When double-breasted comes to mind, you immediately think of the aggressive ones that were a staple of the Wall Street wardrobe in the 80’s. Nearly 30 years later, double-breasted suits and sport coats are making a serious resurgence. They are traditionally more formal than their single-breasted counterparts and have been associated with business. You may have thought they were just something that your grandpa wore, but we’re willing to bet that he is more stylish than you could ever have guessed. When looking at the Hall of Fame of double-breasted sartorialists, great names like Gianni Agnelli, The Duke of Windsor, and Prince William pop up. In honor of these men and the suits they favored, here is our Prepidemic Guide to pulling off the double-breasted look.
The first thing you’re going to need to know about going double-breasted is the cut. We’re not pushing a sack cut for double breasted, we want something modern. If you’re not careful about the fit, you could end up looking 10-20 pounds heavier than you’d like. When looking at the jacket you should look for something form fitting. For this reason, when buying, do it in-store — no online buying here. You want it to be snug on the body, which will make you look athletic and elegant. You also want something shorter and with minimal padding at the shoulder. We’re not suggesting something that cuts off at the waist, but you can afford to get something that stops 3/4 of the way down your rear.
Because this is a powerful suit already, big shoulder pads will make you look like a linebacker. Get something with minimal pads that will fit perfectly with your natural shoulders. The cut of a double-breasted jacket will hug your midsection naturally, making your shoulders look strong without padding. You should also look for something with a relatively high armhole because this will help to emphasize the athletic cut. The reason for this is that it will increase the space between arm and the body, which makes you look thinner.
Double-breasted jackets will come in two button, four button, and six button forms. Six button is the most common and classic, but four is seen often, as well. The two button jacket is a very modern look that we would suggest staying away from unless you are very thin and have experience going double breasted. Usually four button jackets have more of a sack cut that is less flattering to the form. So we have arrived at the six button jacket, which is our suggestion to all of you. It has a flattering cut that will achieve the elegance you’re looking for. Along with this, they will overwhelmingly come in peak lapel. Get something with a medium sized lapel. It should not be too slim, but make sure that it isn’t playing touch with your shoulders.
So now that we’ve told you about the cut and shape, what colors and patterns should one go for? Well, to us, it goes as the great da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And seeing how we are really looking for a sophisticated look when going double-breasted, let’s keep it simple. You should look for something in a solid color, preferably navy, grey, or khaki (for summer). Now, if you’re someone who likes to spice things up, we think that a good glen check in grey is more than adequate. One thing that we can’t stress enough is no pinstripes. You’re not Gordon Gekko, so don’t even think about it.
Now you can buy a navy or grey suit, but if you want just a sport coat, we suggest only one item: The navy blazer. You can pair this with jeans or chinos, but the real power play here is to match em up with some good grey slacks. Your pants, like your jacket, should be slim-fit. We think that the picture above shows that when done properly, there are fewer looks that can compete. Pair it with a simple dress shirt and a silk knit tie and you’ll be looking like a superstar.
Spurr: Simon Spurr introduced his first double-breasted suit for this Fall and, boy, does it look good. The former designer for Ralph Lauren Black and Purple Labels has found the perfect vibe that is somewhere in between with his new brand. It is simple and classic with a great modern cut. This is our favorite option for the fall. You can get it for $2,600 at Bloomindales.
Brooks Brothers: Another great option for the fall is this smart suit by Brooks Brothers. Very similar to the Spurr suit above, but at a much more affordable price. You can always be confident in Brooks Brothers for quality goods that won’t go out of style and it appears as if they’ve done it again. You can get it for $998 at Brooks Brothers.
Dunhill: When designers make so-called travel suits that are wrinkle-resistant they come out lame and ugly, but this one is everything we could ask for as far as aesthetics go. It is classic and perfect for travel because if you need to stash it in your bag, it will come out looking freshly pressed. Dunhill has been doing very well in their design lately, and we’re looking forward to what they come out with over the next year or so. You can get this blazer for $1,795 at Dunhill.
Company of We: One of our favorite items on the year, this blazer is the perfect choice for a day out in the countryside or a night in the city. It will certainly do a lot less damage on your bank account than the option by Dunhill above. Make sure to pick one up soon before they run out. You can get it for $198 at Company of We.