I received a new to me vintage tweed sport coat not that long ago. This particular sport coat featured both the always desirable 3/2 roll and the ever cool throat latch. This got me thinking. Other than looking cool what is the purpose of third button and the throat latch? I know that the throat latch can be buttoned, but I have never actually seen this done before. From Gentlemans’s Gazette’s great article on Norfolk Jackets (see here)
The first thing to keep in mind is the origin of sport coats. Sport coats were introduced in the 19th century for hunting, shooting, and riding. There are different types such as the Norfolk jacket which may be the original sport coat and the primarily equestrian Hacking jacket. Both of these jackets featured throat latches. When the throat latch is buttoned and the lapel is flipped the sport coat then fully protects the wearer from the elements. The sport coat became everyday attire in the twentieth century which led to more and more variations on the sport coat.
My Jacket with the 3rd button closed on a 3/2 roll sport coat (Gasp!). It will be okay. I promise.
My sport coat is the perfect example of the modern tweed sport coat. It differs from the Hacking and Norfolk jackets as it does not have a ticket pocket or a belt, it only has one vent, and a 3/2 roll closure. It does have a third button so it can still theoretically be buttoned all the way up and a throat latch, but are these merely decoration or do they work? There was only one way to find out. I pulled my tweed out of the closet and buttoned it up. All the way up. It was a success.
Ready to face inclement weather.
Once again we have sport to thank for this piece of classic clothing. The 3/2 roll tweed sport coat is rooted in the days before central heating and horseless carriages making the third button and throat latch valuable assets. However, times have changed and protection from the elements is now better handled by attached garages, remote car starts, and heated car seats, but I can see myself putting the third button and throat latch to good use when a warm fall day turns into a chilly fall evening.