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 even though warmer temps usually mean less clothing, there’s still some affordable blazers & sportcoats suitable for spring and summer to be found. And worn. Look for lighter weight fabrics, breathable linings, or less lining (it’s the lining that often causes trouble). With affordability in mind, here’s this year’s best bets. (Note: For a fit perspective, here are the measurements.)
J. Crew Factory “Slub Linen” Suit Jacket – $138
One of the best of the bunch. It is all-lined, but at least it’s lined in acetate, so it should breathe a little better than an all-poly lining. But where this thing shines is in the fabric and drape. the 58% linen / 42% cotton material is oddly soft and moves way better than any fused jacket should. Non functioning sleeve buttons and no accent stitching either. So, easy to tailor. Their “slub” weave (where some spots are slightly raised compared to others) is minimal. So if you’re concerned about a weird physical and visual texture, don’t be. Problem is… it’s technically a “suit jacket.” Does fantastic on its own as a sportcoat, but suit jackets are often excluded from JCF codes and sales. Size shown is 40R. Great off the rack fit, could use some sleeve shortening.
JC Penney Stafford Signature Cotton Sportcoat – $59.99 w/ BUYITNOW
They might call it a “classic” fit, but the silhouette is anything but. You maybe have to size down (that’s a 38R on 5’10” / 185), but the sides are decently tapered off the rack, the shoulder pads aren’t too bulky, and the armholes are decently high. The tail will cover most if not all of your butt though, so maybe that’s where the “classic” part comes in. Sadly, it IS fully lined in polyester. Not ideal. But at least the polyester is lightweight and smooth. Not some papery/scratchy/itchy crap. Side vents in the rear. Color shown is blue “pincord”, but it’s really a smooth, multi-stripe cotton (not a micro/light version of corduroy). Always on sale. Code BUYITNOW is good for an extra 20% off through 4/8.
GAP Twill Blazer – $53.97 w/ NEW $89.95
Decent for the price, and better than Target’s new navy chino, but most are going to need some work done at the tailor. A thicker chino, but only half lined in the back with cotton chambray. Sleeves are lined in poly, but that’s not unexpected. Patch pockets, center vent. Pretty short in the tail. Getting close to chopped. Non-functioning buttons (YAY), but, there is some pretty heavy accent stitching around them. So, there’s a little wiggle room for altering the sleeve length, but not much. Always on sale. Size shown is a medium, and could use the sides brought in and the sleeves shortened. Code NEW takes 40% off through today 4/6.
EXPRESS Oxford Cloth Blazer – $88.80 ($148)
Part of the Stephen Curry collection. Yeah, it’s pretty darn pink. But some guys in some areas can totally pull off that look. Plus, it’s lined in cotton in the body, and acetate for the sleeves. Often on sale, and 40% off through today.
B.R. Italian 51% Cotton/ 49% Linen Fabric Blazer – $230
Great texture to the fabric, the not-too-wide or tall peak lapels are perfectly executed, and the ticket pocket is a great touch. BUT… the sleeve buttons are functional and it’s fully lined. Drat. The back & sleeves are lined in 100% poly, with the front being lined in an acetate/poly mix. Still has enough good looks for some to give it a shot. Gonna have to wait a bit for a sale, being that blazers are almost always excluded from BR codes. Size shown above is a 40R on 5’10” / 185.
J. Crew Factory Unconstructed Twill Sportcoat – $84.00
Yes. Still. You can find last season’s version on clearance (as pictured above), and you can take an extra 20% off the clearance option with HOPTOIT through today. But sizes are limited there. $84 gets you the highly similar, if not identical version for this season. Almost totally unlined. A basic, twill sportcoat, with a micro stripe to it. Full review here.
B.R. Modern Slim Partially Lined Linen Double-Breasted Blazer – $230
WHOA. First of all… a huge risk for most. Second of all, button the darn thing when you stand up. A DB blazer doesn’t look real good with the flaps blowing in the breeze like an earth-bound flying-squirrel. Made in their Modern Slim fit, these things are slim enough that most are going to want to size up, and some won’t even be able to get in em’. Partially lined too. That’s rare for B.R. Skeptical about a double breasted blazer? It can be done. Especially if it’s a four (not six) button front and is cut in a more casual fabric.
UNIQLO “Light Cotton” Jacket – $69.90
Word is these stick to the UNIQLO blazer template of previous seasons: Short if not chopped tail, longer than average sleeves, and a higher than most would prefer button stance. But they’re oh-so cheap, can be tailored easily, and are mostly unlined. Big fan of that plaid too. Summery blackwatch?
J. Crew Ludlow Unconstructed in Italian Cotton – $228
Still available. Still terrific. Almost totally unlined and made from Italian cotton that’s lightweight yet smooth. Think: Somewhere between wool suiting fabric and chunky cotton chino. Slim lapels. Side vents. Slightly lowered button stance. Not-navy shade of blue. This is last year’s version, but it sure appears that they’ve got an identical version this year. A small warning: A few have been reporting some wonky fits? Didn’t experience that myself. It fit like a ludlow. Size shown is a 40R. Was just on sale for 30% off, and does seem to go on sale for 25% off once every few weeks. Also available in a khaki shade called “vintage linen.”
Bonobos Shawl Collar Unconstructed Linen Blazer – $398
Pricey as all get-out, but that shawl collar. Still only availble in their “slim” fit, which is a true slim, and they’re also shorter in the tail than their standard fits (which don’t fit like a box to begin with). Hasn’t gone on sale. Yet.
Suitsupply Havana in Linen or Wool/Silk/Linen – $399
Expensive for sure, but they’re up there in terms of quality. Extremely nice fabrics. Tails are certainly on the shorter side, and the buttons are functional, but the free shipping & returns are quick and easy in case it doesn’t work out. Moves & drapes exceptionally well. Very soft shoulders.
Best in Show (cheap): J.C.F. Cotton/Linen Horiz. Stripe – $89.00
Sick of seeing all the J. Crew and J. Crew Factory jackets yet? Sorry, but until other brands get the hint that full linings and functioning sleeve buttons are major drawbacks (if not dealbreakers) on sportcoats and blazers, especially warm weather sportcoats and blazers, then J.Crew and Factory will continue to rise to the top. Really nice, 55% linen / 45% cotton fabric on this one, with the back being totally unlined. Acetate lined sleeves. Horizontal stripes are different, but small enough that they’re not weird. Size shown is a medium with sleeves shortened and no work at the waist. Currently half off the “valued at” price through today, 4/6.
Best in Show (pricey): Bonobos Unconstructed Wool Blazer – $368
The slightly textured Italian wool from Barberis is fantastic. It’s almost completely unlined, with the back being almost completely unlined inside. The sleeve buttons are non-functional and lack any accent stitching. Super lightweight, but still carries the wrinkle-resistance and breathability of wool. A luxury. Size shown is a 40R standard fit that had the sleeves brought up and the sides taken in slightly at the waist. This shade (they’ve also got a darker blue and a very pale grey) is available in either their standard or slim fit. Also shown at the top of the post.
The Gone but Not Forgotten: J. Abboud Soft Construction Sportcoats $160 – $200
85% wool. 10% cashmere. 5% silk. Super soft, extremely breezy. And made in the USA. All but gone. Will pop up in limited sizes on Amazon from time to time (might be returns or deadstock?).
NOTE: Many other sportcoats & blazers were scouted for this bi-annual report, but the continued use of full, scratchy poly linings and/or synthetic shells kept a lot of otherwise decent looking blazers out. Better to wear a polo and chinos than be boiling in a blazer cut from something that feels (and locks in heat) like a garbage bag.