(Editor’s note: Looking for Sportin’ In The Heat, part I? Here you go.)
Without a doubt, a khaki sport coat is the second most versatile jacket you could possibly own. Second only to a navy version, of course.
This is especially true in the warmer months, when you may want to wear lighter colors.
Navy’s great and all (and it’s pretty much always appropriate), but sometimes you just have to switch it up.
By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what kind of jacket (or suit) to look for, where to find one, when to wear it, how to wear it, and what to wear it with.
Pretty straight-forward, right?
Here we go!
“Should I get a suit, or just a sport coat?”
That’s a good question. It totally depends on you and your needs. If you wear suits a majority of the week, have a few summer shindigs (parties, weddings, etc.) to attend, or just like the idea of owning a summer-appropriate suit, I’d pick up the suit.
That way, you’ll have it at your disposal when needed, and you can always break it up and wear them as separates.
If you don’t wear suits too often, don’t see yourself needing one in the near future, or are on a budget, just pick up a sport jacket.
“What kind of fabric is best?”
Typically, you’ll find khaki suits / sport jackets in a cotton or linen fabric. The key to a “cooler” experience, however, is to make sure the jacket is half-lined (lining half way down the back, fully lined in front panels), quarter-lined, or unlined.
Having a fully-lined cotton or linen jacket somewhat defeats the purpose. You want these layers to feel light and airy, but lining adds heft (especially if a jacket is lined with the same material) and can trap heat. If you don’t like the lightness of unlined, go with a half-lined or quarter-lined version. You’ll thank me later.
(If you’re interested in learning more about unlined vs. lined jackets, check out my friend Antonio’s video here)
“When can I wear my khaki sport coat?”
This jacket is more appropriate for daytime wear, or generally casual situations. Realistically though, you can take it from daytime to evening time (assuming you’re not going to a formal black tie event) and no one will bat an eye.
“Where do I find a khaki sport coat?”
Here’s what I do when I’m casually browsing for a potential new _____________ (fill in the blank: “Khaki sport coat”, “navy suit”, “striped socks”, etc.), I use a site called shopstyle.com. You can search for anything, and ShopStyle will show you numerous options across different brands and price points.
From there, you can filter down by brand, price, color, size, etc. all on the left side of your browser window.
Pretty nifty, right?
Specific ones I recommend:
Uniqlo’s Linen Cotton Jacket First mentioned it here, and also happens to be the one I used in my examples below. They come in many colors, fit well, need minimal alterations (assuming you’re more or less a normal shape), and is unlined… perfect for summer.
Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Fit Sport Coat A more pricey, yet classic option. If you go with Brooks Brothers, you’re guaranteed to have this one for quite a while (especially if you take care of it.) The Fitzgerald Fit is BB’s version of a more modern cut (narrower lapels, higher armholes) without skewing too trendy.
“What do I wear with my khaki suit or sport coat?”
Easy! Khaki is sort of like white or navy, it goes with pretty much everything.
The key word here is CONTRAST. The last thing I want you to do is wear a khaki sport coat with khaki pants and a khaki hat and khaki-colored shoes… and socks… and underwear. Terrible.
Take note: The one thing I advise against is pairing it with another khaki. Even if you think you found a perfect match for your sport coat (“Oh hey! Now I have a suit!”), you most likely did not. Matching two things that weren’t made together (unlike an actual suit) is tough to do.
Anyway, here are four examples to get you started.
Khaki suit (the formal option)
If you’re attending a formal occasion, go with the suit option, and keep it simple. Light blue shirt, solid navy knit tie, brown wingtips. Super crisp and fresh.
I don’t cosign for black and white very often, but you could also do a white dress shirt, solid black knit tie, and black lace-ups, and if I saw you, I would give you a high five.
Casual option one
Since khaki is neutral, you want to bump up the contrast in your outfit. Dark denim would look great on the bottom. The light pink Oxford cloth button down complements the dark denim as well as the neutral khaki, and the olive desert boots look good with everything individually, as well as the outfit as a whole.
Casual option two
White denim also contrasts with the neutral khaki here, but instead of going dark (like with the dark denim) you’re doing the complete opposite. The indigo chambray looks great with the white denim (if you took off the jacket), but also looks good underneath the jacket. The grey driving shoes have a nice contrasting pop of color with the natural leather tassels, and look good against the white denim.
Casual option three
The most “daring” outfit of the bunch, kinda. Really, it’s just the bright chinos, but other than that, the outfit is quite muted… and this works out great, because the brightness of the chino plus the muted colors of everything else balances out.
That’s another thing to remember: When it comes to major elements in your outfit, one bright pop of color, max.
That’s all I have for you today. Hopefully that gives you a bit more confidence if you were looking to add a khaki suit or sport jacket to your summer arsenal.
Questions, concerns, compliments? Would love to hear it in the comments below.