Double-breasted suits are a classic menswear style, popular in the 1940s and 1980s, and have seemingly been out of fashion for ages. They were all but gone from the mainstream for many years, but recently made a major comeback when the Kingsman movie showed how men of all ages can pull it off. Now, this type of suit has been worn by both celebrities and young professionals alike—signalling the return of an unusual yet distinguished suit style.
People might see them and think of fedoras and old-school mobsters, but don’t let that fool you. Double-breasted jackets add an element of sophistication and elegance to any outfit while retaining a classic look. But what exactly is a double-breasted jacket, how should you wear them, and how do they differ from your trusty single-breasted suits?
Why Should You Consider a Double-Breasted Suit?
To understand how double-breasted suits differ, you’ll have to take a step back and look at suits in general. Suits are the most uniform and conservative of all menswear. Double-breasted suits are a classic choice of suit for work or formal events. They are also commonly used for uniforms by law enforcement, medical personnel, and other professional career fields. The foundation is a coat with matching trousers, and a tie with white or blue shirts.
It was originally developed to make men look larger than they actually were. Back in the day, it was common practice for men to wear padding underneath their clothing to give the appearance of being bigger and stronger than they actually were. The double-breasted jacket style is most often seen in an overcoat, the two layers giving it more warmth and volume than other styles of suit jackets—and it makes it seem as though you’re larger than you actually are!
What Are Double-Breasted Suits and How to Wear Them?
Double-breasted suits have two columns of buttons and a layer of overlapping fabric across the front. Not all of these buttons are functional, they are simply placed to create symmetry or extend the lines of the suit. They inherently carry a little more formality than a single-breasted suit of equivalent style, as the extra fabric and buttons translate to a higher manufacturing cost.
Features of the Suit
The standout feature of a double-breasted suit is the extra buttons. They are available in six-, four-, and two-button styles. The extra buttons not only add visual interest to a suit but also provide more room for movement in your chest and shoulders. That’s why, they’re great if you’re looking for something to wear as part of a uniform—or if you just want to feel a little bit more heroic when you put on your jacket!
Peak lapels are the most common for double-breasted suits because they are more formal. Wider lapels balance the width created by the gap between the two columns of buttons and will show off your shoulders better. You’ll usually see them with flap pockets or jetted pockets.
When to Wear Them
Double-breasted suits can be worn for almost any occasion, but these days, they tend to work best as standout business attire. They’re always appropriate for an interview or presentation, but they also look great at weddings or other formal events where you want to stand out from the crowd. If you’re wearing them this way, consider pairing them with a tie instead of a bowtie.
Navy is the most common colour, but you can also choose a textured option like the plaid pattern for a statement look. But stay away from stripes as they can make the look more outdated and give off a slightly vintage feel.
How to Know if the Fit Is Perfect
Double-breasted suits that have a little extra fabric in the middle that you can fold over. This makes the suit look more classic and formal but also means it’s harder to find one that fits well. That’s why they are mostly custom-made and are seen mostly in tweeds.
To wear one well, you’ll want to make sure that your jacket fits well across your shoulders and chest without being too snug (it should be tight enough so that it stays on if you lean forward). If your suit is too small for you, go for a slimmer cut instead of one with more room around the body. This will help showcase your shape instead of hiding it behind the extra fabric. If there are any wrinkles or creases in this area when you put it on, then something isn’t right with the fit—and that could mean trouble down the road!
Consider the Weather and Seasons
It’s always best not to wear more than one layer at once—especially if they’re wool coats such as these! Wool tends to be heavy and thick; this means that even though it may feel warm in wintertime (when most people think of using these coats), they’ll actually trap heat around your body instead of letting air flow through like cotton does. Going bold when choosing a tie as a bright or colourful pattern works well with this style because they can help offset an otherwise very formal ensemble. So if you’re planning on wearing one to a summer wedding, better scratch that idea, as double-breasted suits are best suited for cooler weather.
Double-Breasted vs. Single-Breasted: The Differences Explained
Though quite a bit less common than the single-breasted suit, a double-breasted suit definitely attracts attention. They’re more sophisticated and powerful than single-breasted suits, yet most men haven’t given them a second thought because of their scarcity. We all know the adage that states, “if you want to be noticed, wear a double-breasted suit”, and we can confidently say that the double-breasted suit was designed to do just that.
|Double-Breasted Suits||Single-Breasted Suits|
|Number of Buttons||Comes in six and four, and rarely in two buttons. Can look strange when unbuttoned.||Comes in two, one, or sometimes three buttons. Can be worn either buttoned up or open.|
|Best weather to don them||Best suited for cooler weather due to the overlapping fabric||Can be worn in any weather, as long as you choose the right fabric|
|How Common Is It Worn?||Rare, harder to find and more expensive to mass-produce||Very common, the default style|
|Preferred Colour||Navy, often textured. Plaid is a great option for an eye-catching look||Most common are navy blue, charcoal grey, or black, but you can get them in any colour|
|Lapel Style||Mostly found with a wide peaked lapel as it matches the sophisticated and distinctive style||Mostly seen in the notched lapel style, but you can opt for any lapel depending on the look you’re going for|
|Pocket Style||Usually flapped or welted/jetted pockets||Any pocket style, dependent on formality|
|Fabric Material||Usually heavier fabrics like wool or tweed||Usually wool, but can be seen in other fabrics and a wide variety of weights|
|Fit||Almost always custom-made||Ready-to-wear widely available|
|Number of Pieces||2 – A vest won’t be visible when the jacket is worn, anyway!||2 or 3 – you can opt for a vest or skip it|
Thinking about investing in a double-breasted suit? Looking to start small with a double-breasted vest? Great decision! Double-breasted suits look great on all body types, and the key is proportion, which is taken care of beautifully by our in-house master tailor! No matter the event you are shopping for, our team of stylists and master tailors can help you find the perfect design for your unique body type and personality. With years of experience in the industry, we will work with you to create a suit that perfectly fits your style and needs.
Not only do our qualified tailors have the expertise in creating classic suits (like double-breasted or blazers), but they also have an eye for fashion trends so that you always feel ahead of the curve when it comes to dressing for business events or special occasions. No matter what kind of suit you’re looking for, let Briggins take care of everything—from start to finish! So don’t wait any longer—contact us today by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call during our showroom hours on 1300 452 251 to book a consultation for a made-to-measure suit.