How to pull off the double-breasted suit
Be careful not to channel the style of Prince Charles when going for the overlapping jacket.
Yes, double-breasted suits and blazers are back and carving out a new dominance on the fashion trends list, looking fresher and cooler than ever.
The double-breasted jacket as we know it today originated from naval reefer jackets, more commonly known as ‘pea coats.’ The style was popular from the mid-1930s – think gangster chic – until the late 1950s and then again from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
In contrast to their predecessors, today’s double-breasted blazers are sleekly tailored with a shorter cut. The jacket skims the body but doesn’t hug it and the armholes are cut higher to create a cleaner look. The shoulders are natural, soft and tailored, rather than sharp and bulky as in their previous incarnations. All in all, the new tailoring makes for a double-breasted suit that retains its original sense of elegance, while at the same time embracing modern minimalism.
Double-breasted suit jackets should always have peak lapels. Notched lapels were sometimes seen in the early 1990s as designers experimented with various styles and cuts, but the shape of the jacket dictates a peaked lapel to accentuate the shoulders. While two and three-button suits are great for everyday wear, there is no comparison to the confident swagger of the double-breasted style. The heritage and glamour of the overlapping jacket evokes the quintessential gentleman.
The double-breasted suit has always been considered a conservative choice, but its style is timeless. It works best in fine all-season wool that can be worn from autumn to late spring and early summer. The sheer amount of fabric and coverage in the jacket are not ideal for the hotter months. When choosing a double-breasted suit, go for a dark-blue, with either a pinstripe or windowpane pattern. The pinstripe is more formal and can be worn for business events or evenings out. The windowpane lightens the profile and adds a dash of sporting athleticism to the cut.
A straight collar is acceptable when selecting a shirt to go with your double-breasted suit, but you should consider taking advantage of its broad shoulder profile and wear a wide-spread collar shirt. The jacket itself hides much of your tie, so a spread collar will widen the shoulder and neck area, allowing your tie to become an additional focal point. For more formal events, wear a French-cuffed shirt with cuff links that reflect your personality. You can wear a pocket square when you pair the suit with a dark-colored turtleneck for that quick weekend dinner or last-minute business flight. Your double-breasted jacket, whether or not it is part of a suit, can still be worn casually.
The easiest way to dress down your DB is to wear it with chinos or dark denim. As a general rule, the more unstructured the jacket, the more casual it is. A henley neck or other lightweight tee-shirt along with rugged work boots complete a double-breasted look that’s dressed-down but chic at all times.
Samrat Amarnani is the managing director of Collars & Cuffs, located in Sunset Mall, Dubai. Visit collarsandcuffs.ae