The Return Of The Double Breasted Suit
The world of fashion has always been divided on the double-breasted suit/jacket. Some simply cannot disassociate it from the stereotypical image of a Wall Street Banker type wearing thick pinstripes and yelling into an over sized mobile phone. The classic style is also one of menswear’s most fickle trends. It’s either very in – or very out. Fortunately for me – because I love double-breasted – they are very much back in favour at the moment, and in eye-catching styles, colours, fabrics and constructions.
Leading menswear designers and fashion houses such as Prada, Calvin, Ralph Lauren and Brunello Cucinelli have all featured a number of variations on the DB jacket in their Autumn/Winter collections. Many high street brands such as Topman, Moss Bros and ASOS have also gotten in on the act presenting affordable, ready to wear takes on double-breasted tailoring. The contentious fashion statement featured heavily at the GQ Man of the Year awards last week with the likes of David Gandy, Tom Hiddleton, Chadwick Boseman and Richard Biedul all showing off different takes on the DB suit or tuxdeo.
I was in Tony Connolly Menswear a week ago and I noticed a beautiful Benetti Double Breasted suit (the one I’m wearing in the photo at the beginning of this blog). Dave Connolly told me that a lot of guys admire double-breasted suits but they still hold a degree of fear because people don’t fully understand how to wear them or style them. With that in mind here are some quick style tips for wearing a double-breasted suit or jacket.
Dress It Down
You really don’t have to go full Pitti Uomo to get on board the DB train. You can mix a double-breasted blazer with more casual pieces as a gateway into the look. A knit polo, a t-shirt or a roll neck will look great under a double-breasted jacket and still look smart. Even jeans can be matched with the right texture of DB jacket. David Gandy is one of the leading lights in the renaissance of double-breasted tailoring and a Google image search will show you the variety of ways Mr. Gandy styles up and styles down his collection of DB jackets.
Don’t Double Button
There is one ironclad rule when wearing a jacket or blazer (of any kind) that must always be adhered to – never do up the bottom button. This is especially true when it comes to double-breasted as it spoils the line, makes you look restricted and makes it hard for you to sit comfortably. All of that kind of takes away from the gentlemanly nonchalance that a DB suit aims to convey.
Don’t Go Full GI-Joe
I could have also made a Beatles/Sgt Pepper pun there but since the double-breasted suit is inspired by military uniforms I thought it would make for an easier explanation. Essentially, you don’t want to look like you’re marching in a parade or part of a royal wedding so avoid an excess of decorations and shiny buttons. Not that you can’t play around with buttoning styles and a navy 4x1 gold button DB can look really elegant, just don’t go over board with it.
To Undo Or Not To Undo?
I think the biggest deterrent for guys when it comes to double-breasted tailoring is the idea that you can’t leave them open. Sure they look great if you’re making a speech or posing for a photo but what happens when you have to sit down or the room temperature turns you into Christy Moore? Well the good news is that modern double-breasted tailoring has a smaller overlap, so it still looks good when it’s open and you don’t have all that excess fabric flapping around. A lot of modern DB jackets come in more relaxed fabrics so it just feels right to undo the buttons. It’s not a suit of armour so undo the buttons if you need to, it won’t look silly.
As I mentioned, I am all for the return of the double-breasted suit. Its comeback announces a new gentlemanly vibe in menswear, to replace the skin tight, half-assed reality TV star look that has dominated the last few years. For the upcoming fall season try a DB blazer in a dark colour – grey, navy or emerald green will always stand out from the crowd – and try matching it with looks that you’d normally put a single breasted blazer with. There’s never been a better time to try it because DB is in fashion but like I always say; being a gentleman never goes out of fashion.