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Yes, another first blazer/sport coat question

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    Yes, another first blazer/sport coat question

    This weekend I attended a Tibetan wedding and although I thought my basic gingham shirt with chinos outfit looked OK, for the thousandth time I found myself saying, "I really need a navy sport coat." So, I'm bound and determined to finally get my first one in the next few months. I know there are lots of threads on this already, but thought I would try getting some advice specific to my situation. First, I have a pretty casual style, work in an extremely casual industry (environmental consulting), and live in an extremely casual part of the country (SF Bay Area, specifically Berkeley), so I'd likely only wear this when going to casual weddings, the symphony, semi-formal parties, meeting with clients, etc. Second, I'm thinking that a nice cotton sport coat would probably work best for me due to the mild climate and the fact that I overheat pretty easily indoors (needs to be less than 55 degrees before I can wear a sweater). Third, I have a somewhat odd body type in that I'm 6'1 and have narrow shoulders but am a bit hefty around the waist (42-43"), so finding shirts and jackets that fit me in the shoulders but with enough room in the waist is a challenge. The suits I have are 44 and a bit too large in the shoulders, so I'm thinking of trying a 42R (or 42L given my height?) sport coat, but am worried that it'll be too tight in the waist. Fourth, since I'd like to have this garment for a long time I'm willing to spend a bit more to get a well-constructed jacket ($300). Finally, I'd rather not get a classic navy wool blazer with brass buttons. I know that's what a lot of menswear blogs would recommend, but aside from being too formal for my needs it's just not for me.

    Given the above criteria, can anyone give me some starting points for looking around? I like the look of some of the oft-cited BR and J. Crew blazers, but am just worried they'd be too small for my frame. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.


    For starters, with a body shape like that, consider looking into names like Hickey Freeman and Daniel Cremieux. Both can be found at Dillards and are known to cater to hefty men. (Hickey Freeman can also be found at Nordstrom, Last Call, Saks, etc. and can be pricey, but they're easy to find on sale.) It also sounds like cotton is a good choice because of the SF climate and the casual use. However, you may want to consider something like this:

    It's wool, but the elbow patches make it more casual.



      Also, while a number of people here gnash their teeth at the mention of their name, Jos A Bank does carry a wide selection of big & tall stuff. This one isn't navy, but it's casual:

      It's also not cotton, but the linen/wool blend probably approximated the same weight. And the price is right.

      BTW, never EVER pay full price at Jos A Bank. They're always a day away from another sale. That's why most people shy away from them. It can be difficult to judge their quality and the prices yoyo a lot so you're better off catching them low.



        This one is dressier, but nice:

        Your height may be more of an issue than your weight. It's not easy to find something with narrow shoulders AND a large waist AND in a "tall".



          Given your odd size and the fact that you plan to keep it awhile, you might want to look at having one made. It probably will not be too much more than your price point and I would imagine you have quite a few options finding someone since you live in SF.



            I am responsible for one of the navy sport coat discussions. Didn't get a lot of love so I spent a morning trying on coats. They ranged from Joseph Abboud and Boss at Nordstrom, Ludlow @ J.Crew to "why the hell not" Zegnas, Armanis and Ralph Laurens at Neiman Marcus and their own stores.

            The two take aways were:

            1. I can't afford the jacket I want.

            2. Sizing is crazy. Joseph Abboud 36 fit great, where a RL 38 was a touch tight in the shoulders.

            These numbers are supposed to refer to inches, but vary so much when you try it on. So go to stores and try a bunch on. J.Crew also has an aldridge on sale right now that might work for a bigger guy.



              @aps2012: I know exactly how you feel on your first point...



                Thanks for the input, guys. Yeah, I think I'm just going to have to take a day off work sometime in the next few months and head into the city (San Francisco) for a full day of trying on various blazers at different places (Nordstrom, BR, J. Crew, etc.). While I'd love to check out some of the classic men's clothiers downtown, I don't think I'll be able to afford anything they have for sale.



                  Try as much stuff on as you can, but expect it to be a frustrating process. I'm pretty sure stores push their cotton blazers more in the spring, so you're likely to find a lot of places without any cotton navy blazers in stock.

                  A few thoughts... I've read a lot of your posts and I strongly agree with your instincts that cotton is the way to go for you. Wool will be too dressy, especially if you're not used to dressing up.

                  Cotton blazers don't actually breathe all that well, so be prepared for that. Still, it's the right fabric for you, given your needs.

                  Others may disagree, but I think it's better not to blow a wad of cash on your first blazer (especially if it's cotton). Spending big would make sense IF you knew what to spend big on, but there's a very real sense in which you can't quite know what to spend big on until you've owned several (or more) blazers. Even if you have an idea, from reading style blogs, of what's ideal in terms of quality, look, fit, and how you think you'll use the blazer, you're still apt to make mistakes here and there. I'd rather be making those mistakes on a less expensive blazer.

                  The other nice thing about not spending big is that you can beat the heck out of the thing and not care too much about it. A cotton navy blazer is perfect to use as a workhorse blazer, imo.

                  Given all that, and given your sizing needs, I'd recommend taking a look at this:

                  Both regular and tall sizes available, minimal shoulder padding, and it's cut pretty wide through the waist so you should be good there.

                  You should also consider the infamous Target Merona Kensington blazer, or whatever it's called, but I've never tried one on, so I can't comment on how it fits.



                    I really like this blue cotton-linen blazer (no brass!) from Lands End, and I think we have similar body types. There's a 30% off now so I think it would be something like $100. Definitely worth it. Made with Baird McNutt linen, so it doesn't wrinkle that bad. Here's a link:



                      @BB - Just got invited to a wedding on 11/3 so I'm thinking of ordering the LE blazer you link to. Would you recommend I try a 42 or 44, given the criteria I mention above?



                        I ordered one from itailor, but haven't got it yet or i'd let you know how accurate they were for about $150. I'd personally go the MTM route, fit is king.

                        Could try black lapel, modern tailor, indochino as well.



                          Hey gents, here's a few photos of my trying on the Merona Kensington blazer (XL) in Target today. What do you think of the fit? I'm leaning pretty heavily towards getting it, given that it's perfect for my needs (cotton, casual) and looks and feels pretty good, based on my admittedly novice impressions re: fit. The button stance is a bit high and it's perhaps a tad roomy in the waist and chest but otherwise (shoulders, sleeves, length) it seems pretty good to me. Would it even be worth taking to my tailor to get taken in?



                            Hey Matt, I have followed most of your threads concerning fit. Unfortunately I am going to have to vote against this jacket for you. It looks like its sagging on you. I think your shoulders are too narrow for it first and foremost (I know this is something you struggle with in most otr clothing). It is also far too roomy in the upper chest area. The sleeves are also way too baggy. I really feel like you should try a mtm option. I think it is your best bet.



                              I don't think those blazers look good on anyone, to be honest. From browsing your other threads it seems like we are both a 43 (although I'm only 6'). Sport coats that fit me well include J Crew Factory 44R and H&M 46R (?!?). As a bigger guy I go for a good fit in the shoulders, and I have my tailor let out the waist if needed.

                              Also, it's November, wouldn't you be better off with a wool or tweed blazer?