Bob Bayersdorfer, owner of The Fashion Post, Louisville’s classic menswear retailer, is my touchstone of menswear advice. Every time I visit him, he educates me about all the details and intricacy of men’s clothes and tailoring. Recently, my husband was complaining about his sport coats, which launched us into a discussion about how you should wear and how you should purchase a sport coat. I asked Bob for his advice on why every man needs a sport coat or two (other than a navy blazer) in his closet.
The long and the short of it is that sport coats, unlike suits, are almost always seasonal; they get lighter and brighter in the spring (think Derby, graduation and summer weddings) and they get heavier and darker in the fall (fall racing, Thanksgiving).
So, while a navy blazer is pretty much year-round and suitable for many occasions, it also makes your man an improbable target in a crowd, since there are so many of them being worn. Unless he’s 6’6”, just try to find him in the beer line.
A seasonal sport coat offers a unique way to express yourself, while showing a remarkable sense of style and respect for the occasion. And, every sport coat needn’t look like a “Derby” coat. There are plenty of subtle checks and plaids that work well with a polo or sport shirt and are ideal for wearing to the office or an evening out, maybe even with jeans.
A sport coat needn’t be married to a tie anymore. Imagine heading to the office on a brisk November morning with a sport coat instead of a fleece or light jacket. Tie or not, a man will look much more put together, not to mention more professional, if for nothing more than going in and out of the building.
Sport coats, from our perspective at The Fashion Post, can be thrown into three categories: sportswear, event and investment.
A sportswear piece is just that, and usually found in the sportswear department. This item tends to be a little trendier, maybe a little trimmer and lends itself almost exclusively to linen or jeans and always without a tie. This garment incorporates less construction (maybe with open patch pockets), comes in less traditional fabrics like linen or velvet, and is garment washed. Unless purchased from the upscale designer department, these coats should be less pricey and might only stay in your closet for a season or two. (Editors note: They do not sell “sportswear” sport coats at The Fashion Post).
An event coat is your classic Derby or fall “Day at the Races” coat. Bold in pattern and rich in color, these coats are fun and lend themselves to colorful accessories like bow ties and pocket squares. This is the coat a lot of fellas associate with all sport coats and because of their limited use (outside of an event), they tend to be lumped into the general reason why some men shun all but a navy blazer. Be a little more colorful with this sport coat. A general rule of thumb is that you should not be able to wear this coat every week because it is that memorable.
Then there’s the coat we prefer at The Fashion Post, the investment coat. This is his go-to seasonal coat for business, casual or dressier social events. It should be timelessly tailored (two-button, center or side vent) and subtly colored with a check or small plaid/pattern. This is a coat that (with a few limits) should be easy to wear and equally simple to find things that go with it. If properly maintained, the investment coat should offer years of service. The rule of thumb with an investment coat is that you could wear it two or three times a week, with different pants and shirts, and nobody would notice that you are wearing the same one.
Construction and tailoring are critical to any garment and should not be overlooked, particularly in the investment coat. Expert, in-house, alterations are included at no additional charge at better stores (including The Fashion Post). Beware of less experienced fitters and retailers who ship garments to massive out-of-town alterations factories (bet you didn’t know some do that).
Thanks to Stanley and Bob Bayersdorfer from The Fashion Post. Send your man their way to get the perfect sport coat, that is perfectly fitted and appropriate. The Fashion Post is located in the Glenview Pointe Shopping Center, near McAllister’s and Walgreen’s at 2420 Lime Kiln Lane. Visit their website here: www.thefashionpost.com