This article appears in the August 2015 issue of Let Them Eat Cake
Which is the better option when looking to dress to impress at an upcoming wedding or event, the sports coat or the suit jacket? The answer has changed from generation to generation and depends on the nature of the event you are attending.
What is a men’s suit jacket? The silhouette has been seen for decades; simply put, long, slim pants with a matching well-fitted jacket. A suit jacket and its matching pants are one of the great (fashion) love stories of our time. They are literally made for each other and each look off kilter when worn separately.
Full suits are appropriate for most weddings. Unless a formal tuxedo is required or other attire is specified, you can’t go wrong with an appropriately tailored suit. Think of the season when deciding on color. If it is an outdoor wedding, unless in the evening, a dark suit may look misplaced and in the New Orleans summer will be hot.
Need to know:
-Meant to be the dressiest of menswear, behind a formal tuxedo of course, a suit jacket is made from finer, lighter fabric making it easier to go from day to nighttime wear.
-Note: the nicer the material – be it cashmere or silk – the more expensive the suit becomes.
Commonly, suits are made from wool or a wool blend, cotton or even linen. Linen or cotton seersucker suits are a staple in Southern cities like New Orleans during the spring and summer months.
-Tailoring is key when it comes to rocking a suit. Depending on how it is cut, a suit can make a man’s silhouette go from adding weight and compressing the frame to slimming and elongating. It is important to think about the tailoring or in-house tailor when picking the right store and the right suit. Stores such as Perlis New Orleans have on site tailoring and Tuxedos To Geaux in Metairie offers free tailoring for the life of your suit.
-Suit jackets are designed one of three ways: two button single-breasted, notched lapel with flap pockets; three button single-breasted, notched lapel with flap pockets; and six button double-breasted shawl lapel with jetted pockets.
If a suit jacket is less your speed or the wedding or event has specified a more casual approach, try for a men’s sports coat. What is a men’s sport coat? Just as its name suggests, a sports coat is a sportier option than a suit jacket. The sport coat monopolizes the middle ground left by a suit jacket while still wanting to look presentable. Unlike the suit jacket, the independence of the jacket leaves a wide range of outfits to prepare the wearer for myriad situations. More options are available when it comes to fabrics, colors and details that can go into a sports coat. Like the suit jacket, the sports coat offers a cut that is flattering to the body and frames the face.
Fabric options: Navy wool, camel hair, madras, corduroy, plaid, houndstooth and so forth.
Finishings (buttons): Low-key horn, brass, nickel and the occasional plastic button.
Key: Color and top it off with a pocket square
Price: Because of the unlimited possibilities when it comes to fabric, color and cut, men’s sport coats can be priced in a wide range across the board – as little as $100 to as much as $1,000.
When deciding between a suit or sports coat, many factors come into play. Remember to always check for the dress code, dress for the season and keep in mind that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.