Many of us think of fabrics in terms of seasons. Lightweight cottons and linens are for spring/ summer; heavy tweeds and flannels are for fall/ winter. This isn’t just about comfort – a way to keep ourselves as cool or warm as we want to be – but also about what these materials express in terms of style. A tweed jacket in the summertime would look odd, even if you didn’t mind how warm it made you feel.
Cotton, however, also happens to be a wonderful material for fall. Think of sport coats made from heavy, rumpled drills or velvety, ribbed corduroys. With the right construction and style, these can have all the sharpness of a tailored jacket, but none of the pretension.
You can pair cotton sports with any of your more casual items. They go great with plaid shirts worn opened collar and without a tie, like you see on Mr. Francis Ford Coppola above, or with an oxford cloth button down shirt, brushed flannel, or soft chamois. The point is to just get something with a certain kind of visual weight, so that your shirt can hold its own against your thick, rumply sport coat. Pants can be khaki or olive chinos, and shoes can be derbies, loafers, or chukkas. I like suede and pebbled grained materials in these cases, but smoother leathers also work well. Add a heavily textured scarf at the end for good effect.
Perhaps the best thing about a cotton sport coat is that – much like good leathers and jeans – it can look better with time. The edges will fray, elbows will thin, and the material overall will soften with wear. So long as you get something that fits you well, these are the kind of tailored jackets you can treat like your more casual pieces of outerwear. They’re perfect for the kind of guy who wants to look sharply tailored, but also doesn’t want to look too fussy.
(Pictured above, Francis Ford Coppola, as shot by Sacha Lenz)