Originally Posted by thinman
My first 2 sportcoats were a navy blazer and a black/white herringbone. While I think herringbone is probably just as distinctive as a plaid, it is easier to coordinate and probably a better second purchase. But I suggest that if you love the jacket pictured, buy it now before it gets away. Then save your pennies for something else. My sartorial regrets all involve purchase I didn't make.
As an alternative to herringbone, I would suggest a Donegal tweed in predominantly brown or gray. It's basically a solid, but the flecks of color make it extremely versatile and easy to coordinate. Yet another possibility is a brown corduroy jacket. I bought one last year and I'm astonished by how often I wear it during Fall, Winter, and even Spring.
I am with Thinman. I used to wear sportcoats to go out to dinner etc, but find that they actually serve better as weekend and afternoon wear. They are great for just bumping around. The further you get from suity, the better. That being said, I am a blue blazer kind of guy. When I travel, I generally pack a blue blazer and a grey suit. They are enough to get me through a lot of days. If need be, I will just add another grey suit. Tweeds are nice on the heavier and rougher side. I shy away from the lightweight ones because they look a little fake. Herringbone is always a great option, as is windowpane.