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Blazers and sports jackets

The Difference Between a Blazer, a Sports Jacket and a Suit Jacket


I have to admit, some time ago I was really confused. Blazer, sports jacket, suit jacket, what’s the difference? Although the blazer and the sports jacket are many times mistaken, there are some big differences.A sports jacket is textured and oftentimes patterned, whereas a blazer is a solid color (usually navy or black), made of smooth fabric and is traditionally seen with naval-style brass buttons.

If we look at these three garments as a family, the sports jacket and the blazer are cousins, whereas the suit jacket is their father. So, let me help you get your mind straight on this issue and devote 15 minutes of your life reading this article.

The sports jacket

The sports jacket derives from the experimentation with sports clothes in the mid-nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century, men were seeking comfort and high fashion in their clothing, and turned to the ever-evolving sports jacket as a fashion-forward.

Today’s sports jacket, however, has a very different meaning as it can also be dressed down with a pair of jeans or chinos for more casual functions.

The odd jacket


Named after its lack of matching trousers, the odd jacket was known mostly as sporting-event and clubhouse attire. The odd jacket is also known for incorporating distinctive detailing like pleats, stitched belts and offbeat pockets into the ever-evolving design. The blazer is often described as a derivative of the odd jacket, although it incorporates enough differences to belong in a category all its own.

The patterned sports jacket


The patterned sports jacket appeared after World War II to accommodate the business casual lifestyle that men began leading. Incorporating bold patterns like Shetland stripes.

photo: flickr.com

and madras plaids


Sports jackets made sure you look elegant while avoiding the rigors of a suit jacket.

A very good choice is the houndstooth jacket, paired with a denim. Let’s see how a houndstooth looks like:


The blazer


By 1938, blazers were the fashionable odd jacket of choice for style connoisseurs. Originally a part of the English cricket club scene, the blazer was often striped and in club colors.

Let’s have a look at the model where it all started, the cricket blazer:


This look eventually evolved to include brass buttons, single and double-breasted models, and a club badge on the breast pocket. Blazers are offered in a variety of styles with different detail options, including flap or patch pockets and peak or notch lapels.

A rule of thumb says that blazers are easier to dress down than sports jackets, but it depends very much on your blazer’s style and what you wear it with.

Nautical blazers


Navy-colored blazers adorned with brass buttons were predominant throughout the 1920s, and made a stylish sports outfit when paired with white pants. And due to their lightweight fabric, these nautical-inspired blazers were summer sensations.

Thanks to the British wave of fashion sweeping our North American streets, the traditional nautical blazer may still look trendy in the late spring or early summer.


Colored blazers



Blazers rightfully got their name because they were “blazed” with more color and bolder patterns than the refined sports jacket. Blazers weren’t only striped, but they also came in a variety of bright colors, like powder blue


and purple


The suit jacket


Frankly, there isn’t much to say about suit jackets. They are simply classic. It’s where it all started from. The blazers and sports jackets wouldn’t have been in our hands if it wasn’t for the suit jacket.

About the possibilities of wearing suit jackets, we have already talked in previous articles, so I won’t go through that again. The key word here is formal – remember that.

I think I have given you the biggest array of options to date. All you have to do now is to make your choice.

George Lavas

George is dedicated to fashion and style for men. Based in the UK, George enjoys writing about lifestyle and fashion from both sides of the pond. George created BeStylish.org to help readers create a strong sense of style with minimum effort believing that everyone can look and feel good, all day, every day.

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