If you don’t own a well-fitting linen sports jacket already, you should put it on your must-have list for this summer. When it comes to looking put together and staying cool in the oppressive heat, the linen sports jacket can’t be topped. You’ll find yourself wearing it all day, every day…no joke. Below, I’ve broken down some of my favorite styling tips to hit the ground running. Whether you’re off to your best friend’s wedding or grabbing drinks after work, you’ll have all the bases covered with one of the numerous ways this piece can be styled. Just remember that it’s called a sports jacket for a reason! You can dress it up, but it’s meant to be played in. That means it’s ok to throw it on the backseat of your car or hang it up at the bar when the night starts to loosen up. Just like you, it doesn’t need an occasion to be the most stylish thing around. It just needs to be worn…and worn…and worn, until it fits you like a glove.
Look 1: Your best friend’s wedding
This look is all about taking the jacket up a couple notches. You can simply throw on a crisp white shirt, your favorite tie, and pants in a complementing color for a put-together look that isn’t quite a 3-piece suit or tuxedo. The breathable weave and weight of a linen sports jacket will have movin’ and groovin’ on the dance floor for hours without breaking a sweat…well maybe just a little less sweating. For a more dapper look, opt for a patterned bow tie, like my floral one pictured below. It can be a great conversation starter and you’re bound to get some cool points for tying your own bow tie knot.
Look 2: Beach house hangout
This is the linen jacket turned all the way down to a summer-getaway-casual kind of level. You will stand out from the crowd of laid-back beach-goers heading out for evening grub by making your simple white t-shirt and shorts transform into a more sophisticated (but still super easy to pull off) outfit. If you’re like me and decide to don a pair of patterned shorts, I would recommend a solid t-shirt and summer weight scarf for the perfect balance of fun and chic.
Look 3: Preppy polo
There seems to be a great debate as to whether a polo is appropriate to wear under a sports jacket. Let’s end that debate once and for all: yes it is and I think you should start pairing the two now! To start, you’ll want a polo that is equally as casual as the linen sports jacket itself. You should also keep the color and weight of both pieces more on the summery-side of the spectrum and avoid wearing a traditionally-structured wool sports jacket with this look. Avoid buttoning the top button, or you’ll risk looking like “that guy” who’s trying too hard. What I like about my polo is the stiff collar similar to that of a woven shirt so I don’t have to worry about it crinkling up like bacon under the lapels of my sports jacket. Oh, and guys please keep the polo collar under the lapels for the sports jacket.
Look 4: Sweater weather
For the summer nights you need a little extra warmth, a great light-weight sweater layered under a sports jacket is a great option to stay comfy. I would try to avoid wool, even if it’s a very fine merino, instead opt for light-weight cotton/linen or cotton/silk blend. You might be wondering why you would want to layer a sweater underneath a sports jacket in the summer and the answer is practicality and style. It’s practical in the sense that layers provide you the opportunity to add or subtract articles of clothing depending the environment you’ll be in. For some of you, the summer nights can get pretty cool and this look will have you prepared. Layering a sweater is also stylish and aesthetically appealing. Maybe it’s the texture or maybe it’s the juxtaposition of combining something that’s casual with something that’s a bit more formal. Whatever it is, we like it.
Look 5: Jumping on the band collar bandwagon
There is something about a band collar that takes the sports jacket and shirt combo to a new level of laid-back sophistication that most people don’t know about. The band collar is the perfect medium between a casual t-shirt or polo and a shirt and tie combo. You can add some personality by choosing a shirt with vertical stripes (pictured) or with a solid shirt and stripped t-shirt underneath. This look would be great for an updated office look that can keep you going all night, especially today when office dress codes can be all over the place, and no one wants to be overdressed at the office this summer.
Photography: Marc Parroquin