Sports Jacket vs Blazer – What is the difference?

Sports jackets and blazers are similar in that both usually don’t come with a pair of matching pants, but there are a few differences between them that do make them distinct. For one thing, a sports jacket is usually patterned while the blazer is usually solid in color.

Some of you may have heard of the “odd jacket”. The modern day blazer derives from this fabulous article of clothing. The name comes from the fact that this jacket lacks a pair of matching pants. Typically, this type of jacket will have an offbeat fabric or offbeat pattern such as pleats – Seersucker is a common fabric type that you will see with this type of jacket (see our blog post about Seersucker Fabric and our post on Seersucker Jackets). Take for example the following jacket:

Seersucker Sport Coat

The sports jacket in itself was invented as a means of wearing something more relaxed at the gentlemen’s club or at a tennis match. Sports jackets are said to have patterns in order to distinguish them from the traditional suit jacket. Typical patterns include Shetland stripes (Ivy League style) and madras plaids (country club style).

The word blazer partially came from the notion of being blazed with more color – you’ve probably noticed that blazers can come in all colors. A more traditional blazer is the nautical blazer that is typically navy blue with brass buttons:

The blazer can be dressed up with flannel pants and can be dressed down with jeans. Double breasted blazers are typically worn by older generations and the single breasted blazer is favored by the younger generation.

As a final note, if you’re going to a formal dinner, skip the blazer and sports coat and stick to the suit :)

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