A sports jacket is a smart casual jacket designed to be worn without a matching pair of trousers and designed originally to be worn for traditional sporting purposes. More specifically from the tweed jackets that were worn when pursuing the country sports made popular by Queen Victoria herself. A staple of any country gents wardrobe our collection of men’s sports jackets includes tweeds that have been woven in Scotland, by world renowned weaver Lovat Mill. Today men’s sports coats and sport blazers are worn to all occasions, equally at home at a party night, day at the races or for a nice meal out in the city.
The History of the Sports Jacket
The term is derived from 19th-century Victorian sporting style, more specifically from the tweed jackets that were worn when pursuing the country sports made popular by Queen Victoria herself.
The original style 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 the style out with sporting life. The comfort offered by the less strict tailoring made them 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. 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 a more formal style. 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, pair with jeans, chinos, or cords; layer up underneath or wear 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.
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 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 should mirror the line of your shirt perfectly. Your 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 it 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 inside 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. They 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, 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 one that is cut more generously through the hips.