Casually Refined: How to Pair Sports Jackets with Denim

Jul 30, 2017

Pairing jeans with your sports jacket can be somewhat tricky, but when done correctly, it can result in a casual look that’s impeccable. How do you pull of the perfect look? Here are a few tips that will have you looking astonishingly dapper in no time. 


You’ll hear this from me time and time again, the fit of the garments is the most important element in pulling off any look. Your sports jacket should fit well across the shoulders with a bit of extras space with slightly less tapering in the waist to allow for layering and should be a shorter length than your typical suit jacket. Always opt for softer shoulders, notch lapel, and two buttons. 

When choosing denim, make sure it skims your body nicely and is tailored, not too skinny and not too loose. The hem of your jeans should hit right at the top of your shoes

Pro style tip:

Denim that has at least a three percent stretch can feel much more comfortable and is generally easier to wear, especially in the warmer months. 


You want to pair the correct fabrics and hues together. Always go for a thicker textured look when pairing your sports jacket with denim. Remember that  sports jackets were historically used for actual sports like hunting, fishing, shooting, etc. so the fabrics were much sturdier and thicker,  you want to keep in this tradition. Look for more depth and texture such as herringbone, houndstooth, corduroy, tweeds, loose linen weaves, and twills.

For your denim, go for darker hues of blue and occasionally black to heavily contrast with your jacket, the more contrast you have, the better the look. 

Pro style tip:

Italian tweeds tend to be lighter and work best in warmer climates. Avoid worsted wool as it’s best used for suits and looks more formal. Never use a suit jacket as a sports jacket, this can cause additional wear and stress on the finer fabric used in suits. It can also dull the color causing the pants and jacket to become mismatched. 


When in doubt, this combo will work well in almost any situation where the dress code is a bit vague. It fills the gap between dressy and casual. For example, dinner with friends, a casual business meeting, or when traveling. It allows you to layer in cool weather and lose the layers when it’s hot. 

Accessories play an important role and can drastically alter your look from super casual to slightly dressier. Add a tie, a handkerchief, a crisp oxford shirt, and double monk strap shoes for dressier functions. 

Pro style tip:

A collared shirt is best, however, this look also goes well with a v-neck sweater, a nice crew neck cotton shirt or a well fitted polo style shirt just as well. Make sure that the patterns compliment each other. Micro pattern shirts pair best with larger patterns on jackets. Never wear distressed denim or denim that has loud stitching, simplicity is key. 

There are so many options and combinations when pulling off this look, it’s sure to become your go to ensemble once you’ve mastered all the basics. 

Just remember, less is always more. 

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