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 fall is the prime season for sportcoats. Wear em’ with jeans, cords, dress trousers, etc… With a balance of quality & affordability in mind, here’s this season’s best. Note: All in-person shots show the blazer or sportcoat in question straight off the rack. No tailoring (yet). Wanted to give you guys an accurate feel for how each jacket would look pre-tailoring. And note that this year we used two body types for the in-person stuff. The Joe guy, who is a bulkier/athletic 5’10” / 195 build, and Ryan, who is a slim 5’10” / 160. You’ll find fit notes as warranted below.
- Havana Fit Light Blue Wool Sportcoat – $399
- Havana Fit Blue Check Wool Sportcoat – $399
- Havana Fit Blue Check Wool Cashmere Sportcoat – $499
- Havana Fit Dark Grey Wool Sportcoat – $399
- Havana Fit Grey Wool Cashmere Check Sportcoat – $499
Half canvas. Terrific fabrics. Tons of colors and patterns in this “Havana” fit, which features a more athletic template as well as patch pockets on the lower half. Sleeve buttons are functional, but at least they ship and return for free. That steep $799 price point? That’s for the all cashmere stuff. Jacket shown above left goes for $399. So does the jacket shown above right. Both are 40R on 5’10” / 185.
Banana Republic Wool/Cotton Sweater Blazer – $149 w/ BRAPP50 ($298)
Quite nice. It’s knit, but doesn’t feel like a sweater or a sweatshirt. Has a little bit of structure, but not like a traditional sportcoat either. Fabric is a medium thickness, 45% wool, 25% cotton, 19% polyester, 11% acrylic. Size shown above is a 42R on 5’10” / 195. It’s a little big and could use some taking in at the sides. Lost a little weight recently, and now I’m stuck between a 40 and a 42 for BR sportcoats in their slim fit. Size shown above is a 42R on 5’10” / 195. Wear it over everything from marled tees to textured henleys to ocbds. Super versatile. Looks like BR has quietly launched a 50% off, friends and family deal the day before it’s set to go fully live? Code is BRAPP50. Not sure if there are any exclusions, but this blazer seems to be in play.
They made them into suits! Smart move outta J. Crew. A sportcoat that J. Crew has been making for years. Still Moon Mills wool/cotton blend tweed, which isn’t super stiff or overly thick. You DON’T feel like you’re wearing some old crusty blanket. Quite the opposite, which is impressive for tweed. Just partially lined in the back. Usually takes a little while before these come up for a code or sale. Patch pockets on the lower half. Welt at the chest. Matching pants can be found here.
Spier and Mackay knows what they’re doing when it comes to sportcoats. What’s nice about this particular “mint green” sportcoat is that the color is so subtle, so beautifully tinged, that you barely notice it’s there. That makes this much more versatile than a green sportcoat should ever be. The premium Botto Giuseppe fabric drapes beautifully (true slim here), and has those lay-flat patch pockets that are still a miracle to me. Very cool complementary shade of green (or maybe teal?) on that inner butterfly lining, too. Thankfully, it seems like a lot of companies are eschewing full liners for butterfly lining lately, which is just fine by me. And for $148, you can even add matching pants and make yourself a sharp suit, too. Size shown here is a 36R slim on 5’9″ / 160.
This is a subtle, sharp, and subdued pattern that goes with a lot of things. Dress it up or down easily. It’s completely unlined in the body, and double vented in the back, which moves great and feels nice and breathable. Button stance is just slightly low for my taste, but other than that, no issues with the fit. Non-functional buttons here, and they look really sharp in contrast to the jacket colors. Sleeves could stand to be shortened a bit, but that’s how J.Crew usually rolls – better to have some fabric to work with than not enough. Size shown is a 36 R on 5’9″ / 160.
- Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer in Grayson Dark Blue Plaid – $450
- Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer in Burgundy – $400
- Unconstructed Italian Cotton/Wool Blazer in Gabriel Navy Honeycomb – $450
- Jetsetter Stretch Wool Blazer in Harrison Dark Brown Plaid – $450
- Jetsetter Stretch Wool Blazer in Elijah Light Grey Plaid – $450
Bonobos might have been born as a chinos company, but man almighty do they get sportcoats right. Both are cut from high quality Italian fabrics, they’re available in solids or patterned options, and the new fall crop is straight up drool worthy. Unconstructed Italian Wool blazers are totally unconstructed and unlined in the back. Jetsetters have a little more structure and lining, but are anything but stiff and rigid. Does go on sale from time to time, and when they do, they’re a steal. Ships and returns for free of course.
Quite interesting. Fit isn’t half bad off the rack, but like most, could use some work. Only 50% wool here (40% poly, 10% other), which gives it more of a “swazer” or even chore coat feel. It also wears super casual not because of the patch pockets themselves, but the fact that the pattern is not lined up anywhere – not where the pockets lay, not where the arms meet the shoulder, not where the two sides meet in the back. Super odd choice that seems easily avoidable? Non-functioning cuff buttons and a super-sharp navy blue piping and plaid butterfly liner on the inside are great pluses. Just be wary that it may present as a bit on the informal side.
Something JCF (thankfully) makes every year. One of those items that seems to still hang in there in terms of quality and fit. Not bad for little bro J. Crew Factory. Tweed is something that’s pretty easy to screw up. It’s a wool/poly blend, but it seems to do pretty well. No elbow patches this year once again. They ditched those a year or two back. At least they’re sticking to the classics for some of their f/w line.
Speaking of casual, these are just that. Casual. But super versatile. A 60% Cotton / 40% Polyester knit that feels a bit like a sweatshirt, but more like a refined sweatshirt. Size shown above left is a large on 5’10” / 195, and it’s a touch big. Yet I feel like a medium would be too small. THAT my friends, continues to be a bit of an issue for Target’s Goodthreads brand. If it fits you decent enough off the rack? It’s a big time winner. Available in the light gray and navy shades shown above, as well as a dark charcoal.
Whoa baby. That’s some serious pattern. How do they make this wear so subtle? As they note in the description, it’s “eye-catching but tasteful.” Love that companies are willing to figure out not how to make a bold pattern, but a bold pattern that you can actually wear without feeling like you’re in an NFL press conference. This one was a SERIOUS slim fit on me. Like suck-in-the-gut slim. Just something to be aware of when ordering. BUT, according to Spier, these things can be let out as much as 2″ through the sides (thanks for the heads up guys.) Non-functioning cuffs, perfectly-lined-up pattern (take notes, Amazon), and minimal lining. Sadly, no matching pants for a full suit of this beauty. Although, that would be quite a lot of plaid. Size shown above is a 36R on 5’9″ / 160.
This is more of a sweater than a sportcoat. MUCH more of a sweater. Not heavy or stiff. Super soft and a bit on the lighter weight side. Super unstructured. Think of it as a chore jacket/sweater. A chore swacket. Super comfy. 80% merino / 20% nylon fabric isn’t heavy, but it is nice and warm. Seems to run a little big. Size shown above is a medium on 5’10″/195 lbs
Fabric makeup is a surprising 84% viscose, 13% nylon, 3% spandex blend, that feels, honestly, great. It doesn’t feel greasy or papery, chintzy or cheap. It feels really, really nice. Soft with give. But still professional enough to wear in a business casual environment. Ships and returns for free. Seems to run a little large. A medium on my 5’10” / 195 lb frame was a hair big, so either prep for a visit to the tailor, or, maybe order a size down. Or perhaps order two sizes, and send the one that doesn’t fit back since Nordy does the free shipping and free returns thing. Perfect for working into an all-fall-textures outfit.
Banana Republic Slim Italian Knit Blazer – $149 w/ BRAPP50 ($298)
Educated guess time. This LOOKS like a navy version of last year’s gray or burgundy Italian wool knit sportcoats. And if it is? That’s awesome. Because those were awesome. So… yeah. Awesome. Knit recycled wool-blend fabric from Italy’s Marzotto mill. Butterfly lined in the back with lined sleeves. Big potential here.
Gap. Gap Gap Gap. Will you ever learn? Sleeves are once again too long, and coupled with functional cuffs. A tailor’s favorite combination! Aside from that, the fit on this feels loose. I ordered my usual size (Small, for 5’9″/160), but with how this fits, I should have sized down to XS. The aforementioned sleeves are too long, the body too boxy, and the overall drape just very casual. The flap pockets can fully hide into slash pockets, which is neat, but if I’m being honest, this whole thing feels like you’re wearing a pair of pants as a sportcoat. A pantcoat. Can’t recommend this one.
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. Just depends on finding your size and color/fabric preference.
And that’s just the first crop. There will certainly be more blazers & sportcoats worth a mention in the coming months, so watch for those in future posts & features. If we missed anything, feel free to email in any further suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.