Ask Harry: How to Wear a Sport Jacket
Our guide on how to incorporate sport jackets into your day-to-day wardrobe.
Sport jackets have remained a staunch wardrobe staple among men for generations. However, that doesn’t intrinsically mean that wearing one well comes naturally. Here, find a few tips on how to include more sport jackets into your regular rotation — and, more importantly, look great doing so.
Get Dressed Up
While not quite as formal as a suit jacket, sport jackets are nonetheless rooted in traditional tailoring, which means dressing them up is quite straightforward. Matching a sport jacket with some tailored trousers and a shirt-and-tie combination is a classic look that can be adapted an infinite number of ways.
This is certainly among the more formal sport jacket looks and is what we call “separates” — not quite a suit, but not far off. The only difference? The jacket and trousers aren’t made of the same material.
Whether you’re dressing for an important occasion, want to up your game at the office, or simply like looking a little more established, this outfit is an old-reliable you can continue coming back to.
Keep It Casual
Don’t get us wrong, sport jackets never have to feel fuddy-duddy. Ditch the trousers , shirt, and tie and instead opt for a simple pair of jeans in your favourite wash to pull back on the formality of your ‘fit.
This look works best when worn with a t-shirt or simple knit, which always feels like a natural pairing for denim jeans. Adding the sport jacket on top takes the timeless look to another level, adding an element of refinement and taste to the greater story.
The Best of Both
If you’re hoping to land somewhere in-between formal and casual — perhaps Business Casual, if you will — then rest assured the sport jacket can do that too. The key here lies within your choice of knitwear.
Whether you’re wearing a slightly elevated pair of 5-pocket pants or some fine wool trousers, a sport jacket will always waltz the fine line between dress codes when worn with a fine-gauge knit.
In short, 'gauge’ refers to the number of stitches per one inch of fabric. So, ‘fine-gauge’ means there are a high number of stitches per inch, which results in a softer, smoother, and often shinier sweater or knit.
Whether you go for a cashmere crewneck, merino mock-neck, silk-blended polo shirt, or any other style of fine knit, these always look great under a sport jacket and never come across as overly dressed up or down.
A Note About Construction
Not every sport jacket is made the same — one of the reasons why they’re such a versatile tool to have in your wardrobe. While some sport jackets are made to look modern and sporty, others are intended to honour more of a traditional silhouette. This largely comes down to the internal construction of the jacket, among other factors.
Sport jackets that feature lots of canvassing (typically a blend of canvas, horsehair, and linen) to create structure in a jacket’s shoulders and chest are considered more formal. Although not intended as its primary function, canvassing also adds minor insulation to a sport jacket, which helps you stay a little warmer in the winter months.
Sport jackets with little-to-no canvassing or lining create softer, more natural lines on the wearer while also appearing far more casual. These sport jackets are commonly referred to as ‘unconstructed’ or ‘unstructured,’ and are much lighter in weight, meaning they tend to be a better option during the summer months.
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