Sweaters vs. Jackets: The Differences Explained

In today’s society, there are so many options when it comes to what you can wear. From shirts, button-ups, to skorts and skirts. But have you ever stopped and through what fundamentals make the difference between these clothing items?

Both sweaters and jackets are a form of outerwear, however, the biggest difference between the two are their materials. Sweaters are knitted whereas jackets are not knitted. Jackets also have zippers that run through the middle whereas sweaters do not have them.

When we look at the difference between a jacket and a sweater there are a few key fundamental differences between these two styles and designs. Keep reading to find more about it.

What is the Difference Between a Jacket and Sweater? 

A man wearing a sweater.
A man wearing a jacket.

As explained, the most obvious difference between a sweater and a jacket is that a sweater is knitted and a jacket is not.  But there are additional differences between them too:

1. Sweaters are made mostly from wool or synthetic fibers.1. Jackets are made from all different materials.
2. Sweaters do not have collars2. Jackets have collars and pockets. 
3. Sweaters do not always have an opening at the front, and instead can be a pullover.3. Jackets always have an opening in the front.
4. Sweaters are worn by men, women, and kids.4. Jackets are mainly worn by men but are worn by women and kids as well.
5. With sweaters, you do not have to wear anything over them, but in most cases you do.5. Jackets are worn over other types of clothing.

With these differences, it should be pretty easy to tell if an item is a jacket or a sweater.

What is the Main Difference Between Jacket and Coat? 

A jacket and a coat have similar characteristics and often are used interchangeably. 

Coming from the same family of clothing items it is not a problem that that is, however, there are a few basic differences to be able to tell them apart:

  • One of the most basic differences is the length, a jacket is going to be much shorter than a coat. In most cases a coat will pass down past the hips and can be much longer depending on the type of the jacket. 
  • Coats are much heavier than a jacket. 
  • Coats and jackets provide different levels of warmth, depending on the type of jacket and the type of coat. 

These differences will help you decide what and what, and also what you would like to wear depending on the weather!

What is a Jacket?

A jacket is a garment that is typically worn on the top half of your body over another piece of clothing such as a shirt or a blouse. Acting as a sort of a coat but is lighter, more tight-fitting than the typical coat. 

Most jackets have these elements:

  • Front opening 
  • Collar 
  • Lapels
  • Pockets
  • Sleeves

Typically, a jacket is worn for two different reasons: one reason as a protection/warming layer or the other as a fashion statement.

Examples of Jackets 

Most examples of a jacket extend in length to either the middle part of your stomach or down to your hips. They also have a front opening that can be closed with either a zipper or buttons. 

Types of jackets:

  • Suit Jacket: Also known as a lounge jacket.
  • Blazer: Another formal type of wear used as a jacket.  
  • Fleece Jacket: Made of wool and can be a more casual type of jacket.  
  • Leather Jacket: Made out of leather and depending on what you dress it with can be either casual or formal. 

There are other types of jacket styles and designs that you may be aware of such as a sailor jacket, varsity jacket, or bomber. 

What is a Sweater?

A sweater is a garment that also covers the top half of your body and is made of knitted material.  A sweater is either going to be in the form of a pullover or as a cardigan. The only difference between these two is how the garment is worn. 

Traditionally sweaters are made from wool, however, in today’s society, they are manufactured using synthetic fibers instead. With sweaters, it is not necessary to wear anything underneath them.  Though in most cases, they are worn over the top of something. 

A lot of times sweaters are worn with skirts or pants (but almost always untucked).  They also have many different designs and colors. The neckline can be a turtleneck, regular crew neck, or even a V-neck. With short sleeves, full length, or anything in-between.

Sweater or Jacket Recap 

Both a sweater and a jacket are manufactured to cover your upper half and your arms to help keep it warm. There are many differences between a sweater and a jacket, but the main difference will be the material in which the clothing item is made out of.