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What's the Difference Between a Blazer, a Sportcoat, and a Suit Jacket?

Posted by Dan Fox on

To any man just getting their feet wet in the world of menswear, a blazer, sport coat, and suit jacket look extremely alike. You may be thinking they can be used interchangeably without anyone noticing, and it’s likely you haven’t been told otherwise.

Minor details make a world of difference for any piece in menswear — none more than when choosing between a sportcoat, blazer, and suit jacket. Fortunately, this guide on all three of these classic staples will help you identify their differences and when you’re best off wearing each piece.


The first blazers were created for the Lady Margaret Boat Club members and made in bright hues of green, yellow, and red. Blazers were historically known as a membership signal, dating back to the British Royal Navy’s 19th Century uniforms.

The best way to identify a blazer is by its solid color and metal buttons. In today’s world, you’re more likely to find a black or navy blazer, with the latter considered to be a staple in every man’s wardrobe. Its shiny metal or gold buttons make blazers the perfect option to stand out in informal and black tie events or for more marine environments.


Sportcoats or sports jackets were initially used as a casual option for various outdoor sports activities. Today, sportcoats work well for looking stylish and comfortable in a relaxed environment and — unlike blazers — come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Sportcoats come in houndstooth, striped, or checkered patterns and are meant to be worn loosely to aid in comfort and style. The fabric of your sportcoat will usually be a bit rugged to emphasize the casual look and can be combined with a wide variety of items, ranging from dress shirts to a pair of jeans.

Today’s sportcoats are even more casual and many variations for the warmer months are more similar in design and texture to shirts than coats. Sportcoats are also characterized by their pocket designs, with flapped pockets and patch pockets being the most common.

Suit Jackets

Suit jackets are the most formal option, usually don’t come with extra accessories, and are much more structured than other coats, jackets, and blazers. They are made side-by-side with matching pants and a pair of pants made from the same material as the jacket. Suit jackets are occasionally patterned, but you’re better off sticking with common colors like black, navy blue, and charcoal gray, unless you decide to opt for a custom suit.

Find the Right Jacket for Your Outfit

In today’s world, it’s common to mix and match different items, and that rings true for each of these jackets. But, men’s fashion is a delicate place, and minor tweaks in color, design, and even fit can take you from a fashion revelation to a menswear disgrace.

Commonwealth Proper specializes in perfecting the look of a gentleman. Whether you have your eyes on a suit jacket, sportcoat, or a blazer, you can be sure we have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve your desired style. Philadelphia residents can visit us today or book an appointment and be outfitted with custom men’s bespoke suits and made-to-order sportswear to help you take over the city.

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