A Reader’s Question: The Black Cashmere Sport Coat.

A Leviner Wood client and reader writes:  … how versatile do you think a black cashmere jacket would be, i.e., is it something you’d wear to work or just to social events and possibly church ?

Great question and it’s one that we get a lot. Six or seven years ago, black sport coats outsold all the other options — even the classic navy blazer! It may have had something to do with the dress codes loosening and men still wanting to look a bit formal, or because of the popular black Armani suit look favored by Hollywood stars.

If you wanted to trace its origins, you might start with the gentlemen depicted above in a 1930’s illustration from Esquire or Apparel Arts magazine. It shows the transition from the formal daytime cutaway and cashmere stripe trousers worn quite correctly by the man on the right to the semi-formal “stroller” and Shepard’s check or cheviot trouser sported by the man on the left. The hats that the men wear also point to the relative formality of the outfits with the semi-formal Homburg winning out over the formal silk topper for daytime wear to church, a wedding or the bank.

A black cashmere sport coat may be considered  semi-formal in today’s casual society. Part of the reason is that black is most often associated with a tuxedo or evening wear; it is a very striking color and in high contrast with a white shirt and dark tie looks great. Cashmere is luxurious to touch but doesn’t necessarily travel well, which makes for a coat more suitable for special events and not daily use.

Choose a black cashmere sport coat to dress up dark wash jeans and black loafers, or to wear to a cocktail party with a white shirt and dark silver tie and grey trousers. Pewter or black horn buttons would be appropriate.

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