What is the difference between a suit jacket and a sports coat?

sport coat
by ericarhiannon

Question by Kevin G: What is the difference between a suit jacket and a sports coat?
I have an interview that’s “business casual”. I’ve been advised to go with slacks, button down shirt, no tie, and a sport coat. I went shopping for a sport coat, and they’re either fairly crappy or $ 500+. I’m sure there’s something in the middle I just haven’t found yet.

However, I can’t tell the difference between that and the jacket portion of a suit. I have two nice, fairly neutral color suits. Can I just wear the coat with a different pair of pants to imply the casual portion of business casual?

Ironically, they make it business casual so the interviewee feels more comfortable. A suit would just be a whole lot easier. Thanks.

If, by the way, they are different, please suggest some places to look and a general price range.

Best answer:

Answer by Maggie LeMasters
A suit coat usually does not look like a sport jacket even with a different pair of pants because of the tailoring and the material.

If it’s winter, try a tweed sports jacket and if it’s summer a linen one. It could be nubbly with some colors, or just plain woven–maybe a light beige or oyster color.

Conversely, you could ask them if they’d mind if you just wore a suit. That you feel more comfortable that way. If it’s just for you they shouldn’t mind. If it’s sort of the office image then you’d better go for the jacket.

They are quite versatile and good ones are hard to find. But I would think you should be able to find one for $ 250 or so.

I got my husband a Harris Tweed jacket in Scotland and that is as classic a sports look as you can get. If you know your size you might order over the internet.

I’m still looking for a nice linen one for him. Maybe I should get on the internet for that, too.

Good luck.

I agree that a lot of jackets and suits out there anymore don’t look like much.

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Okay, I personally think they are pretty similar. The only differences–sports jackets have a center vent, or opening in the back of the jacket. Suit jackets can have either one center vent, side vents, or no vents. Blazers usually have side vents. Blazers have gold (or silver, I think) buttons–kinda blingy. Sports jackets and suits have buttons that match the top. Sports jackets often (but not always) come in a bit different colour or style–suit jackets match the bottoms. Sports jackets cannot be double breasted, but blazers and suit jackets can be single or double breasted.

Whew. So I think really, for an interview, you’re OK with your suit jacket top paired off nicely with a pair of pants in a different colour.

I know this sounds pretty cheesy, but did you ever try a thrift store for a sports jacket? For a lot of people, suits are not every day things–you know, you buy them for a nice occasion, wear them once or twice, and then you gain weight and can’t wear it ever again so you give it away. I go to the Goodwill, and find lots of very nice, “special occasion” clothing there in practically new condition for pretty cheap. It’s not going to be perfectly tailored, but it might come pretty close to what you need. Or you could check a department stores–There is a chain department store called Boscovs in my area, and you can sometimes get amazing deals there for very nice clothing. Good luck on your interview!

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