s… lookin’ at you guys). Yet here’s the best of the best. Feel free to leave your additions in the comments.
The best spring/summer blazer B.R. is making, and it’s not close. Compared to their other blazers, this thing is noticeably lighter. And unlike their other blazers, this one isn’t subjected to a polyester body-lining. It is fully lined, but at least it’s lined in acetate and rayon which’ll breathe better. Plus, the all linen shell really does feel much more breezy than their cotton or cotton/linen options. Like almost all BR blazers these days, it DOES have functional sleeve buttons. And that stinks, since tailoring those sleeves becomes pricey to the point of flat-out not worth it. Size shown above is a 40R. Now, to find a sale or code that actually WORKS on blazers. That might be a challenge.
A surprising winner, since most of H&M’s blazers are lined with polyester. Not this one. With an almost stretchy, all cotton pique-like shell & lightweight gingham cotton half-lining, this thing is going to be pretty darn perfect for cool spring nights. It’s H&M, so it’ll run trim as well as short in the tail. Size shown above is a 38 and it’s pretty tight on my frame. I’d need to size up to a 40.
Hey now. There might be a “there” there. Hang out for a sale & code combo and you should be able to land one of these for around $100 or maybe less. Express blazers are usually lined in poly, but this one specifically says in the description that it’s “partially lined.” Nice. Combine that with a cotton/linen shell, a nice brighter shade of blue, and casual patch pockets, and this is worth keeping an eye on. Didn’t see these in store during the search, but going to snag one for an in-person at some point.
Blazer is a bit more casual in person. 55% linen, 45% cotton, and a herringbone pattern that stands out a bit. Not in a bad way, but it has a bit of a summer-tweed thing going on (without the weight or scratch). Sleeve buttons are non functional, side vents in the rear, and it is fully lined, but at least it’s lined in acetate (which will breathe some, unlike polyester). Size shown above is a 38R and fits real well off the rack. Currently at the so-so price of $128. Would drop to $96 if you used one of those Gilt City 25% off vouchers.
J. Crew Ludlow Sportcoat in Micro-stripe Cotton – $141 w/ SPRINGISHERE ($188)
This is one of those blazers that J. Crew seems to carry year round, but it’s certainly applicable for spring & summer nights due to it’s unconstructed nature. No canvas, no shoulder pads, and it’s lined in cotton. Lightweight for sure, but comes in a dark-as-night navy. Try it with white jeans, blue shirt, and loafers as the sun sets. These don’t come in precise chest sizing, so tailoring might be needed for most. Size shown above is a medium, and some work would need to be done on the waist & sleeves. Code SPRINGISHERE knocks 25% off this and a few other select styles through today, 4/9/14. These can dip down closer to $100 (or under?) but you’ll have to wait and hope they end up in the sale section, and an extra 30% off code comes along.
From contributor Christian D.: Affordable, well built, and freaking perfect for this unnecessarily confusing time of the year: Too hot to wear a jacket or super thick sweater; yet too cold to wear that unlined blazer that’s been collecting dust for the past few months. It’s a lot thicker than you’d expect once you get your hands on it and definitely feels more like a blazer due to this. Though it certainly leans casual, you could still easily throw on an OCBD and a tie to dress it up. I’m 5’7″ and the extra small is a little long in the sleeves. It’s just right in the waist & shoulders. I’m finding myself wanting to rotate this in my wardrobe often and will more than likely get another color too.
GAP Seersucker Brunson Blazer – $68.60 w/ BRIGHT (98.00)
Currently not sold in stores and just restocked online… but you gotta figure these’ll show up in the brick & mortars in the coming months. Lots of potential and looks like it might be barely lined or lined in cotton? Ships free.
Obviously, wait for a sale. Also, despite the nice cut, super soft fabric, and decent feeling construction, the damn thing is fully lined in poly. A dealbreaker for most, if not all… but the shell really is pretty nice. Man. What might have been. Officially requesting this thing with a half cotton lining. A guy can hope.
From contributor Christian: “63% Linen and 37% Cotton, completely unstructured and unlined (except for the sleeves) for $70? Hell yeah. Definitely something to wear when it gets a bit warmer as the wind blows right through this thing like it’s not even there. It must be EXACTLY how Marilyn Monroe felt during…ya know. But, it does have the characteristics most of us are used to on UNIQLO blazers. Sleeves are a bit long but the buttons are non-fucntioning. So tailoring will be easy. Also, button stance might be a little high for those used to the Ludlow stance. Tail is sorta chopped, but if you’re of compact height like myself (5’7″) and not a towering monster, it doesn’t look odd at all and makes you look taller. Uniqlo has shorter guys in mind and I like that. Size shown here is a small.
WHY HAVE THESE NOT SHOWN UP IN STORES YET?!?. WHY IS THERE NO NAVY OPTION?! WHAT IS LIFE?? WHY IS MY CAPS LOCK KEY STUCK ON?!
A bit of a disappointment out of the box, but upon further review (and wear) it turned into a real winner. Coulda sworn this thing had the word “brushed” in it’s description at some point, but it’s really… not. It’s not a glass smooth chino (like the BR Sateen blazer) but this thing doesn’t have any nap to the fabric. Which is fine, but it seemed awfully plain when it first arrived. Thin, but strong Italian cotton. Lightweight. A perfect, slightly unusual not-quite-navy blue (it looks darker in some light than others, see the top of the post), with patch pockets, and non-functioning buttons at the sleeves.
$228 is a LOT to pay for an unconstructed cotton sportcoat, but this one “fixes” all the issues many of us have with the UNIQLO option. Button stance is lowered and the tail doesn’t look as chopped. It’s also available in exact chest sizes, instead of the ballpark S/M/L/XL. Interior pockets too. Wait for a 25% off $125+ sale (or similar) and it dips to $171. Still a lot of cash, but if you like the Ludlow, you’ll get what you want. Size shown: 40R. Needs the sleeves brought up and the waist brought in a bit.
Your turn guys. What’s your go-to blazer or sportcoat now that we’re headed deeper into spring and onward towards summer? Leave it all in the comments below. And again, beware all the poly-lined blazers out there this time of year, masquerading in seersucker, cotton, or cotton linen blends. They’re everywhere.