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. (Note: For a fit perspective, here are the measurements.)
Nowhere near as electric blue as it appears on J. Crew’s site… but still fantastic. Lighter-weight flannel, slightly marled, and certainly not a dark & deep navy. Kinda a fall/winter version of their Italian Cotton option from the spring. Size shown above is a 40R, and will need the sleeves to be shortened. But no issue there since the sleeve buttons are non functioning, and there’s no accent stitching around them either. Half lined. Hang out for a 25% off select items sale (and this ends up as one of those select items) and it’ll drop into the mid $200s.
GAP Wool Blend Herringbone Blazer – $73 w/ MONDAY ($118)
One of the better blazers GAP has made in a while. The tail isn’t chopped, the sleeves don’t seem to be crazy long, and the 90% wool fabric is decent. Body is lined in a lighter weight chambray. A real nice casual blazer for fall. Always on sale, and the $45 off $100+ code MONDAY drops this one to $73 through today, 10/6/14.
Maybe the sharpest looker on this list. If the navy shawl collar tux is the at present “it” getup for an event requiring evening-wear, then a navy cord blazer might be the “it” getup for those nights out when you’re dressed in the so-called smart-casual way. It’s pretty darn dashing, without going into velvet territory. And this option from Banana Republic is a very safe play. Their Tailored-Fit jackets are slim without being tight, and while fused, can be had for the mid to low $100s depending on sales and codes (you just have to wait for a code where blazers aren’t excluded). Sleeve buttons are functional on this one, but they don’t seem oddly long or short. Plus, they offer short and long options in the jacket. The wale (width of each line of cord) is nice and small. Not 70’s Anchorman fat & plushy. Upper body is lined in acetate/viscose, lower body is lined in poly/viscose. Drapes nicely. Size shown: 40R.
L.E. Tailored Fit Patterned Wool Blazer – $148.50 w/ FALLGIFT + 1387
Terrific fit (size 38R shown here), drapes well… but a full poly lining. Also availble in a herringbone option. Might want to wait for these to go on sale and then use an additional code on top? Color in person does seem to lean more green than it does on the Lands’ End website. Code should get you 25% off through 10/8.
CHEAP! And if they fit anything like last year’s option, they’re an incredible buy at $70. Looks to be partially unlined on the back as well? Sadly, no “wine”/burgundy option this year. As always, UNIQLO blazers are pretty short in the tail.
Maybe one of the best off-the-rack fitting blazers of the year. Despite being sized in the S/M/L/XL sense, this blazer has real sculpting at the sides (sometimes J. Crew blazers with this sizing system can be real boxy). Almost completely unstructured. Comes in a hugely versatile shade of grey. Side vents. Non-functioning buttons. Sometimes gets a 25% off during those every-so-often J. Crew select item sales. Size shown is a medium.
40% wool, 30% nylon, 30% rayon, a 100% poly full lining… but still pretty darn great. It’s got very little structure to it. The fabric moves incredibly well and doesn’t feel stiff. It’s basically a winterized version of a cheap, rumpled chino blazer (like Target’s Merona Kensington). Size shown above is a large, and it needs some serious work at the tailor. Standby for a potential before & after post featuring this thing if it works out. Medium on 5’10”, 185 just wasn’t gonna cut it anymore.
Lightweight but still wearable in the winter if you layer (or, just run hot). Unlined back. Much more of a slate-grey with blue tones than the “navy” it’s listed as. Micro-stripe keeps it from looking flat and boring. Non functioning buttons at the sleeve cuffs make for easy tailoring. A basic, for sure, but a basic that gets so many things right where others get it wrong. Looks fantastic with jeans. Price depends on what sale or promo they’re running. Size shown is a medium.
Speaking of cotton, unstructured blazers… still a great option. Can’t understand why they aren’t making one in navy at present, but, they aren’t. These do have a bit of a micro-stripe to the cloth, so zoom in if you want an idea. The kind of blazer that won’t look out of place with sneakers or clunky classic work boots. Beat the crap out of these things.
Extremely nice for the price. A true slim fit (size 40 shown above), and the velvet isn’t high-sheen. It’s not matte (it is, after all, velvet) but it’s not going to blind anyone either. Unfortunately fully lined in poly. Side vents. Nice button stance. Sleeve buttons are non functioning, but they do have accent stitching around em’. Takes a little chutzpah to wear velvet, but in the right situation (say, a holiday party) it can look all kinds of right. “Retail” price is $140, but with the ever present JC Penney sales + codes, it’s now down to sixty bucks.
First featured in last Thursday’s handful. Yeah, it’s all synthetic (poly/rayon body) but man is it soft, flexible, and… avoids the flaccid look many a knit sportcoat suffers from. Doesn’t look like a sweatshirt cut in a blazer pattern, but still more relaxed than most. The kind of blazer one would wear to a workplace where nobody wears blazers, but you want to wear a blazer anyway. Armholes are a little low, but not terrible. Size shown here is a 40R. *Note: Here’s how to get that price: Grab a pair of socks for the gym to tip the $150 threshold, apply the $50 off $150 code 1833, and this’ll drop to $103.50 before shipping & taxes.
Perhaps a more affordable option than the J. Crew cord club blazer? Looks a little short in the tail. There is a matching pair of pants though. Might look pretty sharp worn as a suit with a bold gingham shirt. The GAP + GQ items are usually excluded from codes, but they eventually go on sale.
Usually closer to the $150s without a code, the MORE code drops these by an extra 35%, and they ship free since they’re over $100. One of the more consistent offerings in the affordable tweedy sportcoat world in the last 3 or 4 years. Some years the fabric can be crummy, but it seems like JCF is starting to work their way out of that. Thompson fit. Elbow patches on navy or charcoal, or a herringbone pattern without elbow patches on charcoal or brown.
The Spendy Suckers: Suitsuppy Hudson – $469 | Havana Blue Check – $399
Good grief, that’s a lot of cash. Expecially that Hudson. Wool, silk, and cashmere though, and the not-skinny lapels and patch pockets are all classic sportcoat. Meanwhile, the Havana blue check walks the line between blackwatch plaid and professorial tweed. Half lined. Know that the Havana fit runs on the shorter side for the tail, and comes with those edged/contrast buttons.
The Reminder: Check your local thrift stores
Want to source a fall or winter blazer on the cheap? Scout your local thrift stores. Some areas are better (like, much better) than others when it comes to thrifting, but finding a dozen or so tweed blazers ready for a cleaning & tailoring isn’t too uncommon. Blazer pictured above was found for five bucks by reader Nicholas C. (whattup man, how are the kids?), and was first mentioned in his 5 favorites over here…
Your turn guys. Got a blazer or sportcoat you’re looking to pick up (or, already have) this fall? Leave those suggestions below. NOTE: Just because a store or brand isn’t listed above, doesn’t mean it wasn’t given a look. The likes of Macy’s, H&M, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, etc… were all scouted out.