Unstructured Sports Coats 5-2-2011

Live the unstructured life.

The unstructured sport coat—a must-have in your wardrobe.

“It’s time to put some structure in your life.” Perhaps a well-meaning family member gave you this advice after watching you dedicate a few years to catching trout with a fly rod or trying to get your band signed to a record deal. Well, when it comes to wardrobe must-haves, we’re going to tell you exactly the opposite. Because the unstructured sport coat is something you need in your life.

What’s in a name?

An unstructured sport coat, also referred to as a “unconstructed,” “deconstructed,” or “soft” jacket, is precisely that: a jacket with less structure. Unlike traditional jackets, an unstructured sport coat will have a soft shoulder, no internal canvas, and usually will have no lining other than along the shoulder and through the sleeves. Put one on—you’ll feel the difference immediately.


What does this mean?

Because an unstructured sport coat has no lining, its seams will show. Because of this, extra effort is required in finishing the inside of the jacket. This also means that an unstructured sports coat won’t be able to undergo the same kinds of alterations as a traditional jacket. So don’t buy one a size too big and expect your tailor to be able to work a miracle.


How is it supposed to fit?

An unstructured sport coat isn’t built like a traditional jacket—it won’t fit like one either. The smooth lines that you expect from a traditional jacket will be gone. Instead, an unstructured sport coat will give a softer, more casual look. It’s beer with a burger versus red wine with a steak.


What’s it for?

Take a look at that stack of v-neck sweaters in your closet. That’s what the unstructured sport coat is for. Use it to give them a rest. The unstructured sport coat is an incredibly versatile jacket that can be paired with everything from jeans to chinos—even shorts. And, like the v-neck sweater, it’s something you can find in a variety of fabrics so you can wear it year round. The unstructured sport coat elevates you above the casual while still keeping things fun. Think of it like reading The Paris Review on the subway instead of something off the bestseller list.


Who’s it for?

Obviously, the unstructured sport coat is for any guy who wants to add some casual style to his wardrobe. But, because it is so casual, this jacket is a smart choice for someone who has shied away from buying a sport coat in the past. It’s a great place to start. You don’t just douse your burrito with a new hot sauce; you put on a drop and see how it goes. Same here.


What to look for.

Chances are that if you have a favorite suit maker, one whose standard of quality matches your own, they will make an unstructured sport coat to your liking as well. However, because this type of jacket typically costs less than a traditional sport coat, you’ll find them at a variety of retailers. If you come across one that’s incredibly inexpensive, be sure to inspect it before buying. The level of care taken in producing the garment is usually reflected in the price. And make sure those sleeves are lined. You don’t want to get stuck in your jacket when your watch catches on some loose thread halfway through.


You’ve got the jacket, now what?

You may find that reaching for a v-neck sweater will become more and more difficult now. Unless you’re wearing it under your new sport coat. Because adding some unstructured style to your life is an incredibly appealing thing. And while it definitely won’t help you catch fish, it might catch the eye of that music exec if you wear it onstage.

TAGS: casual | Deconstructed sport coat | Soft jacket | Sport coat | Unstructured sport coat

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