The American Sport Coat

By Jennifer Knight


The sport coat is a quintessential jacket for men.  It works well for any occasion that calls for a smart-casual or elevated look.  Similar in cut and length to a suit jacket, a sport coat is less formal and designed to be worn without matching trousers.  Unlike blazers, which are usually solid or striped and paired with contrasting buttons, most sport coats have patterns.  

In our collaboration with Brothers & Craft, here we showcase three sport coats made from our cloth, including a 100% wool multi-color plaid flannel, a 100% semi-worsted cashmere in a classic blue windowpane pattern, and a 100% camel hair jacketing fabric.  

While Americans cannot take credit for inventing the sport coat, we were responsible for popularizing it, particularly among college men after World War I.  According to Patricia Mears in her book, Ivy Style: Radical Conformists, Princeton students introduced the sport coat to Americans by modifying the Norfolk hunting jacket of the mid-nineteenth century and wearing it without matching trousers.  Brooks Brothers would eventually name it the “odd jacket” for this reason.

By the 1930s, the American fashion machine – design, manufacturing, distribution, retailing and advertising – enabled the spread of the sport coat as one key piece of a signature American style from coast to coast.  What few people remember is that Americans invented the concept of ready-to-wear.  Our complete control of the supply chain from fiber to fabric to garment manufacturing allowed American consumers to purchase ready-to-wear long before their global counterparts.  Technical advancements in garment production pioneered by American manufacturers, particularly in tailored menswear, were key to the development of this signature American style that is at the core of our vision for American Woolen Company.

Warren Mills, our facility in Stafford Springs, CT, has been producing fine woolen, cashmere and camel hair cloth since the 1850s.  The collective knowledge of our workforce has been passed down through generations.  As a result, a new more refined American style is emerging that is rooted in provenance and that we believe will reinvent the quintessential American sport coat. 


For more images of these of these hand-crafted blazers follow us on Instagram.