Gent Hints – Sport Coat Coordination

PS- Autumn 2012

Phineas Cole

To be sure, some gentlemen absolutely abhor the notion of wearing a suit, as they would sooner employ a sport coat as a viable alternative. So, when an occasion begs for a discreet level of business attire, said gentleman promptly retrieves his sport jacket of choice from the closet. Pretty simply – right? Well, not quite that simple. The sly substitution of a sport coat arrives with a curious dilemma of its own. Unlike the complete business suit, the sport coat quietly resides, draped around its wooden hanger without the devoted companionship of a matching trouser. Thus, the critical mission of expertly coordinating a pair of trousers becomes not as simple as previously imagined – that suit doesn’t look so terrible now. No worries, may we present to the audience, a quick and dirty guide to find the right pair of trousers for your sport coat.

  • A few years ago, popping one’s collar on a polo top was quite the popular trend amongst preppy circles. And now, you have probably noticed that trend has migrated to the sport coat. Well, that popped collar actually yields a subtle hint regarding the color of your trousers. The collar of your jacket is lined (well, it should be lined) with fabric that should provide a nice color contrast. Take note of this color when searching for trousers.
  • Likewise, the lining of the sport jacket itself may offer clues as to what hue your trouser should be imbued with; so open it up for dutiful inspection and match your pants accordingly.
  • And don’t forget to take a look at the buttons; they also have the tendency of being fastened in a coordinating color that can be quite suitable for your bottoms.
  • If you’re lucky, perhaps your sport coat is embellished with a colored pattern, and said colored pattern can be smartly synchronized with the color of your trousers.
  • Or, a gentleman may opt for a monochromatic presentation. For example, a navy sport coat can be paired with a lighter shade of blue. Not that adventurous, but sartorially correct nonetheless.
  • When in doubt, a solid colored pair of trousers is the best option to select. And combining two different patterns, meaning a checked sport coat and striped pants, that is a big NO. Of the two elements involved, being your jacket and pants, one should be solid and the other patterned – if you so choose to introduce pattern into the equation. This rule can be ignored if your name is Russell Westbrook.
  • Take notice of the fabric. An autumn corduroy sport coat paired with summer linen pants is just wrong. Stick with fabrics that are appropriate to each season. For example, a cotton sport jacket wisely matched with linen trousers. Or, a corduroy jacket married to a pair of fabulous flannel bottoms. Boom!
  • When coordinating a shirt with your sport coat, the biggest challenge is definitely synchronizing patterns where present. The solution is this: The size of the pattern in your shirt should significantly vary from the scale of pattern in your jacket. Example, an aggressive plaid should be tempered by an understated striped or checked shirt. And the reverse is true as well; if your jacket bears a quiet pattern, don’t be afraid to play it up with a bold (but not too bold) shirt.
  • Strictly for the dandy: A bold jacket and a bold shirt is permitted. It’s totally up to you to decide if the environment is right. My only suggestion would be vary the color between the two to facilitate individuality.
  • That being said, avoid shirt colors that offer little distinction between tones. So, if you have a navy sport coat, opt for a lighter shade of blue for a shirt. Also, if your jacket has a pattern with a smaller, secondary color; coordinating your shirt with that secondary color is an option too.
  • Keep in mind: White and blue shirts go with basically everything. And so does pink and lavender – although you won’t find many gents wearing it. If you are going for a rustic look, opt for muted hues of green, brown, or cream. Personally, I don’t think your shirt should be too intense in color, simply because it may overpower the entire presentation, even though it doesn’t take up too much real estate. I would leave the boldness to neckties, pocket squares, and of course – your jacket.
  • And when all else fails – ask your wife or girlfriend. Trust, her coordination skills just may be better than yours.

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