Blazers, Sport Jackets & Suit Jackets: What's the Difference?

You’ve often heard the phrases “blazer”, “sport jacket”, and “suit jacket” used interchangeably. This is a mistake. Not only are each of these three terms unique and distinct, but which one you choose to wear should have some bearing on your style. In this post, we’ll walk you through the differences between each of these men’s fashion items.

The Sport Jacket

The sport jacket got its name from a literal source: it really was originally intended to be a jacket suited for men’s sporting. For that reason, a sport jacket is an “outdoor” item that’s meant to be casual and comfortable, allowing for freedom of movement. You might consider it the most casual of the items on this list.

A sport jacket should be loose enough to allow for ample layering underneath, such as a casual button-down shirt. In fact, it should have enough looseness that you could comfortably layer a sweater underneath it.

What to wear with a sport jacket: Casual pants are your best match for this type of jacket. Versatile pants like these Performance Dress Khakis are a great example. Like a sport jacket, they’re designed to be used in relaxed situations with wrinkle and stain resistance to aid in their practicality.

The Blazer

The blazer is like a sport jacket in that it’s a hybrid of casual and formal. However, most would consider it a step up, toward a more formal look.

A blazer resembles a suit jacket more closely than it does a sport jacket, though it will lack the stiffer structure in the shoulder that defines a suit jacket. Think of it as a casual version of a suit jacket—and one that can be worn with a wider variety of trousers and accessories for more casual situations.

What to wear with a blazer: You can wear almost anything with a blazer thanks to its versatility, though it’s important to keep in mind that you’re still going to want to stick within “business” or “business casual” rules. That means denim, khakis, or navy/gray trousers will all be suitable. Feel free to experiment with casual colors such as our Pleated Charleston Khakis in Charleston Brick.

The Suit Jacket

The suit jacket is the most formal jacket style on the list. The only jacket that might be more formal than a suit jacket is a black-tie jacket, like a tuxedo jacket.

A suit jacket is defined by its structure. You’ll notice that it may be squarer in the shoulders to create an overall silhouette that’s designed for a full-body matching suit. You can wear button-up shirts with a suit jacket. Ties are usually a good idea as well.

What to wear with a suit jacket: Business attire, including button-up shirts and tailored trousers that match. Explore our tailored trousers collection for plenty of ideas like our classic Super 100’s Gabardine trousers.

Matching Your Trousers to Your Jacket

With casual options, you’ll be able to experiment with fresh color choices. The more formal your jacket, however, the more you’ll be expected to match your trousers with your jacket. And always remember to match the formality of your trousers with your choice in jacket.

Whatever jacket you’re wearing, there is a great pair of trousers in the Berle collection to match! Browse the collections at Berle to find the best possible accompaniment to your favorite jacket.