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Double Breasted Suit | The Ultimate Styling Guide

August 25, 2021 5 min read

What is a Double Breasted Suit? 

A Double Breasted Suit is not only a staple in any man's wardrobe but, more importantly, an absolute classic. As the name suggests, its design consists of a coat or jacket which has two parallel columns of buttons and overlapping front flaps. More often than not, each column of buttons serves a different purpose, with one column usually being more decorative/style based while the other column being for functional purposes. Most double-breasted suits have between 4-6 buttons, depending on the design. Unlike a regular suit, a double-breasted suit also helps to accentuate and broaden the shoulders while concealing the belly. This is mainly possible due to the design of a double-breasted suit which is usually narrow at the waist and longer overall.

Double Breasted Suit - The Ultimate Style Guide

The History of the Double Breasted Suit 

Looking back at the history of the double-breasted suit, the piece has been around since the mid-1930s and originated from a casual garment known as a naval reefer jacket (peacoat). Over time, however, it was adopted to be worn in more formal settings when individuals such as the Duke of Windsor wore it to more high-end events. This trend further escalated in the 1930s-1940s when white-collared workers in the financial and banking sectors wore the double-breasted suit regularly to symbolize power and financial status. Finally, as time progressed into the 20th century, people started to opt more for the single-breasted suit, which was seen as a more modern garment. Despite this, the double-breasted suit will forever remain a vintage classic and a great way to show off a more formal flair for those significant events.

What is the Difference Between a Double Breasted and Single Breasted Suit?

One of the most common questions we hear from clients is, "what is the difference between a double-breasted and single-breasted suit?". To keep things simple, double-breasted suits have overlapping fabric with two columns of buttons for a grand total of 4-6 buttons on average. Comparatively, single-breasted suits only have one column of buttons (2 buttons) and do not have the additional overlapping fabric as with double-breasted.

From a social perspective, double-breasted suits are often seen as more vintage, classic and elegant. On the other hand, single-breasted suits are more modern, sleek, and stylish overall. Therefore, if you want to attend a formal event, it is better to opt for a double-breasted suit and the latter if the event is more semi-formal or casual.

Double Breasted Suit - The Ultimate Style Guide

What Are The Best Ways to Style a Double Breasted Suit? 

Due to the unique construction of a double-breasted suit, it is naturally designed to draw people's attention to your torso, giving you a sense of presence in any room you walk into. The key to styling a double-breasted suit is to get it custom-tailored to suit your physique. With a bespoke tailor, you can cut your suit perfectly to compliment your natural posture, which will make your formal suit even sharper. All in all, if you were to prioritize one aspect of wearing a double-breasted suit, the answer is always the fit!

Factors to Consider When Styling a Double Breasted Suit 

Now that you understand the basics of what a double-breasted suit is and how to style it, here are a few factors or rules to consider when styling it to keep in mind:

Rule #1: Stick to the essentials

  • A double-breasted suit is inherently seen as a formal and luxurious piece. As a result, when choosing a design for your first suit, it's best to stick to the essentials. I'd recommend sticking with traditional solid colors such as navy or grey. In terms of your shirt and tie, keep it simple with solid colors. Remember that your double-breasted suit makes a statement on its own, so make sure that you let the suit do the talking by avoiding any distracting patterns or unnecessary pieces. 

Double Breasted Suit - Ultimate Guide - Essentials Grey

Rule #2: Buttoning

  • As mentioned previously, double-breasted suits quite typically have between 4-6 buttons. Fortunately, you should only be focused on buttoning two of these buttons. These buttons include the inner button known as the "anchor button" as well as the corresponding middle button. Avoid buttoning the bottom or top buttons, and make sure to keep the suit buttoned when standing up and unbuttoned when sitting down.

Double Breasted Suit- The Ultimate Guide - Buttoning

Rule #3: Save it for the significant events

  • One of the best parts of a double-breasted suit is its ability to make a statement at an event. As a result, if you are looking to stand out, avoid wearing a double-breasted suit exceptionally often. Instead, bring out the suit on those significant formal events where you want to take your elegance to the next level. Remember that a statement loses its value if it's overused; as a result, keep your powerful statement for the moments that matter most.

Double Breasted Suit - The Ultimate Guide - Formal Events

What is the Best Material/Fabric to use for a Double Breasted Suit?

Although the fit is crucial for a double-breasted suit, so is the material used. Based on experience, the best fabric to use in constructing a double-breasted suit is most definitely heavier fabrics such as high-grade wool. Heavier fabrics are optimal because double-breasted suits have more cloth at the front, which implies that the fabric's body and construction hold their shape better when the jacket is open. Essentially, the heavier fabric tends to drape nicely on the wearer, which further enhances the overall style.

What are some Go-to Color Combinations for Double Breasted Suits?

Aside from the suit's fit, another factor that is equally important to consider is the color combinations you use to style the suit. Here are a few color combination recommendations to consider when choosing a theme.

Single Color Theme

  • This theme prioritizes synergy by choosing one color for your entire outfit but utilizing different shades of that color to create subtle differences. For example, you can opt for a dark grey color for your double-breasted suit and pair it with a lighter grey shirt and tie.

Complimentary Color Theme

  • A complimentary color theme is all about using opposite colors. For instance, pairing a black suit with a white shirt.

Horizontal and Vertical Stripes Theme

  • Lastly, using stripes can help alter the perception of your physique. For instance, vertical pinstripes can create the illusion of height, while horizontal stripes can help create an illusion of width.

What are some Go-to Style Combinations for Double Breasted Suits?

Although a double-breasted suit on its own makes a huge statement about your sense of style, it also needs to make sense positively when put together with other unique pieces. Here are a few style ideas:

Style #1 - Solid Color Double Breasted Suit, Dress shirt, and Tweed Patterned Tie

Double Breasted Suit with Tweed Tie and Dress Shirt

Style #2 - Window Pane Pattern Double Breasted Suit, Dress Shirt, and Solid Color Tie

Double Breasted Suit - The Ultimate Guide - Window Style

Style #3 - Solid Color Double Breasted Suit and Solid Color Turtleneck, Monk Strap Shoes

Double Breasted Suit - The Ultimate Guide

What are the Best Places to Get a Double Breasted Suit? 

All in all, the critical factor to consider when looking to purchase a double-breasted suit is to get it from a place that can specifically tailor it to fit your body perfectly. At Isaac Ely Bespoke, we specialize in tailoring every piece to fit you perfectly. With our expert measuring process, fabric selection, and experience in designing high-quality custom-made pieces, our goal is to help you master your style. So whether you are looking for an expert tailored bespoke double-breasted suit, shirttrousersshoes, or overcoat, we have you covered.

To get started today, feel free to book your complimentary fitting appointment by clicking here.