Men often use these three interchangeably and that is in fact a blunder. Although all three are seemingly the same but once you read this blog you will understand the difference between these three jackets and also have a more clear picture of where to wear them and how to style them right. The basic purpose of understanding fashion is to ensure that you do justice to it with the right jacket.
The sports jacket is a type of jacket that is meant to be worn with different color of pants. That is one distinction that sets it apart from blazer and suit jackets. The sports jacket is more like an elegant but casual look. It cannot be considered as formal clothing. Initially it was used by men for sporting activities and that is where it derives its name from. The sports jacket is getting popular in the last decade because prior to that it was considered as an item of luxury. Men could barely afford suits and an additional sports jacket just for casual style was nowhere a priority. Thus only the rich owned sports jackets.
These are characterized by a wide range of patterns and prints. Also, the jackets that come with elbow patches are sports jackets. These are single breasted and are different from the other jackets because these are meant to be a bit lose. The sports jacket was intended to be worn casually which meant even over sweaters and shirts. Thus the fitting is comparatively lose and not as body fitted as the rest. Also, while the other jackets are best worn with buttons closed, this jacket has its own style and is often worn with the buttons open. So what you wear inside will be more than basic plain shirt.
Another difference is that since it is elegant but still casual look, it can be worn with a wide variety of pants like corduroy, chinos and even flannels. These jackets are very cool for dinner with friends, dates, office parties and basically any semi-formal occasion wherein you wish to look elegant without going overboard!
Herringbone is the classic sports jacket category. it is basically a type of fabric used to make the original, ever classy and vintage sports jacket. Apart from this your options include tweed and even soft flannel.
Your footwear can be based on your bottomwear. For chinos you should opt for monk straps or loafers. Brogues may also look good if you have worn it over a shirt and not a sweater or t-shirt. When with denims, you can try sneakers and even loafers go well.
The jacket that is most commonly confused as a sports jacket and vice versa is the blazer. Blazers originate with the British military and they wore double breasted jackets termed blazers. These were a bit restrictive for movement and later on single breasted blazers also came into the world.
Blazers are extremely versatile and classy. They come in flannel, worseted wool, cashmere, fresco and even serge. The fabric is what distinguishes blazers from sports jacket. Also, the blazers are more of a formal attire whereas sports jacket are casual only. They can never be passed off as a formal attire. They can be worn with classic grey flannel for an all formal look or if you wish to experiment then you have chinos for a more semi-formal look. But make sure the chinos are well fitted because blazers demand fitted pants!
Blazers do not have patches and crazy patterns. They are more single colored and mostly in navy blue shade as that is the classic blazer. Apart from that you have blazers in Blue, bottle green/ dark emerald green and even regatta stripes. Some men love to go crazy with blazers however, it is always advisable to experiment funk with sports jackets and keep the blazers simple and elegant as possible.
Unlike sports jackets, you have double breasted 6 button blazers. This is the vintage blazer look and is really impressive. It is not at all restrictive for men. Single breasted blazers were invented for men who were engaged in a more physically strenuous task like rowing a boat. Double breasted is thus, also very comfortable for normal activities and gives a classy elegant feel to the look.
Blazers should be worn with brogues or monk straps. If you want to try something more trendy and informal, you can opt for loafers.
Suit jackets are a classy, elegant and purely formal jacket category. They are the vintage in jackets. It is the most common type of jacket. I’m sure almost every adult man owns one or will do so eventually. it is something you find in almost every closet because one can never have enough formal attire. You need it for office, weddings, ceremonies, meetings, parties etc. They come with the suit (trousers that match the suit jacket exactly, made from the exact same fabric. And maybe a waist coat. Waist coat is optional.)
The fitting of the suit jacket sets it apart from blazers and sports jackets. The suit jacket should be exactly fitted. You cannot afford to wear a lose sports jacket simply because it looks just wrong. This is a formal attire and in that sense it needs to be the right size. Almost skin fitted. Suits will make people take you more seriously and a suit look is incomplete without a bow-tie or a regular tongue-tie. A tie-pin and cuff-links add more character and class to the look.
They are worn in an all formal look. So even your footwear will be the classic oxfords and you may opt for brogues if the occasion is celebration. But for office meetings and anything formal, oxfords are the way to go.
Suit jackets come in worseted wool, linen, cashmere and silk. These are the popular fabrics used for suit jackets (basically the suit). Navy blue, Charcoal grey, mild grey and the classic black are the shades you must go for. While you may find suits in other colors but for an all formal look, these are your best picks.
Suit jackets can be worn with chinos and denims as well and the look will still be elegant. However, the purpose of the suit jacket is to be worn with the suit trousers. If you wear out your jacket, it may fade differently than the trousers and they will eventually end up looking different from each other ruining your suit look.
It is very important to understand the difference between the three looks in order to understand the styling and occasion for wearing each jacket.