Live Action Getup: The Sportcoat as Casual Outerwear

These days, sportcoats act more as ornaments to create a dressy appearance, but they’re still coats. There’s no reason you can’t use it functionally too. After all, you paid for the damn thing, you might as well as get some use out of it.

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I can hear it now: “But Andrew, actually sportcoats ARE casual jackets. Did you know they were originally made for hunters in the UK?” Yep, that's true, and it's pretty crazy to think that what was essentially the Real Tree Camo of the day is now considered appropriate for a first date. BUT, let's be real. Sportcoats in today's culture are dressy. They're used as a tool to make a statement about the occasion or venue that you're showing up for.

Having said that, I ask you this: Isn't a herringbone sportcoat really just a shorter walker coat? The material is similar, the lapels are the same. The waist suppression is the same.

So if you're a guy on a budget, don't waste a couple hundred dollars buying a sportcoat and then only wear it twice per year when you have a wedding rehearsal dinner to attend. Get some use out of it! Throw it on over a sweatshirt and pair it with dark denim. It'll keep you warm on your journey and you can take it off when you arrive, just as you would any other coat. I would add the caveat that this works specifically with a tweed-like sportcoat like the one I'm wearing. A traditional blue-and-gold-button blazer doesn't work the same.

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Sportcoat (similar): J.Crew Factory, $114 / Sweatshirt (similar): Old Navy, $24 / Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / OCBD shirt: Amazon, $18 / Jeans: DSLTD, $75 / Briefcase: Daniel's, $149

I really like my President boots from Thursday Boots and I find myself wearing them all the time. They're sleek and minimal, skipping the bulk and chunk of other heritage boot styles, making them complementary to everything you wear it with. Dress them up with wool trousers, or rock them with jeans and a henley. You'd be hard-pressed to find a full grain leather boot, Goodyear welt construction, and glove leather lining that doesn't require a break-in under $300.

Most briefcases suffer from one of two problems: They either look like they're housing the nuclear codes or you feel silly carrying it anywhere that isn't a boardroom. Similar to the boots, this briefcase from Daniel's NYC has a design that looks appropriate in a coffeeshop or walking into a client meeting with some higher-ups.

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Sportcoat (similar): J.Crew Factory, $114 / Sweatshirt (similar): Old Navy, $24 / Boots: Thursday Boots, $199 / OCBD shirt: Amazon, $18 / Jeans: DSLTD, $75 / Briefcase: Daniel's, $149

Do you like this look? Please share it!

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

30 Comments

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Ethan Berry

    I leap for joy every time I see a Primer Getup email notification. I’ve never signed in to make post a comment, but I just really want to let you know how much these are appreciated. I just decided I want to start dressing better this year and I’ve learned pretty much everything from this site. Thank you!

    As for this specific Getup, I love it! Those colors are just eye candy. I’ve been wanting a sports coat for a while now but I don’t really have any reason to wear one. Seeing now how cool they can look in casual situations, well, I’m more than intrigued in picking up a relatively inexpensive one. Also, I’m totally picking up that sweatshirt. It calls my name and I know not why.

    • Reply December 19, 2017

      Andrew

      Wow! Thank you Ethan for such an amazing comment, you just made my day! 🙂 So happy to hear Primer has been so helpful! 🙂

    • Reply December 20, 2017

      saint_nick

      The sweatshirt is out of stock – hopefully you were able to snag one!

    • Reply December 22, 2017

      Andrew

      I have to echo Ethan’s post. I can’t believe how poorly I dressed until I found Primer AND how much money I wasted.

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Milind Patel

    I second Ethan Berry’s comment. You guys have great useful content on all areas of life. Getup feature is inspirational and has helped me elevate my style. Keep up the great work. Happy Holidays!!

    • Reply December 19, 2017

      Andrew

      Thank you Milind! 🤗 Happy holidays to you too!

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Zac Silk

    What a great look. I’ve got a navy textured blazer, but I’ve never thought of pairing it with a sweatshirt.

    I normamly pair it with an Oxford shirt and jeans or chinos, but I’ll have to give this specific getup a go. Seems perfect for a smart casual day at university.

    A word of the briefcase, I’ve got one from Baccini that’s holding up great, but the Daniels one looks great and I’ll defiantly be giving it a look.

    • Reply December 19, 2017

      Andrew

      Glad the Baccini is working for you! I’m about to feature it again!

      • Reply December 20, 2017

        Zac Silk

        I’m glad your still using it and getting your money’s worth! This is a great getup getup, It’s lucky that herringbone soortcoats are everywhere now, so I’ll ill definitely be trying the look in the new year.

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    TJ

    I’ve wearing sport coats & blazers, especially in the fall. They’re useful at outerwear here in south Texas, where it doesn’t get that cold. I wish they weren’t seen as dressy, so people wouldn’t think I’m so dressed up when I’m wearing one, but I guess it’s better to be seen as he dressy guy than the slob.

    • Reply December 19, 2017

      Andrew

      Do people ask you why you’re dressed up or how do you know they’re thinking that?

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Keyvan

    Lol You really like that grey sweater, Andrew. To be honest, your frequency of use has made me appreciate it and realize its versatility a little more.

    • Reply December 19, 2017

      Andrew

      Haha! Do I?? I just checked, I don’t think it’s been even in a Getup in over a year! 😜 Now you have me self conscious, because I have another I want to use it for…

    • Reply December 22, 2017

      Cormac

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Jeff Smith

    Love this Getup! Andrew, thanks for what you do man. I have to say, probably 75% of my recent wardrobe are pieces (or variations thereof) that have been featured here. Can’t wait for the next one!

    • Reply December 20, 2017

      Andrew

      That’s so awesome! You’re very welcome Jeff!

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Adam Kappel

    Yeah, just send me all of this. ALL OF THIS.

    Solid getup. Keep it up!

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    rogun

    I really love how those Thursday boots look, but they seem to have a lot of unsatisfied customers. I know you’re a fan Andrew, but have you had any problems with yours?

    • Reply December 19, 2017

      Andrew

      No none at all, I’m actually my suede ones right now. My only complaint is I have to double knot them but that’s not a big deal. Definitely solid for the price.

      • Reply December 27, 2017

        rogun

        The double knot problem sounds like something a change of laces would fix, so that doesn’t worry me. Thanks bro!

  • Reply December 19, 2017

    Dustin Hughes

    I know you love the Thursday Boots and I think they look great as well (almost picked up a pair based on your getups and your boot review a while back actually) but I ended up going for the Clarks Hinman Mid boot in dark tan suede and mahogany leather. I’m loving the look and comfort of them and was able to pick up two pair for less then the price of the Thursdays. Great boot at a great price! Will probably still spring for a pair of the Thursdays at some point though. Thanks again for the getups, happy holidays!

    • Reply December 20, 2017

      Andrew

      Awesome! Glad you found something that works for you!

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Chris

    You nailed this one for sure. I love wearing by BB Red Fleece Sweatshirt over my Blue OCBD. The jacket really adds a whole other element to it. And I NEED some Thursday Boots!

  • Reply January 3, 2018

    Ryan

    Hey Andrew, Do you think the darker shade sportcoat from this getup would work with the “modular fall lunch date”? I really like both getups and am trying to decide which herringbone blazer to invest in.

    • Reply January 29, 2018

      Andrew

      Yep, that would look great!

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