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 = less clothing, there’s still plenty of affordable blazers & sportcoats suitable for spring and summer to be found. 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 Summerweight Ludlow in Portuguese Cotton/Linen – $168
BEST IN SHOW AFFORDABLE: Sure, $168 isn’t Target or GAP cheap, but these things deliver a LOT of bang for those bucks. And if they ever go on sale? They’ll be a steal. Now available in a whopping six different color/pattern options. Almost completely unlined. Terrific linen/cotton fabric that doesn’t seem to wrinkle too easily, but is anything but stiff and stuffy. Super easy to tailor sleeve buttons. Really nice, lower button stance that shows more shirt than most sportcoats (and helps you look a little more aired out than jackets with high button stances. Shown above is an unaltered 40R in the “Deep Water” option. Here’s how to wear it.
UNIQLO Linen/Cotton Jacket – $79.90
An annual staple that does have a couple of drawbacks. Be prepared for oddly long sleeves, a chopped tail, and a higher than normal button stance. But the price and the fabric are fantastic. Unlined back. Patch pockets. Multiple colors to pick from (including that awesome shade of blue shown above). Looks like UNIQLO has also done away with those pesky functioning sleeve buttons this time around. That’ll make for easier tailoring.
Lands’ End Tailored Fit, Partially Lined Regatta Blazer – $135 ($198)
Super soft construction that’s also surprisingly flexible and springy. Body is a 55% wool / 45% poly blend, but with that polyester comes plenty of stretch. Plus, the knit of the fabric is on the looser side. Almost pique like. So it seems to breathe quiet well. Field-tested it in mid 80s and it did just fine. Might not be good for super sweltering days though. Butterfly lined back in chambray. Sleeves feel like they run a little long, and the sleeve buttons ARE functional. Size shown is a 40R. Many guys will be happy with the button stance and more traditional tail length.
Banana Republic Partially-Lined Mini-Houndstooth Linen – $230
Don’t believe the description which says “fully lined.” It’s clearly not. A butterfly lining in the back allows for much greater ventilation compared the the usual full linings that BR sticks in their other blazers. Be warned that this is their slimmest, “Modern Slim” fit. So thicker fellas might have trouble getting in this thing.
J. Crew Ludlow or Crosby Unconstructed in Italian Cotton – $228
Still available. Still terrific. And now available in the more generous fitting Crosby silhouette. 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.
J. Crew Factory Linen Ultra Light – $126.00
This thing, like its blue brother from last year, are closer to a shirt than a sportcoat. Made from super lightweight linen, expect bunching and wrinkling. But the trade off is that it’s incredibly breathable. Goes on sale often.
GAP Cotton Slub Blazer – $53.97 w/ TREAT ($89.95)
It’s okay. Not amazing. It’s a lot like the UNIQLO options, with its chopped tail, slightly elevated button stance, and long arms. Still, could be a decent, rumpled, uber-casual pick it off the back of the chair and go cotton blazer. Size shown is a Medium on 5’10 / 185. Code TREAT is good for 40% off through today, 4/25.
Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Striped Linen Sportcoat – $448
Pricey for sure, but Brooks Brothers has been pretty kind as of late with providing tiered codes to their email blast list (might be worth signing up). Was able to score this one for just under $300. Terrific Italian Linen and extremely soft construction. Stripes look wider in person/up close. Easy to tailor non-functioning sleeve buttons with zero accent stitching around them. It does wrinkle easily, but it’s all linen. That’s to be expected. Also shown at the top of the post. Size shown here is an unaltered 40R.
Spier & Mackay Wool/Linen 1/4 Lined Sportcoat – $195ish ($249 CAD)
Was skeptical of Spier & Mackay for a good long while. But then I dove in and bought a suit. And… I kinda sorta love it. Their Model 2 silhouette is great for guys with some weight on em’ without being monsters. And the sleeve buttons are non-functioning, so tailoring is easy. Great lapel width and button stance. This sportcoat is 73% wool and 27% linen, with a subtle herringbone pattern. Half Canvas too. Just be aware that if you’re in the US, return shipping still appears to be your responsibility. More on Spier and Mackay here. Want something in a cooler tone? They also carry a linen/silk sportcoat in pale blue.
Suitsupply Havana Blue Unconstructed Sportcoat – $399.00
Extremely similar to the Bonobos Unconstructed wool jackets (we’ll get to those in a second). There is zero lining on the backs of these things. Zilch. None. And the looser silk/mohair weave is extremely breathable. Since it’s Suitsupply, the sleeve buttons are functional, so expect tricky alterations there. But it does ship and return for free. Size shown above is a 40R.
Club Monaco Lightweight Cotton Shell Blazer – $139.30 w/ TAKE30 ($298)
Just partially lined with an all cotton shell. Still rumpled and casual, but a little more purposeful looking than the GAP option. Do know that the sleeve buttons are functional. Code TAKE30 is good for an extra 30% off sale items and expires today, 4/25/16. The “Dark Cherry” Red option can be found here.
J. Crew Factory Slub Linen Thompson Suit Jacket – $185
Works great as a stand alone blazer. The only problem is that since it’s a Thompson Suit Jacket, it’s almost always excluded from codes and promos. Strongly consider the main line’s cotton/linen summer-weight sportcoat in black/white stripe. It’s not as rich of a grey, but it seems to cost less than the JCF suit jacket, and it’s also almost totally unlined. The Factory suit jacket is lined.
Suitsupply Hudson Fit Windowpane or Havana Fit Green Check – $399
Loud. LOUUUUUD JACKETS! But, it’s Suitsupply. It’s one of the things that makes them… them. The Hudson fit is trimmer than the Havana and comes with pleated shoulders. Meanwhile, the Havana is a pretty generous (for Suitsupply standards) that works really well in the warmer months. Lower patch pockets on both, with a patch pocket at the chest on the Hudson, and a welt on the Havana. All linen for that navy windowpane, while the Havana is a silk/linen/wool combination. Since it’s Suitsupply, they ship and return for free.
Bonobos Unconstructed Wool Blazer – $398
BEST IN SHOW PRICEY: 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. Five colors to pick from. A luxury. Size shown is a 40R standard fit pre-tailoring. If you’re new to Bonobos, try the code WELCOME for 20% off your first purchase. Hat tip to reader Menachem for the heads up.
NOTE: Many other brands/stores were scouted for this post, but too many continue to make fully lined (with cheap polyester no less), heavily constructed sportcoats for this time of year. And a heavy, fully lined sportcoat/blazer is not what you want. So while yes, there are many of the usual suspects in this feature, these brands just seem to continue to get it right. Got a tip on a warm weather sportcoat or blazer that didn’t make it? Send that in to email@example.com.