How Long Should a Sport Coat Be?

by Stacey Howell

A sport coat can help you look put together and fashion-forward when dressing for casual situations, but a poorly tailored sport coat never looks impressive. Sport coats, not to be confused with blazers, come in a variety of materials and can be purchased at varying price points depending on the quality of materials.

Definition

A sport coat is a type of jacket and can be double or single breasted. You must purchase sport coats separately from trousers, as they should not be part of a suit. Unlike suit jackets, sport coats come in a variety of patterns and textured fabrics. They sometimes have looser armholes for more comfort and ease of movement. While sport jackets can look impressive as casual wear, they should not be worn in formal situations.

Sport Coat vs. Blazer

Many people mistake sport coats for blazers. While sport coats and blazers have a similar fit and fall at the same length, sport coats differ from blazers in many subtle ways. Blazers are solid colored and usually come in blue, black, camel and other dark shades. Blazers often have brass buttons and resemble suit jackets except for their patch pockets. Blazers may or may not have pocket flaps.

Sport coats evolved from robust coats worn for hunting. They have a rustic, earthly look and come in varying materials such as tweed or wool. Sport coats have pockets with flaps.

Tailoring

You should have a sport coat tailored to ensure a proper fit. The shoulders of the jacket should be proportional to your body. The jacket should cover the seat of the pants without making your legs look shorter than your torso.

The top button of a two-button jacket or the middle button of a three-button jacket should not fall below your navel. Your knuckles should be even with the bottom of the jacket, and the sleeves should show approximately a quarter- to half-inch of the shirt cuff.

How to Measure Length

To determine the length of a sport coat, measure from the base of the neck to the thumbnail. To determine the proper length for sleeves, measure from the edge of the shoulder to thumb knuckle and subtract one to one-and-a-half inches.

Cost

You can purchase a sport coat for a range of prices, depending on the quality of the fabric, lining and buttons. Good tailoring can significantly improve the appearance of a less expensive sport coat.

Photo Credits

  • Kris Robertson/Demand Media

About the Author

Stacey Howell has a bachelor's degree in English and media studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She currently works as a writer in New York City, and has covered fashion for various blogs and publications, including "BARE" and "Twenty6 Magazine."