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The Complete Guide to Sports Jackets

Last Updated on September 6, 2021 by


Sports Jackets are a classic piece of heritage from the countryside and no country lover would be complete without one in their wardrobe. Stylishly timeless, having stood the test of time with many putting contemporary twists on their sports jacket style. While they can still be used for their original sporting purposes, they are also now a key piece in smart-casual country style. Here is our complete guide to the humble sports jacket.


What is a Sports Jacket?

A sports jacket is a smart casual jacket designed to be worn without a matching pair of trousers, it was designed originally to be worn for traditional sporting purposes. They can come in a wide range of styles, fabrics, colours, and patterns but tend to be made out of thicker and sturdier fabrics (e.g. tweed).


The History of the Sports Jacket

As the name suggests, the term Sports Jacket is derived from the 19th century Victorian sporting pedigree of the style. More specifically from the tweed jackets that were worn when pursuing the country sports made popular by Queen Victoria herself.


The original sports jacket was necessarily loose fitting, to allow for free movement with gun or rod. And the lapels were long and tapered, making it easy for the wearer to access the multiple inside pockets used for storing sporting paraphernalia.


Over the years, as style evolved away from the strict dress codes of the Victorian age, gentlemen began to favour their tweed sporting jackets out with sporting life. The comfort offered by the less strict tailoring made the Tweed Sports Jacket ideal for informal daywear. By the 1950’s the Tweed Sports Jacket had become a staple piece in any gentleman’s wardrobe


Today, the Tweed Sports Jacket retains the features of this period. The jacket is cut to sit at the base of the hips. The fit is an easy flattering line, though contemporary tastes do tend to favour a lightly tailored silhouette known as the English Fit.


The Difference Between a Suit Jacket, Blazer and Sports Jacket

A suit jacket matches with a pair of trousers in both style and pattern. Blazers are not made with matching trousers and are usually a solid colour with metal buttons, they are more formal than a sports jacket. A sports jacket is meant to function as sporting attire so is seen to be less formal in comparison to a blazer or suit jacket.


Wearing and Styling a Sports Jacket

Sports jackets still function today as key pieces of sportswear and tweed is the ideal fabric for hunting, shooting, and fishing. Tweed is warm, hardwearing, and the heather and moss tones are perfect for rural sports.

For smart casual wear these jackets can be worn however you please, with jeans, chinos, or cords; layer up underneath or wear your sports jacket on top of a plain t-shirt. It’s impossible to go wrong with a good tweed sports jacket.


How to Measure for a Sports Jacket

When it comes to suits, there really is no “one size fits all”, which is why it is important to have your sports jacket measured to your personal specifications. We have been tailoring country clothing for almost 100 years, and our unique made to measure service has stood the test of time through our preservation of a personalised and quality service. We are with you every step of the journey so that you walk away with the suit of your dreams, you can find more information on our made to measure service here.


How a Sports Jacket Should Fit

A Sports Jacket is cut to sit at the base of the hips. The fit is an easy flattering line, though contemporary tastes do tend to favour a lightly tailored silhouette known as the English Fit.


Tip: One sure fire way to ensure an elegant, glove-like fit is to have a jacket tailored. We have a made to measure service available at A∙Hume, find out more here.


Shoulder Fit for Your Sports Jacket

You should have a fit that allows for free arm movement. Too short and the arms are restricted. Too long and the shoulders will sag and bag. The shoulders of the jacket should sit no further than ½ inch over your own shoulders and there should be a smooth line from collar to shoulder. Some signs that the fit is too big is rumpling and dips in the line from collar to shoulder. Dips in the shoulder line can also be a problem for men with sloping, or rounded shoulders. If you are unable to easily raise your arm, the jacket is too narrow across the shoulders so try a size up or down. If you have sloping or rounded shoulders, try a jacket with less structured shoulders.


Collar Fit for Your Sports Jacket

The collar of the jacket should mirror the line of your shirt perfectly. Your jacket collar should drape perfectly around the neck without any gaps between shirt and jacket, even when you raise your arms and move about. Collar gaps may be a sign that the cut is too big or ill-suited to your shape.


Chest Fit for Your Sports Jacket

Your Lapels and front panels should sit smoothly across the chest. If the top button (or middle on a 3-buttoned jacket) is fastened, the jacket should sit comfortably across the chest without pulling, puckering, or gaping in any direction. Place your hand, palm towards you, against your chest and slide it under the lapels. Form a fist. The jacket should become taught across the chest. If the jacket wrinkles, or pulls across the chest, or you are unable to form a fist when the top or middle button are fastened then it is too tight. The exception to this is on jackets with very short lapels that are specifically cut to form a very slim silhouette. If it gapes when the top or middle button are fastened it is too big, so size up, or down. Try two and three-buttoned lapels until you find a jacket that is cut to suit your physique.


Sleeves Fit for Your Sports Jacket

Your sleeves should have an unwrinkled, smooth line along the full length of the sleeve that is maintained throughout the full range of movement. Examine the full sleeve length in side profile. The sleeve should form an unwrinkled line from shoulder to cuff. If the sleeve is puckered or wrinkled, it’s a sign that the sleeve is placed either too far forward or back for your physique. There is huge variety in the natural shoulder and arm position of men.


Cuffs Fit for Your Sports Jacket

Sleeve length is a matter of personal preference though you may choose to observe tailoring etiquette that the jacket sleeve should finish at the wrist bone and allow ¼ to ¾ of an inch of shirt cuff. If the sleeve length extends beyond the base of the palm, it is too long. If sleeve finishes before the wrist bone, regardless how the jacket fits elsewhere, it will look too small. Cuffs are one of the easier alterations to make so if the fit works in all other respects it is worth having the cuffs altered to fit.


Hips Fit for Your Sports Jacket

The jacket should sit at the base of the hips. Taller men can carry off a longer line more easily whilst shorter men benefit from a shorter line. Sports Jackets may have a single or double vent. Which you choose is dependent on personal preference and style. The jacket should sit in a smooth, unbroken line from the nape through to the back, to the base of the jacket. If you do up the buttons and examine the rear view of the jacket, there should be no gaps between the vents. If the vents are rising, or gaping, it’s a sign that the jacket is too snug through the hips and rear, so size up or try a jacket that is cut more generously through the hips.


How to Pack a Sports Jacket When Travelling

It is important to pack a sports jacket carefully when travelling, as you don’t want to open your case at your destination with some problematic creases. We found this insightful guide on Business Insider that details three different ways to fold your sports jacket in your case with minimal issues.


We hope that you have enjoyed reading our guide to sports jackets. If you think we missed anything in our guide or want to share pictures of your A∙Hume sports jacket, we would love to hear from you on social media using #ahumetakemehome.