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. But just because a retailer makes it look like it’d be good in the heat, doesn’t mean it will be. Here’s what we’re looking for: We want lighter weight fabrics, breathable or minimal linings (this is key since it’s the lining that often causes trouble) and flexible/minimal construction. With affordability in mind, here’s this year’s best bets. (Note: All sportcoats and blazers featured below are a size 40R unless otherwise noted. For a fit perspective, here are the measurements.)
Suitsupply knows what they’re doing. Sure, they’ve got the basics down (such as 4 season wool suits) but their seasonal wear is dead on too. The Havana fit in linen or a linen blend is perfect for this time of year. Not ridiculously close to the body, but still tailored looking. There’s just enough room for ventilation and to breathe. The linen that they source for their jackets is high quality. And? The vast majority of them are barely lined. There are a boatload of colors and patterns to pick from (even green, as shown above) and everything ships and returns for free. The one drawback? They insist on having functioning sleeve cuff buttons. And that can be a pain if you need them shortened to show a little shirt cuff.
Technically a suit jacket, and? Not as lightweight as one would hope. It’s not super dense, weighty chino, but it’s not as airy as I was expecting being that Lands’ End goes out of their way to label it as lightweight. It’s somewhere in between. Just partially lined in chambray. Sleeve buttons are non-functioning this year, which is a nice switch from previous LE sportcoats.
This is NOT some paper thin wispy thing, yet, it should still breathe well in the heat. Darker and less saturated in person than what’s shown on the JCF site. 55% linen / 45% cotton. Good feel to it. Sturdy, but still has zero lining in the back and minimal structure. Non functioning sleeve cuffs make for easy tailoring too. Dual vents in the rear. Half off but that deal expires today (5/30.)
All but sold out at post time. Might be worth trying to find one in store? Super spendy, but Brooks Brothers has put these on sale, in the not too distant past, for a decent sized mark down. Fingers are crossed that that happens again. Italian wool body that’s lightweight and has a bit of stretch to it. Mother of pearl buttons. Just half lined. A dark navy blazer that you could actually wear in the heat. Regent fit is somewhere between a standard and slim fit. Pretty close to Spier & Mackay’s “Contemporary” fit, and maybe a little more generous than a J. Crew Crosby.
***BEST IN SHOW PRICEY*** An investment, but damn near perfect in all the right ways. Breathable, loosely woven Italian wool. Non functioning sleeve buttons make for easy tailoring. Available in multiple colors, and comes cut in either the Bonobos “standard” fit (shown above) or a true slim.
B.R. Slim Fit Performance Blazer – $136.80 w/ BRSUMMER ($228)
This is made from a lightweight, breathable, technical fabric. It does have a bit of a “swish” sound to it, but not as aggressive as the snow pants your Mom shoe-horned you into on snowy days in the 4th grade. Part of the interior is even lined in a mesh fabric, so they’re really going for superior comfort here. Functioning sleeve buttons might make for some tailoring issues. Offered only in their true “slim” fit, so thus, the pulling at the button above (for BR, I wear their standard fit sportcoats).
Got a tip on this one from reader Zach R. and he’s a fan: “It has a great balance of heft and breathability, and the color is the perfect shade of navy for warmer weather. It also doesn’t seem to get excluded from codes and/or those every so-often Gilt City Vouchers.” Just partially lined, and since it’s JCF, expect non-functioning sleeve buttons which make for easy trips to the tailor.
Just featured in last week’s Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale, but absolutely worth another mention here. The L.B.M. 1911 brand is praised by plenty. Made in Italy and quality is certainly there. That pale grey is perfect for the heat that’s ahead. Remember that LBM lists their tailored stuff in EU sizes (so basically a 50R EU = a 40R in the US).
A brand new addition to the J. Crew Factory lineup, and not really specific to the warm weather. It’s not a heavy tweed, so you could wear it out in the heat… but I don’t know if you’d want to STAY out in the heat in it. Fully lined, but at least it’s in semi-breathable acetate, and not cheap, scratchy polyester. Non functioning sleeve buttons. Color a mid navy. Not quite true-blue, but not midnight by any stretch. Looks like they’re currently sold out of these things?
***Best in Show Linen*** Barely constructed. Nice, easy, breezy linen that’s not paper thin (so it should resist wrinkling at least a little bit). Just butterfly lined in the back. Non functioning sleeve buttons make for easy tailoring. Lower patch pockets keep it casual, but the regular welt chest pocket keeps it sleek. Drops under $140 with a 40% off code, and down to $114.50 with the every-so-often 50% off one item code. At those prices, this thing is quite the steal.
Cheap! Cotton shell that’s partially lined with a 65 poly/35 cotton blend. Non functioning sleeve buttons. Saw these in store and while they didn’t have my size, the fabric seemed fine for the price. Not super lightweight, but not overly stiff either. Big thanks to Matthew T. for the tip!
Almost more shirt-like than sportcoat-like. JCF has done these before. And this year’s version is no different in terms of barely-there weight and shirt-like construction. For the dudes who run real hot, but still like to wear a sportcoat from time to time.
Inexpensive, but plenty of us have had plenty of problems with these things. UNIQLO cuts their jacket tails VERY short. They also sell their jackets in basic, ballpark, S/M/L/XL sizing. So if you’re average in height to tall, it might look comically chopped on your frame. That, and their sleeves tend to run long. But at least with these jackets it appears that their sleeve cuff buttons are non functioning? Be prepared for a trip to the tailor none the less.
J. Crew Italian Cotton Unlined Sportcoat – $152.60 w/ SALEFUN ($228)
***Best in Show for Versatility*** Still one of the best, and super glad that J. Crew continues to make these things, as well as NOT exclude them from most codes (can’t say that about their ultralight summer-weight sportcoats). Crisp Italian cotton makes it easy to dress up or down. True blue “Caspian” shade looks terrific with light in color and weight summer pants, or, dark denim during the colder months. Currently looks like these are only available in their Ludlow fit? Odd, they were making them in the more accommodating (for larger builds) Crosby fit as well.
Still kicking about in the sale section. Nice, lightweight linen, with a thicker than average stripe pattern to it. Great for The Kentucky Derby through late August. Currently an extra 25% off during their long weekend sale, but that deal expires today.
Terrific bang for the buck value. Australian merino wool in either a traditional, midnight navy, or a brighter true-blue. Patch pockets help define it more as a blazer than an orphaned suit jacket. Non functioning sleeve buttons make for easy tailoring. Available in either a contemporary (shown) or slim fit. Prices on the Spier & Mackay site are listed in Canadian dollars, so price will fluctuate for US buyers depending on the exchange rate. Full review here.
***Best In Show (all around)*** No, they don’t seem to ever go on sale (until it’s an end of season clearance or something), but the asking price of $168 is just fine considering what you’re getting. Barely there construction, but the cotton/linen fabric is substantial enough that it looks sharp. Lots of colors to pick from. Non functioning sleeve cuff buttons make for easy tailoring. Slightly lowered button stance looks terrific with the open collars that come with warm weather. Here’s to hoping J. Crew keeps on making these things. (Note… I’ve only been hands on with the cotton-linen options, but the new, stretch cotton options seem to be getting great reviews as well.)
Got a favorite, warm weather blazer or sportcoat that didn’t make the list, yet should have? Send those tips into email@example.com.