Sports Jacket for men : A guide on how to choose a men’s sports jacket

Powerful, elegant and flattering: the blazer or sports jacket is the essential piece inside a man’s closet. We’ve rolled up our sleeves up to examine this item through all possible angles, in the light of a gorgeous spring day.


Benoit wears the BGMG-01 sports jacket, from the BonneGueule and Melinda Gloss partnership

Ah, and for the more curious ones out there, at the end of the article I’ll talk about a blazer that I produced entirely by myself.

The men’s sports jacket: a multifunctional item of clothing

Providing that if you choose quality in terms of material and assembly, the blazer is a timeless item: a beautiful can be worn whatever the weather, and will never become out of date over time.

  • For winter, a seasonal coat covers the sports jacket, given that you have chosen a coat as a consequence of the cold.



Benoit wears a Melinda Gloss sports jacket under his BG x La Comédie Humaine coat

  • In between seasons, a trench will protect the blazer in case of a rainy day. For the rest, the shirt / cardigan / blazer / scarf combo will let you brave the lower temperatures without the threat of suffocating under unexpected rays.


  • As the beautiful days return, skirts rising at the same time as the temperature, the blazer becomes a central part of your look.

The strong points of a blazer / sports jacket

The blazer gives structure and elegance to an outfit built upon solid basics, and highlights the items that have character.

Worn over a graphic tee, a pair of chinos and sneakers, a well-cut blazer made out of beautiful material gives just what is needed for a cool, summery vibe.

An informal blazer and a graphic tee is a great combo.

To give different styles depending on how relaxed you want to look, you can wear the blazer open or closed, the sleeves rolled up, with or without a pocket, collar turned up or down.

Sports jacket materials

The most widespread blazers are made out of wool, typically the material of jackets, notably owing to its insulating and breathable properties, which do crumple a little – as we have already explained to you, don’t hold back too much with the fibres of the wool (100S, 120S, etc) as it isn’t a way to gage quality.


The BGMG-01 blazer made of flannel of wool

In summer, look out for lighter fibres such as cotton (solid, even and thin), linen (flexible, resistant and fresh, even if the fibres intermix.

The mix of different fibres increases the properties of the item: solidity, won’t shrink, lightness, and waterproof features. For instance, a hint of synthetic materials mixed with natural fibre can give a decisive advantage.

With this being said, be wary of 100% synthetic materials that you can find in major retailers. Although there you’ll find jersey cotton jackets interesting, it’s also here that polyester is rampantly available: it’s horrid to wear (you can’t breathe in it), and shines a lot where it ages which is really ugly.

A note on linen: typical summer material

Linen is a vegetable fibre, which comes from the stem of the plant of the same name. After the retting, scotching and spinning process, you’ll obtain a lengthy, reliable, supple and resistant material that’s nice to feel, dirt resistant and insects won’t eat you alive.

What’s more, linen absorbs moisture really well and is easily washable. It keeps you warm from the cold, as linen is quite insulating but also carries a really fresh feel, perfect for wearing in the summer months.



Linen plants and a great linen blazer by Melinda Gloss.

This is typically an eco-friendly product; linen doesn’t allow for any irritation and is respectful of the environment, and is 100% recyclable for the purposes of equipment, hygiene and health. Finally, it’s good to know that France is the main country that cultivates linen in textiles: a great opportunity to satisfy the chauvinism that exists in us.

Choosing the best sports jacket

It’s a demanding and complicated fashion exercise, but is ultimately worn by everyone. In effect, the sports jacket is the cornerstone of the masculine closet, and requires all the more fittings are somewhat burdensome.

Luckily, the results are worth it: a good blazer is a strong basic item that’ll last you a long time.

How many buttons on a man’s jacket?

For starters, a safe bet would be to choose a blazer with one or two buttons – models with three buttons have a tendency to dwarf your figure.


 The blazer / shirt / jeans / sneakers combination is a strong look that befits every situation

As often as you can, go for simple designs over criss-crossed blazers – which have two rows of buttons.


Crossed blazers are perfect for big events, but can appear too dressy for an office or an evening with friends as they are much better suited to more formal dress codes.

The colour of the sports jacket

You’ve probably heard this before but it’s good to remember with jackets, the vital colour is grey.

Why grey? Because grey is the colour that accommodates all other colours and tones. A beautiful grey jacket enhances coloured chinos, underlines selvedge denim and even accommodates black.

In a general sense, a grey blazer works well to tones down bright colours and, at the same time, this contrast brings attention the outfit.


If you already have a grey jacket, blue, beige, brown and kaki green are interesting colours:


The brand Electic offers an elaborate and masculine colour chart

Generally speaking, I would advice you to avoid black, unless the material and details have been well worked. Excluding certain designers who offer particularly elaborate items, a black jacket can become boring quite easily, even adding years to those who wear it.

Essential things to consider when choosing a blazer

  1. Shoulders: the most deciding factor, on your shoulder the angle must be well defined, without creasing or excess material.
  2. The cut: Open, the blazer must outline your hip bones with a nice and smooth curve. This is commonly referred to as the fit. There must be as little creases as possible on the back or the collar.
  3. The length: Standing, with relaxed arms, the blazer must stop at the middle of the hand. The sleeves must appear to stay 1cm of the shirt in a straight position, and 2 or 3 cm maximum when you bend your arms for a regular handshake, or even a rabbit handshake.
  4. The size: It’s important that the blazer isn’t too tight at the centre of the item (notably the light creases on each side of the buttons).  You must always feel well retained, level with each side but equally you must be able to put a fist between the central part and the blazer.


In practice, this is what a well-chosen jacket looks like:

Above, the collar of this Fursac jacket moulds perfectly with the collar of the shirt worn by Benoît. 


Above, the back gives a cut that is close to perfection.


Above, the shoulder angle is very neat, and there aren’t stubborn creases which could reveal a misfit in the sleeve’s construction.

A little bit of history: why was the suit taken apart?

For those who enjoy learning about history, in the 80s, Giorgio Armani cut the traditional suit in half. He put aside trousers matched with the jacket and introduced by this occasion a sense of comfort and fluidity, which revolutionised the male suit.

From then on, the relaxed silhouette made way for conventional meshing (= the ancestral manufacturing technique of a jacket) and linings. He placed the buttons at the bottom of the jacket to emphasise the sleeves. He invented a new kind of beautiful which seduced professionals in the creative industries such as the media, publicity and architecture. Incidentally, he ruled out tweed and soft-woven fabrics in favor of softer and more flexible fabrics and created light jackets in a range of neutral and masculine colours, such as taupe, charcoal and beige-gray.

Receiving international success from the film American Gigolo and the star Richard Gere dressed by Armani, his Italian collection is acclaimed by the entire world. Thereafter, the designer is one of the greats in Hollywood where he continues to highlight aesthetically pleasing and luxurious glamour discretely in numerous suits that he created for hundreds of films.


35 years later, the ideal jacket isn’t cut in the same was as the jacket worn by Richard Gere.

The men’s blazer today

Unlike the suit jacket, the blazer is a short (again shorter than that of a suit). An icon of the sports jacket, it allows the freedom to be worn with odd trousers (another colour different to the jacket), indeed jeans or chinos to accentuate a more modern look.

An important note: you must NEVER odd-match a suit jacket to serve the purpose of that of a blazer (i.e. without matching trousers). It’s often too long for this kind of wear. Ignore this warning and you run the risk of coming across as a guy who likes to be classy but makes a mess of it.


 Things to avoid: a suit jacket taking the role of a blazer.

It’s important to wait for the second part of this Maxi “Best-Of-Blazer” without fries, where I’ll talk to you notably about the art of pulling off a blazer.


How to wear a sports jacket?
And what to wear it with?

The jacket is one of the easiest items to wear. You don’t have to be particularly fashionable to pull it off; it accommodates strong, basic items really well and is inexpensive.

Here are some associated items of clothing that have been proven very successful:

–        Dark t-shirt (with possible logo) + jacket

–        Scoop neck t-shirt (clear rounded collar) + shirt + jacket

–        Shirt (with possible twisted collar) + jacket

–        Checked shirt + jacket

–        V necked t-shirt + v necked jumper + jacket

–        Dark hoodie (possible shirt) + jacket

Down the line, you will take the time to illustrate this list with numerous other style ideas.

The t-shirt and jacket

Jacket and V-necked Tee

When the weather is summery, a simple blazer on the other hand accommodates well a v-neck tee, because the geometric lines of the collar and the lapel are in harmony


The combination formed by the collar of the t-shirt and the lapel of the blazer works coherently.

By associating t-shirts with complementary collars, layering can give colour contrasts and boosters.


Here, we’re talking about clever layering with smart features: the pocket, button and t-shirt are the same colours as well as a hint of hair between the torso and the beard.

In the case of the preceding photo, the v-necked tee worn under the Tunisian t-shirt creates an extra geometrical and harmonious level.

If the temperatures aren’t too high, you can apply the same principal of superimposition by wearing a cotton cardigan and a v-necked tee under the jacket.

The men’s blazer and a round-neck tee

When applying the same geometric considerations, it could be said that the rounded collar wouldn’t work. In fact, this isn’t true, as long as the basic items are solid and matched with style.

Chosen items on the basis of a nice cut and decent colours instantly gives an appearance.

As soon as you master the fundamentals of the look based on the cut and the even colours, it’s time to play with colours without looking for ideas that are too sophisticated (synonym for a headache).

This chilled and relaxed look gives the feeling of having character without screaming, “Look, I have style!”

Later, you can begin to play around with a depth of different of collars or with colour tones:

1 – Above, a rounded collar with a scoop neck style adds zest to an outfit made up of dark clothing.


2 – This look suggests another solution: the tones of the jumper and jacket are sufficiently similar so that the geometric contrasts don’t interfere with each other.

The shirt and the blazer: a safe option to start with

The shirt is the ideal partner to the blazer, given that it’s an item where the structure adapts itself perfectly to the former: the collar of the shirt and the fold-down collar forms a geometrically harmonious set (the shirt collar settles itself naturally into this blazer, whilst being a little bit bigger).

You can go everywhere with an open shirt worn in a relaxed style under a nice blazer

 As soon as you’re comfortable with your blazer and favourite shirts, you can start to find original details – or twists – like the collar of this shirt for example:

All angles formed by the lines of the shirt collar and the folded-down collar of the blazer is in harmony.

The shirt and the men’s blazer: towards a more advanced style 

The associations with twists can be sometimes presented as geometric contrasts, like the coexistence of the peak lapels, folded-over a shirt with a rounded collar.

In each circumstance, an advanced perspective of style allows the enhancement of these kinds of details and to develop looks which have character.

Here the cut is remarkable, as is the colour association

Notice that the assortment of the light scarf with the turned up collar gives a relaxed feel

When it comes to the association of colours between scarves, don’t forget to consider the colour of the buttons on the shirt. Whether in horn, wooden, pearl or plastic, it is just as important to consider that they form a dotted line leading to your face.

Whatever applies to the buttons on your shirts evidently applies to the buttons on your jackets: here the green reflection of the pearl buttons on the cardigan is highlighted by the colour of the blazer.

It is possible to wear a t-shirt under a shirt: by example a grey or white t-shirt under a chambray shirt.

Beware of over-thinking

It’s always important to avoid falling into the habit of multiplying colours, and equally to avoid looking overly matchy-matchy.

Being preoccupied with looking perfectly matched resembles machine-like tendencies. It doesn’t really suggest the true meaning of a beautiful look.

As always, it’s about having a clear aim but doing it with a sense of nonchalance and detachment that no one will ever doubt.

Don’t hesitate to reread the articles on how to match colors.

Polo shirts under a blazer

Be open to all closet items as style and elegance prevails over preconceived ideas: including the polo.

This cool look restores the reputation of the polo

 Roll up your sleeves and play with colours

An interesting way to claim ownership of your style consists of playing with the way you wear your blazer by rolling up your sleeves to your forearms.

– Wait, I have a good’un: “no sleeves, no chocolate”.
– … it’s completely useless? It’s not even a joke in fact.

It looks more natural if the sleeves are open; that is to say if they come with real buttonholes.

This will be much more complicated to do with jackets without open buttonholes (over-represented at the base of ready to wear).

The comparison between the sleeves of an H&M jacket with a Suitsupply (grey) is clear.

This twist doesn’t necessarily provide more freshness when the temperatures rise due to the fact that air cannot circulate.

On the other hand rolling up your sleeves brings what you need to look casual and unveils an extra colored fabric (cardigan or inner lining of the jacket) with which it is possible to have fun with (challenge).

A subtle color boost between the pocket, the belt and the rolled-up sleeve.

Our selection of jackets

Foreword: all of the suggested models below are part of the collection available at the time of this article being written (spring-summer 2014). No need to look for the exact replica six months later (however you will find excellent equivalents at the same brands).

Entry-level blazers

It’s usually at breakthrough prices where you can’t find anything that is durable, but everyone must have a look. The starting prices at Zara and H&M start at $70, where you’ll find synthetic products (or cotton that is pretty standard). If you aim for the first day of the sales, you can find some really good steals.

An H&M model in synthetic fabric at 50€.

When it starts getting closer to $140, you’ll discover linen, notably in Zara.

A linen blazer by Zara at $110.

If you want to find something in more reputable fabric (wool, cotton) you’ll have to spend more than $140 in these stores.

An H&M blazer from the Premium range in heather fabric at $180.

Although often the finish and the quality of the materials is neglected, these big chains sometimes offer excellent cuts. This becomes relevant when retouching the jackets to adapt perfectly to your shape (fit and the base of the sleeves).

It’s important to point out that a jacket from Zara or H&M is difficult to wear for more than one season. After this period passes, the padding deforms (the padded tissue at the shoulders), the fabric shows many signs of wear and tear and if you’ve had the misfortune to take it to the dry-cleaners, the fabric will show unsightly little blisters (because of the fused-lining on the inside of the clothing).

Finally, at all costs it’s important to specify an essential last thing when you scurry through shops looking for a blazer: pay attention to the cut, notably around the back.

At the top of the entry-level items, you can fall back on the selection of jackets from COS ($260). For svelte figures, the simplicity of Swedish fashion is always a safe bet.

COS woollen blazer in slim-fit at $260 which would warrant rounding up on the first day of the sales.

Middle range blazers

Much more preferable than the entry-level range, it will always be much more durable and therefore profitable in the mid-term.

Suitsupply, of which many looks suggested in this article are from, is a Dutch brand that makes impeccably well-cut jackets from $275, from quality materials (English tweed, Italian wool, etc.), with constructions that encourages respect (Opened button holes, half canvassed to fully canvassed jackets, etc).

Like many other brands that we love, the strategic model of this brand is inscribed in that of vertical integration (like Frank & Oak which we have already spoken about or Gustin jeans). Thus, the quality/price relationship is brilliant. The catch is that they aren’t available online.

Finally, Suitsupply is an excellent source of inspiration for starting to compose more advanced looks.

The Washington model from Suitsupply is a two and a half button blazer of which the fit is particularly pronounced. Here, the model is dressed in linen. The cost: $320.

The Havana model from Suitsupply in cotton, $280.

Pay attention to big chains that offer enticing cuts and details for extortionate prices, like The Kooples, Sandro and such. Their communication and distribution methods don’t allow for quality at competitive prices (they make gross margins that are far too high, note our article on the business of ready-to-wear.

These brands shouldn’t be considered at any other time than during de-stocking or other private sales. It’s here that the prices of clothing start to struggle to approach a reasonable value with regard to quality (generally speaking a jacket for a little more than $280).

We make the same remark: mid-range jackets often age prematurely. Pay attention to padding, often synthetic or low quality materials, premature wear and tear, and adhesive fabric that causes blisters.

Luxury blazers

If you’re looking for quality and durability, look towards Filippa K ($415), Acne ($700), Melinda Gloss ($700) and Gant Rugger ($550) to ensure high value.

A woollen Acne blazer, which merits to be rounded up on the first day of a sale, although this is discounted the least out of all brands.

A woollen Melinda Gloss blazer equivalent to the previous is sold at $730 with nice wooden buttons.

Passing to the next stage, the most elaborate blazers with cuts presenting stylish twists become powerful statement items with huge amounts of character.

This is happening with a wide range of technical jackets ($970), Ozwald Boateng ($830) or Dior Homme ($1950).

The Holy Grail: The Dior Homme piece in mohair wool and satin at $1950.

These items that are the stuff of dreams seem completely inaccessible. Nevertheless, don’t hesitate to go into these luxury stores to try them on, discover how you feel about them, look at the details, the finish and feel the fabric. This means that next time, you will be able to take advantage of the opportunity when they make themselves available (during sales, or at brands where they offer reasonable prices, although éclectic already offer an excellent quality/price relationship.)

This process allows one to follow a principle that you should never bypass: take the time to try on and look around. It’s an absolute necessity when allowing your style to flourish and blossom.

Please feel free to get involved and add your comments to the commentary below! 🙂

  • Hey Marthy, yes we do, check this Grooming category page :

  • Thanks a lot Tim. I’m glad it helped you 🙂

  • Corey says:

    Where can I find that informal blazer that’s worn over the graphic tee?!

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