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Fashion for Men: What is a Sports Jacket

leather sport jacket

Putting on a coat or a leather sports jacket has a magical effect on a man’s appearance. It instantly makes him appear well groomed and charismatic. Pertaining to the significance of outerwear in men’s fashion, we are here with a comprehensive guide on one of the most popular smart casual staples, the Sports Jacket. 

The sports jacket, also known as the sports coat, is a patterned jacket. Initially, people used to wear it during sports activities. Compared to the suit jacket, the sports jacket is way less structured and slightly loose, allowing optimum mobility to the wearer. It comes in a variety of fabrics for every season.

Sports Jacket: The Smart Casual Outerwear at a Glance

Although the textured and patterned sports jacket is quite evidently different from the other two, it’s prevalent to see men using the terms sports coat, blazer, or suit jacket interchangeably. This blog will lay down the primary differences between these three to help you make an informed choice.

But let us dive into the origin and distinctive features of the sports jacket.


Initially created for men who participated in sporting activities, the name of the sports coat originated solely due to its purpose. The leather jacket was initially worn for sporting activities like shooting and was called the Norfolk Jacket. The design had a belt and buckle to hold it securely during the activities.


We can term the Norfolk Jacket as the first version of the sports jacket, which has now evolved into a stylish outerwear suitable for contemporary men’s fashion.

Commonly Used Fabrics For Sports Jacket

The sports jacket is made with durable, thick fabrics such as wool, tweed, corduroy, or grey flannel. The textured fabric and patterns such as houndstooth or check are the distinctive feature of the jacket, setting it apart from the smooth blazers and suit jackets. The reason for using textured fabric is to give the sports coat a rugged look and feel.


The silhouette of the sports jacket is similar to that of the blazer or the suit jacket, which is the main reason why the three seem similar. However, the sports coat has a looser fit. This allows men to layer beneath the jacket in winters. For instance, pairing a sweater with a sports jacket is a very common trend during winters. 



One of the primary features that the sports coat has is that it is made from thick fabrics. This provides adequate warmth and comfort to the wearer (think about hunting activities during winter!). Its rugged style and loose fitting complements several types of casual outfits. Other than that, the pleats and the back slit offer easy mobility. The patch pockets of the sports jacket also provide a practical purpose giving ample space to carry essentials like your shades or keys.

Common Styles

The sports jacket comes in a variety of styles. However, the ones mentioned below are the most common ones.

2-Button Single Breasted Style

The sports jacket in a single breasted style with two buttons on the front closure usually come with a sports lapel flap and ticket flap pockets. You can also find a similar style with a slight difference in the lapel and pockets like patch pockets. 

2-Button Single Breasted Style

3-Button Single Breasted Style

The three button single breasted style offers a slightly higher level of formality with a closing front lapel and flap pockets like those in the suit jacket. Make sure to abide by the fashion rule and fasten only the middle button when wearing this style.

What is the Difference Between a Blazer and a Sports Jacket?

The blazer is slightly more formal than the sports coat. The reason is that it is made with smooth fabrics like flannel or worsted wool. It is also more structured than the sports coat.

Blazers come in single or double breasted style just like the sports jacket. The single breasted blazer is an appropriate outerwear for smart casual outfits. Whereas, the double breasted blazer is a formal outerwear usually showing an association with an organization.

Besides the texture, pattern, and silhouette of the sports jacket, a differentiating feature between the sports coat and the blazer is that the blazer has buttons in contrasting colors. Usually, the buttons are golden in color. 

To fill the gap between the casualness of the sports jacket and the formality of the suit jacket, don a blazer with your outfits.

What is the Difference Between a Suit Jacket and a Sports Jacket?

Every fashion guru will tell you that the suit jacket is highly formal and that the sports jacket is not. But, what actually sets them apart?

First of all, the fabrics for the suit jacket and sports coat are different. The suit jacket is made with materials that offer a smooth, finish like silk, linen, or worsted wool. On the other hand, a sports jacket is made with textured fabrics like houndstooth, flannel, tweed, or corduroy. 

Unlike the sports coat, the suit jacket has a type of lining, which gives it the proper structure and fit required in formal wear. Another feature added during stitching in the suit jacket is the padded sleeves, giving the wearer a chiseled, well groomed appearance.

The trousers with the suit jacket are of the same material, giving a true meaning to the name of the suit. This is the most apparent difference between the suit jacket and sports jacket.

What is a Double Breasted Sports Jacket?

The double breasted sports jacket has a distinctive overlapping front lapel, with two symmetrical rows of closure buttons. You won’t see the double breasted sports coat in contemporary fashion these days as it is challenging to be paired with many outfits. However, it isn’t totally obsolete as it looks extremely stylish on a man who is gutsy enough to pull it off. We can term the double breasted sports jacket as an extravagant, classy throwback in men’s fashion. 

What is a Double Breasted Sports Jacket?

Styling the Sports Jacket in Contemporary Men’s Fashion

When there is a need for a slight level of formality, the sports jacket comes to the rescue. You usually wear it over a casual sweatshirt, t-shirt or a casual button down shirt. For the bottoms, you can go for grey flannel pants, chinos, or corduroy pants. The sports coat will lend itself to build preppy style, street casual, or semi formal style outfits.

Here are a few outfit suggestions with the sports jacket.

  1. Team up a black turtleneck and grey flannel trousers with a sports jacket. Finish off the look with aviator-style shades and ankle boots for a semi formal look.
  2. You can pair a basic white t-shirt and black chinos with a patterned sports jacket for a dapper street style look. Opt for black tennis shoes to complete the look.
  3. Put on a light blue button down shirt and blue jeans and layer your sports jacket, preferably a grey tweed one.


Wearing the sports jacket is a stylish way to add panache to your classy and casual outfits. It will enhance your persona by giving a crisp look even though you are wearing relaxed clothing essentials beneath. Hope this blog will help you clarify the difference between the kinds of jackets so that you can make an informed choice and build appropriate outfits with your sports jacket.

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