The double-breasted suit has always been a highly debatable topic in the fashion industry. You see gentleman like David Beckham and Jake Gyllenhaal donning the suit, making it look cool and effortless, but there are also up tight politicians, old-school wannabe gangsters and preppy 21st century jocks wearing the suit and giving it a bad name.
Ultimately, this leads to confusion. Can you wear the double-breasted suit and pull it off like David Beckham? Will you look as effortless and elegant as Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra in the 1955 musical Guys and Dolls? Or will you look misplaced like you walked out of the set of Mad Men? Is the double-breasted suit stylish or outdated?
However, before we dive into this – let’s take a step back and look at the anatomy of a suit jacket. Every coat or suit jacket is either single-breasted or double-breasted.
The single-breasted construction is more common, it’s what you see all the time. It refers to a coat or jacket having one column of buttons down one side. Most gentlemen own the single breasted as it’s perceived to be more versatile and popular in everyday culture. On the other hand, the double-breasted suit has either a total of four buttons with two on each side or six buttons. In the case of a six-button suit, only three are in use. The double-breasted will also have more fabric to fold over from left to right. It’s much less common and rarely done right.
But we’re telling you – the double-breasted suit is back in style with a-list celebrities making it a fashion statement by wearing it at the Golden Globes. Many designers such as Hugo Boss, Prada and Dolce and Gabbana are also embracing this by reinventing the suit and making it their own.
If you’re thinking about jumping on the double-breasted suit bandwagon, there are some factors you can consider to give it your own, modern twist.
First, tailoring is vital in mastering this style. You can taper the waist for a sleek and defined look or keep it straight – it’s all up to you and depends on what you feel comfortable in. Today’s double-breasted jackets are smoothly tailored and cut shorter giving it a sense of modern minimalism.
Lapels are also a vital part of the double-breasted suit and are often underestimated. The wider the width of the lapel – the more traditional the look becomes. Wide lapels also created the illusion of a wider chest. However, since we’re in an age of modernism, many prefer slimmer lapels. You need to be careful here though because if you go too slim, you’ll loose the essence of this suit. Therefore, we know you may want to try the shawl lapel or wide notch to put your own twist on the suit, but the most common and appropriate type is the wide peak lapel.
Moreover, the double-breasted suit has always been associated with power and authority. But as we move into 2016, it’s time to realize that this doesn’t have to be the case. You can dress this suit down by wearing it with a white tee shirt, shorts or as an open jacket – the options are limitless.
You can also modernize it with color and prints. A majority of double-breasted suits are the standard colors of black, cream or navy. Have you ever thought of changing it up and wearing bright colors and patterns? It actually works if you wear colors that compliment each other such as a bright red jacket and cream color pants.
Obviously, this suit has its advantages. You can dress it up or down to give it a more contemporary yet elegant feel, attracting natural attention. The suit is unique, it’s not what you see everyday. That’s the whole appeal of it. Why dress like 98% of the male population when you can be the 2% and casually stand out.
However, keep in mind the double-breasted suit isn’t as forgiving, it’s a bit less versatile and you have to put more thought into how to style it. Therefore, if you do it right, you’ll make a fashion statement.