View Full Version : Fashion Illiterate Male w/Question

August 12th, 2004, 10:15 PM
I say fashion illiterate because I simply don't understand some of the terminology. Much like an illiterate person can still tell a good story, I have been told I am a snappy dresser (mostly by Mom and DW, and they wouldn't be biased, would they?), but I just don't get the lingo.

So anyway... My question: What is the difference between a sport coat/suit coat/blazer?

I have a suit that the jacket fits me fine, but the pants seem to have shrunk in the waist ( :) ) over the last few years. If I wear that jacket with a different pair of slacks, does it become a sports coat? Or is there some difference in the cut?

Incidentally, what is the going opinion on a coat/jacket/blazer of one color and slacks of another color? For some recent 'formal' dinners, I have been forced to wear black slacks with my navy blue jacket due to short notice. It never felt right to me. Just wondering what some other people thought?

Arizona Cruz Chic
August 12th, 2004, 10:27 PM
hmmmm....I have the same faulty clothing, shrinking waistline! :D LOL

I don't think it matters if the jackets does not match the slacks....unless ones bright purple plaid and the other orange polka dots :eek:

I really don't know the differnce between a suit coat/sport coat /blazer.

Either way, a suit coat with slacks or sport coat with slacks you'll be fine.


August 12th, 2004, 11:13 PM
Welcome to my world fellas.

I don't know alot about fashion either. I can tell you that a suit jacket is a little different cut than a sport coat. A sport coat and a blazer are the same I think. There are a few of the newer more casual suits that you can use the jacket as a stand alone, but I'm not a big fan. The best way I can tell a "sport coat" from a suit coat is the color. Suits are usually darker, a little more formal and may have pinstripes etc.

As for matching the colors, I would not go with the same color pants and jacket (that's what suits are for). Try to find a sport coat that compliments the pants then use the shirt and tie to accentuate or make it stand out. I could show this easier than I can describe it.

Don't worry, the ladies here will get you straight.

August 12th, 2004, 11:21 PM
I think a blazer usually has metal buttons, brass, gold, silver, etc., and a sportcoat has matching buttons. I agree a suitcoat is more formal looking with a slightly different cut, but if it's solid it can probably pass as a sportcoat. DS just bought one of the new suits-navy with extra pair of gray slacks. It came with brass buttons to turn it into a blazer. Very clever for young men or those who don't wear suits often. PLEASE don't wear those black slacks with the navy jacket again! Trust your instinct, fellow. Buy a pair of gray slacks--dressier than khaki and very nice with navy.

August 12th, 2004, 11:26 PM
On many of my cruises, I've noticed that the men tend to bring a navy blazer/sport coat and pair that with light gray or white slacks. Navy really seems to be the sport coat color of choice because it can be paired with quite a few different colors of slacks like khaki, gray, black and white/off white. Sport coats also are cut differently from suit jackets and they tend to be mostly two button closures, not double breasted and are made from fabrics that aren't as dressy as those for suits.

August 12th, 2004, 11:33 PM
From one fashion illiterate to another, a sport coat and blazer are basically the same. The dictionary goes with a blazer beinga sports jacket for men or women, sometimes in a bright color or pattern

A suit is the same fabric top and bottom.

As stated, go with the Navy blue blazer and grey slacks. Shine your shoes and your good to go. :)

August 13th, 2004, 12:46 AM

A sportcoat and a blazer are the same thing.

A suit jacket has a different cut than a separate blazer. Generally, a suit jacket is only worn with it's matching trousers. However, that rule has changed a bit and fashion forward men might wear their suit jackets over denim, leather or suede. However, you have to be a bit of a fashion maven to pull off this look with some savvy. For most men, it's not easy to achieve and I'd skip it.
If the pants of your suit no longer fit, ask your tailor if there's room to let out the waist. If not, then your jacket is probably not going to turn into a sports coat. It's like saying evening shoes become daytime casual when you no longer want to wear them in a dressy situation. It just doesn't work.

No, please don't wear a navy blue jacket with black pants - it's just not enough contrast and comes off looking mismatched. A navy jacket is best with tan, grey (light or dark), olive or white pants or you can wear it with a patterened pant if the navy's match (like a navy/grey tweed or tiny paid).

August 13th, 2004, 07:30 AM
For men, the term blazer typically refers to a specific kind of sportscoat. Typically, it's considered to be a "smarter" choice, but no more or less formal than other sportscoats.

August 13th, 2004, 07:37 AM
I don't know if I am any more literate then you but I always thought a suit coat had slacks that matched-that is what makes it a suit when there are 2 or more matching pieces-whether it is men's or women's clothes.

A blazer and sport coat are pretty much the same-though you think of a blazer usually being in something that is a wardrobe basic like navy or grey- where a "sport coat" can be a different color-maybe not the "usual" ofcourse that is just in my thinking-not so sure if that is the correct thinking or just me.

I know I often suggest to men who don't want to put the bucks out for a suit that they invest in something like a navy blazer and charcoal grey slacks. That always looks nice and can be more affordable and there will always be occasions to wear them again. Ofcourse that is just my opinion and as I said I don't know If I am really " fashion literate" but I always think that looks nice.

August 13th, 2004, 10:51 AM
Thanks for all the help, folks. I knew that the black slacks w/ the navy jacket didn't feel right. Luckily, both nights I had to wear them were at business conventions which consisted almost exclusively of other fashion illiterate men. Still, I wasn't comfortable, so I should have known better.

For the upcoming cruise I recently purchased a dark grey/green (depends on the light) jacket to wear with either a darkish khaki colored pair of dress slacks or an olive green pair of slacks. This description isn't doing it justice, I think, but I did bring the slacks with me when I went to purchase the jacket, and after getting the opinions of two different salespeople and several lady customers, I am assured they will match. Hey, I gotta get help wherever I can get it!

Thanks again!

August 13th, 2004, 11:38 AM
As I have always understood the differences:

A suit coat is the jacket that comes w/ a matching pair of pants. It's one outfit & you buy them together.

A blazer is like a blue or black jacket, usually w/ gold buttons, very classic.

A sports coat is the term for a men's jacket that is not the other two, like something in tweed w/ or w/o elbow patches. As someone else said, a blazer is a name for a specific type of sports coat.

August 13th, 2004, 01:37 PM
Sounds nice, Dannzzigg.

August 14th, 2004, 08:08 AM
trisht1c - My hubby loves this store near our home where you can buy the suit separately. He takes a larger size pants then usually the jacket that comes in a suit. It is suit pieces though-you are just allowed to buy them separate for a better fit. The pants are still unhemmed as usual. They always have a seamstress come and pin where the pants should be hemmed and she often also takes in the pants at the waist for a better fit. Hubby has a big butt compared to most men so the waist is always too big for the butt to fit. Anyway it is a small privately owned store but hubby really loves them for buying suits. He is always happier with his suits from there.

To the original post-I hope your slacks are still in a dress fabric and not a khaki like or cheeno type material. One cruise my foolish hubby instead of taking his nice charcoal grey slacks took another pair which was material like khaki cheenos though they were dark grey. He thought he was making room in his suitcase as he could wear the pants on casual night. and this was on a Princess ship too-I made him wear his suit twice as there was no way I would let him wear those pants on formal night. That was a 7 day cruise so there were 2 formal nights so he had brought 2 seperate outfits. Now because of my suggestion he brings one suit but 2 diffferent ties and ofcourse 2 dress shirts. He can still cut back on his packing and still looks decent.

August 14th, 2004, 03:36 PM

If I were a fashion-challenged male, I would have a black SUIT, black slip on dress shoes, black dress belt, black dress socks, 1 white long-sleeved dress shirt, 1 blue long-sleeved dress shirt and 2 gorgeous silk ties to wear on all formal nights. If the shirts have French cuffs, even more formal with the cuff links.

The jacket and slacks you have purchased sound great, but it's not formal. If the jacket and slacks are not identical (unless it's a white tux coat w/black tux slacks) it's not formal.

Sports coats/blazers are cut more fully, not as tapered as a suit jacket. A navy blazer with dress khakis, etc. looks fabulous, but, it's still not "formal". Male formal is two things: a dark suit or a tux.

Please, never black slacks w/navy blazer or vice versa. Just doesn't work.

Good luck. You'll probably be the best dressed guy on your cruise :)!

August 23rd, 2004, 03:27 PM
Problem solved!

I just rented tuxes for my FIL and myself through Carnival, along with the silver vest (never liked the look of cummerbuns). The other outfits will keep me dressed well for the non-formal nights.

We figured 'what the heck... if we're going to do this, let's go all the way'

So thanks, everyone for the advice!

August 24th, 2004, 07:39 AM

Enjoy the cruise! DW and I like dressing for formal night to the point that I now have my own tux.

Let's see a photo posted when you get back :D