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How To Wear Double-Breasted Blazers & Suits

It’d be dumb to dub double breasted blazers as dated, stuffy, grandpa-esque. A sophisticated cut, the double-breasted suit has been adapted for the modern market. And we’re relishing in its timelessness.

The double-breasted fit has been spotted on the shoulders of some of menswear’s most stylish gents – Lino Leluzzi, Lapo Elkann and David Gandy. Ideal for the man who wants to pack a style punch this season – weekdays at work or weekend suave event – double-breasted blazers or suits in quality fabric, neutral or subtle print, and a slim, tailored fit makes the perfect addition to your current wardrobe. You’ve got nothing to lose really. Going DB isn’t double the trouble, but it’s double the fun.

Blazer Origins

Double Breasted Blazers

Buttons and buttonholes came into fashion in the 13th and 14th centuries, when tailored clothing replaced draped and pinned garments like cloaks. The new construction necessitated a row of buttons that held the inside and outside layers of fabric together. To maintain the symmetry of the garment, a matching row of buttons was added on the opposite side. By the 1800s, frock coats were in fashion and came in both single- and double-breasted styles. As long coats gave way to shorter jackets in the late 19th century, the double breasted style took on a more familiar form. Double breasted blazers as we know it today originated from naval reefer jackets, more commonly known as pea coats. Anchors, away.

What To Look For

Double Breasted Blazers

The term ‘double-breasted’ refers to a coat or jacket with two parallel columns of buttons and overlapping front flaps. The typical double-breasted blazer has one to four rows of buttons, only one or two of which are functional. A ‘number-on-number’ structure is used to describe the construction of a specific jacket, in which the first number is the total number of buttons and the second number is the number of fastening buttons below the lapel.

So, for example, in the case of original double breasted blazers with six buttons total and three to close, the term “six-on-three” would be used. Another functional button, called the jigger or anchor button, is concealed inside to hold the overlapped layers together and strengthen the fastening. The lapels are most often peaked, and the left lapel typically fastens over the right.

Who Should Wear It

Like a regular suit – man’s most flattering fashion item – the double-breasted cut broadens the shoulders and brings in the belly. But, it does favour some certain body types more than others – a style for leaner men. A larger gent’s build will be widened by the double-breasted structure, creating an unflattering optical illusion. However, if you’ve got the build for it, a double-breasted suit emphasises the broad shoulders/narrow waist silhouette or ‘V’ – considered the ideal male shape.

Where To Wear It

Double Breasted Blazers

As a rule, the double-breasted suit is appropriate anywhere a single-breasted suit goes. While it is considered more formal than the single, its bold styling in the warmer months – as seen with the peacocks at Pitti Uomo – the double-breasted is now the choice with more flair.

If you’re attending a more formal or semi-formal event (in a setting with conservative people who may not understand your choice of jacket), stick to single-breasted, because a double version will certainly stand out. But, when cutting loose and showing off your sartorial mastery, come a summer party, wedding or Saturday night out with the lads, the double-breasted blazer is a daring departure from the single-breasted status quo.

How To Wear It

Unlike the good-old-days, today’s double-breasted blazers are sleekly tailored and cut shorter. The jacket sits close to the body but doesn’t hug, and the armholes are cut higher to create a cleaner look. The shoulders are natural, soft and tailored rather than sharp and bulky (no more 80s Wall Street stockbroker). Overall, it makes for a double-breasted suit that retains its original sense of elegance while embracing modern minimalism. Here’s how to rock it:

Corporate Cool

Double Breasted Blazers

The office is the perfect place to sport a double-breasted suit, standing out from the corporate crowd. For everyday work, simpler is better, opting for a 6×2 button constructions. Fasten the middle button while leaving the bottom undone, and keep it that way – standing or sitting down. The anchor button should also remain fastened at all times.

For the purist, select a pinstripe navy number. While contemporary guys should look to charcoal based out with tan monks – this season’s work shoe.

Winter Chic

Double Breasted Blazers

For winter and cooler temps, opt for double breast two piece suit with 4×2 button construction in textured woollen fabric. With a peak lapel and slightly longer cut, the jacket even doubles as a a top coat. A roll neck sweater is the perfect layering piece, sticking with a fine-gauge cashmere/wool blend for a luxury finish. Aesthetic, its a clean look (without a bulky scarf and add outerwear) and is a fresh alternative to a shirt and tie combo. Just fasten the top button of the jacket, and the anchor button, keeping them both closed to keep the heat in.

Split It

Double Breasted Blazers

Smart casual dressing is easy with the double-breasted suit. The easiest way to dress down the jacket’s formality is the split, pairing the blazer with chinos or dark denim. As a general rule, the more unstructured the jacket, the more casual it is. Keep the shirt and tie for a smarter look or inject a knit or crew neck t-shirt into the mix for pared back look. Likewise, your footwear can go anywhere, from leather derbies to tassel loafers. Oxblood is a nice alternative to black or brown.

Nautical & Nice

Double Breasted Blazers

White trousers and the double-breasted blazer are like two peas in a rakish pod. The jacket’s seafaring roots – with links to the peacoat – make it the perfect blazer for summer. And a sharp outer layer when going for that clean nautical look. A white collared shirt in crisp cotton is the perfect base, letting a royal blue or red jacket helm this style boat.

A navy knit tie and white dial slim watch with a navy, red and white canvas strap and are key accessories. As for blazer details, look for a grainy linen-silk blend for a texture and contrast white buttons are very de rigeur this season. Ties in the white trousers nicely. Just add suede loafers.

Convince of the double breasted blazer’s style benefits? Click through the slideshow for ten of this season’s best.

RELATED: Essential Classics: The Double Breasted Suit

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27 May, 2016

Luc Wiesman

Founder and Editor-In-Chief
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