Every grown man has a binky–that one clothing item that makes him feel taller, more confident, more secure. It may be a ragged pair of jeans, an old AC/DC tee or a bruised pair of sneakers. His undying loyalty to that garment knows no bounds, no reason. The item flatters him, yes, but his devotion to it grows beyond self-esteem into an emotional, almost spiritual bond. Think Indiana Jones’ hat.
For the reasons listed below, no garment is better suited (pun intended) for that kind of affection than a sports jacket. Its combination of individuality, style and versatility makes it an item that can easily grow into a guy’s favorite.
Sports jackets began in Ye Olde England as just that–jackets men wore for sporting occasions, such as hunting. It wasn’t until the late 1930’s that they began to be distinguished from their slightly more formal cousin, the suit jacket–the difference being that suit jackets always match the accompanying trousers. The terms “sport jackets” and “blazers” are often used interchangeably, but they are actually slightly different. A blazer is generally solid in color with contrasting buttons, whereas a sports jacket can come in an almost endless variety of patterns.
Anyway, here are three reasons you should get a sportscoat for your guy:
1. They’re affordable
Suits can cost a grip. As I stated in another post, a nice two-piece can set you back about 1k. Sports jackets, on the other hand, can be found on the cheap. For example, J. Crew, who almost never puts their classic suits on sale, has offered as much as 40% off of their nicest sportcoats. They’re plentiful at outlet mall department store offshoots like Nordstrom Rack and Off 5th. You can even find beautiful sportcoats on sale at consignment stores and thrift shops!
2. They’re distinctive
Suits are a uniform. Most business suits come in any color you like, as long as you like blue and grey. Sport jackets, however, come in an astonishing array of colors and patterns. You can find sportcoats in every shade of green and brown, and even more esoteric hues like pink and burgundy. You’ll also find them in countless patterns, like houndstooth, glen plaid, herringbone and windowpane. And you can pick up a sports jacket in a wide variety of fabrics, from the heaviest corduroys and flannels to unlined summer-weight cotton (such as the one in the featured image.)
3. They’re versatile
A suit jacket goes with only one pair of pants. Not so with sportcoats. They look as good with jeans as they do with fine wool trousers. Sports jackets pair with everything–cords, chinos, even speedos. Ok, just kidding on that last one. But they do transition from day to night, from business to casual more easily than a politician changes positions.
What transforms an ordinary garment into a cherished keepsake? Style, uniqueness, durability–all of those elements play a role, for sure. But perhaps the single greatest factor is memory. Memory of a special time, a place, a person. So if you give a gentleman a sports jacket, he’ll love it because it’s distinctive and versatile. But the reason he’ll keep it is because it came from you.