Know the Difference – When To Wear a Custom Blazer vs a Sport Coat

When it comes to the difference between custom blazers and sport coats, the lines get even blurrier. For most men, the differences are few and far between, other than physically being different pieces of clothing, if they can spot any at all. Custom blazers, sport coats, suit jackets – not many know the difference between these things, besides the way they are marketed and sold. Of course you got a pair of pants with your suit, but can you just wear the suit jacket?

That doesn’t mean you have to be one of the guys who can’t tell the difference. Keep reading to learn more about when to wear custom blazers and when to wear sport coats. Know the different so next time you don’t browse in the wrong section when you’re really looking for one garment or the other.

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Understanding the Blazer

Custom blazers are basically considered a tier below your suit jackets when it comes to formal wear. Not that they aren’t nice or anything, but they’re generally worn when a full suit isn’t needed for a particular occasion. They also have some unique differences that set them apart from suit jackets and sport coats.


Custom blazers tend to have a fit that’s a little bit looser in the body. Instead of a very tapered waist – which is common in men’s suiting these days – you’ll likely see one that’s not nearly as trim. Custom blazers usually offer considerably more room in the body, arms and even a touch in the shoulders as well.

A photo posted by Felix Gonzalez (@thejoyfulgent) on Jul 12, 2016 at 2:28am PDT

Fabric Choices

A lot of the blazers you see ready to wear right off the rack are going to be navy blue. That’s because a navy blue blazer goes with almost

If you’re new to the world of blazers, navy blue should probably be your first choice. Later on you might want to think outside the box and go for something a bit more interesting yet classic, like red, brown, camel or olive green.

When you decide to buy a custom blazer, you will have the ability to pick almost any fabric that your tailor offers you. Flannel, hopsack, worsted serge, tropical wool and heavier wool for the fall and winter months are all common choices.


Most blazers that you find today have very different buttons than your standard suit jacket, though not all of them do. For the most part, you’re going to see gold buttons on your navy blazers because that’s just become the standard for guys.

If you come across a blazer that doesn’t have gold buttons, there’s a good chance they will be silver or mother of pearl. When you buy custom blazers, you can choose any type of button you want to match your personal style.

A photo posted by Benson & Clegg – London (@bensonandclegg) on Jun 28, 2016 at 3:05am PDT

Why Wear Custom Blazers?

Blazers are the ideal piece for an event where you want to dress up and look your best, but you simply think a suit might be a bit too dressy for the occasion. An example might be dinner out with friends and family, a luncheon or dinner party, or a work gathering that’s not held during business hours.

Pair a blazer with slacks, flannel trousers, chinos or even a pair of dark jeans based on the occasion. The pants you decide to wear will either dress the blazer up or down.

So, What’s a Sport Coat?

Now that you have an idea on how distinguish a blazer, we can finally talk about what differentiates a sport coat and why you should buy one. Once you know, you’ll want to have at least one or two in your wardrobe.


Originally, sport coats were literally made for men to wear when they were doing physical activities. If you look back in time a bit, you’ll see pictures of guys riding polo ponies in what might look like a suit jacket to the uninitiated.

Like a blazer, a sport coat is going to have a loose fit when compared to a suit jacket, mostly because of that sporting lineage. In fact, the fit should be even less tapered because an excellent sport coat allows for layering.

A photo posted by Well Tailored (@tailored_lifestyle) on Jul 1, 2016 at 1:30am PDT

Fabric Choices

In general, sport coats are designed to look a bit more rugged and take more abuse than suit jackets and blazers. Even if you don’t have a polo pony or plans to get one, that rugged fabric choice is still wise for most men these days.

Materials like houndstooth, Donegal, open weave wool and rougher versions of hopsack are commonly used today. If you have a custom sport coat made for you, you’ll be able to pick from a wide variety of different material options.

Brown, tan, green, blue and gray are all common fabric colors when it comes to solids. Many sport coats also come in patterns like a light check or flannel, although that may make them less versatile in your wardrobe.

A photo posted by David Lance New York (@davidlanceny) on Jun 7, 2016 at 12:01pm PDT

Why Wear Sport Coats?

Men should consider wearing a sport coat when they don’t need to wear a suit and even a blazer and slacks might be too much. Going out to a casual dinner, meeting friends for a drink, or going to a horse race might all be appropriate times for a sport coat.

Slacks can be worn with a sport coat, but you’re best leaving the pleated versions in your closet. Instead, opt for flat front pants like chinos, khakis or denim. Even lighter denim can be worn with the right sport coat.

A Note on Suit Jackets

Some men, particularly those new to the world of suits and such garments, think that a suit jacket is a fine substitute for a blazer or sport coat. While some may not be able to spot the difference, many men, and even women, will be able to.

One reason people will be able to tell that you’re wearing half a suit is that most suit jackets have notched lapels, while blazers and sport coats won’t. They’ll also be slimmer fit to the body in general, making them look a bit odd when worn with slacks or quality denim bottoms.

The last reason you should keep that suit jacket with your pants -the more you wear it, the more you’ll need to get it cleaned. Over time, that can lead to a weird mismatched look when you do want to actually wear both your jacket and your pants at the same time.

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