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What sets a sportcoat apart from an orphaned suit jacket?

harry2quinn

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This has always been an open question that I've never quite known the precise answer to (I don't think there's one answer anyway). Thought I'd start this up to figure out what characteristics set the two apart - not least to know what to ask for when I get some of each made next year. From my understanding so far there are both obvious and subtle differences between the two (with no one definition). Here are some off the top of my head - and I'd appreciate it if you folks would help me develop understanding (mine and the whole forum) by adding to it (or correct me in cases where I'm wrong). Made a couple of edits based on comments below. Definitely an odd jacket characteristic Brass buttons Elbow patch Probably an odd jacket characteristic Patch pockets Less conservative patterns - plaid, windowpane, houndstooth (to varying degrees belong here versus in the definitely category) Corduroy (number of cord suits for the challenge notwithstanding...) Unlined, maybe quarter/half-lined as well Neutral - would go well on both Vents (I'm thinking single vents are more common on SCs and dual on suits, but I'll leave this here for now) Ticket pocket 3-roll-2 Roped shoulders Probably a suit characteristic Pinstripes, chalkstripes, other non-solid conservative patterns Jetted pockets Peak lapel/shawl lapel (I know this in theory applies more to black tie, but when was the last time you saw an odd jacket with a non-notch lapel?) Buttons match the fabric Definitely an orphaned suit jacket
 

Parker

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Odd jackets are usually made of more sporty, sturdy or casual fabrics. Some even have features like patch pockets, loud patterns or even, ahem, elbow patches. Things that put "sport" in the term "sport coat." Metal or special buttons are usually just for blazers. Shawl lapels can be for odd jackets when they are dinner jackets. Lining, button format, vents, and lapels make no difference.
 

Gus

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Even though my avitar has peeked lapels I think it is an excellent example of a modern day SC at its very best.
 

SpooPoker

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Originally Posted by harry2quinn
Definitely an orphaned suit jacket
Peak lapel/shawl lapel (I know this in theory applies more to black tie, but when was the last time you saw an odd jacket with a non-notch lapel?)



 

SpooPoker

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Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy
Even though my avitar has peeked lapels I think it is an excellent example of a modern day SC at its very best.

BTW - I love the SC in your avatar. Do you know who its by?
 

Nautilus

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Also

Button color doesn't match fabric color = more likely an odd jacket

Button color matches fabric color = more likely suit jacket


Of course there are many exceptions to this. No rule is perfect. Look at the combinations of characteristics and you will be able to see which category a jacket should fall under.
 

Douglas

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Originally Posted by SpooPoker


I love this, btw. I'm sporting kind of a half-chub.
 

Kent Wang

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Yeah me too. Most excellent.

So under this rationale is it possible to have a suit in which the jacket is wearable by itself as a sportcoat? I certainly think Spoo's jacket would work as a suit.
 

k4lnamja

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Originally Posted by SpooPoker



wow your second outfit is top notch!

i'm getting inspired
 

SuitMyself

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Fabrics used for sportcoats usually feature a larger scale pattern. If you're unsure, why not just go look in a store? If there are no pants hanging with the jacket on the same hanger, then it's a sportcoat.
 

harry2quinn

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Originally Posted by Parker
Metal or special buttons are usually just for blazers.
Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy
Even though my avitar has peeked lapels I think it is an excellent example of a modern day SC at its very best.
Edited to reflect your points.
Originally Posted by Nautilus
Also Button color doesn't match fabric color = more likely an odd jacket Button color matches fabric color = more likely suit jacket Of course there are many exceptions to this. No rule is perfect. Look at the combinations of characteristics and you will be able to see which category a jacket should fall under.
Certainly - that's what I'm categorizing here.
Originally Posted by SpooPoker
Glad I could help you out there, Doug.

+1
Originally Posted by Kent Wang
Yeah me too. Most excellent. So under this rationale is it possible to have a suit in which the jacket is wearable by itself as a sportcoat? I certainly think Spoo's jacket would work as a suit.
Agreed - I think if a suit has one or two of the 'likely SC' characteristics, it can certainly double - namely an unusual pattern or fabric, patch pockets, etc. I'm certainly looking forward to getting a brown plaid pattern fabric made into
Originally Posted by SuitMyself
Fabrics used for sportcoats usually feature a larger scale pattern. If you're unsure, why not just go look in a store? If there are no pants hanging with the jacket on the same hanger, then it's a sportcoat.
Not sure what you're going for here. Houndstooth is a 'smaller' pattern, but it certainly is closer to an SC pattern than a suit. If you mean larger = louder, I agree. Also, it's not like I'm new to this and need to go ask people at Saks about sportcoats (not that they really know much anyway)... I'm trying to nail down the specific points. Going to a store is also not the best rule of thumb because 'fashion' throws all conventions out the window. And correlation doesn't mean causation - going to a store offers the former, and this thread offers a bit of both.
 

stant62

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I think 3/2 roll is neutral - I favor that buttoning position on my suits and this has been the de facto for the American sack suit.
 

ichigoichie

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I must say, I've just recently found this site. Browsing for only a few days and the threads I saw were so interesting I decided to join instead of just being a lurker. I honestly can't say which one of Spoo's outfits I like better. For now I will say that I like the first the most. As a beginner question, sorry to be the one to ask the dumb questions but as far as SC's go with body style, is there certain styles that shorter people (read: 5'7") should stay away from? I have the issue that I have a pretty wide chest for my height but big thighs as well. I hope it's not too far off topic and appreciate any responses. Also interested in how to tell the difference between an orphaned suit jacket vs. an SC as I have recently begun the seemingly life-long hunt for better clothes.

Spoo,

If you don't mind, who makes the SC in your first pic?
 

Gus

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Originally Posted by SpooPoker
BTW - I love the SC in your avatar. Do you know who its by?

I don't know who made it but I am considering something similar for my next commission.
 

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