For the fashionistas in Italy these past few seasons, double-breasted jackets seem to be the latest trend. But for many stylish and well-dressed men, like Prince Charles, they never went away. Wherever you fit in that picture, it’s time to give one a try. All hail the return of the double-breasted jacket!
A couple of double-breasted pieces — available in summer suits to winter coats — can break up the sameness of a closet full of single-breasted jackets and add an occasional bit of dash to your look.
The Double-Breasted Blazer
The original and perhaps most classic of all double-breasted pieces is the navy blazer. A double-breasted closure derives originally from military uniforms, as does the navy blazer with gold buttons, so putting it all together makes perfect sense. Wear this jacket as you would a single-breasted navy blazer to turn the dressiness up a notch.
The Double-Breasted Business Suit
For an important interview or presentation, or any time you really want to get noticed without being too flashy, try a double-breasted suit. In navy or charcoal, with or without pinstripes, this suit says you mean business, and it does so firmly yet quietly. It’s a sure hit with a crisp white or pale blue shirt and any conservative tie in your collection.
The Double-Breasted Summer Suit
Summer suits are made of lighter cloth and with less complicated construction than their more formal cousins, but that doesn’t mean they have to be totally slouchy. Change things up with a seersucker or linen suit in the more unusual double-breasted cut, and strike a rakish figure at all those summer weddings and cocktail parties. Add a bow tie if a bit of whimsy might be in order.
The Double-Breasted Overcoat
Dressier outfits need dressier coats; cue the double-breasted overcoat. Opt for one in black, navy, charcoal or herringbone tweed for a somber but sharp look. Tan versions are particularly striking over dark suits, or even a tux if you’re daring.
The Casual Double-Breasted Jacket
A double-breasted jacket doesn’t always have mean “extra formal.” Worn unbuttoned with jeans and an open collar, a double-breasted jacket can be the most cool and stylish item in your closet. Skip the tie and the socks.
A Note on Details
It’s been said before that dressing well is in the details, and this is certainly true of double-breasted jackets. Here are a few important points to remember:
Lapels: Double-breasted jackets look best with peak lapels, the type that have an extended pointed tip rather than a cut notch. See the photos above for details.
Vents: While double-breasted jackets are available with center vents, side vents or no vent, side vents are far and away the best, most classic choice. Center vents can pass on a summer suit, but jackets with no vents tend to look very dated.
Trousers: Double-breasted jackets work well with either pleated or flat-front trousers, depending on the circumstances. In casual outfits or with summer suits, plain-front pants are fine. With a dressier blazer or a more formal suit, pleated pants tend to look more finished.
Double-breasted jackets are gaining popularity right now, but getting a good one is still a worthy investment. When the winds of fashion change, as they inevitably do, a well-chosen double-breasted jacket or suit will continue to look good for as long as you own it. Here’s to bringing them back!
Photo credits: Getty Images, An Affordable Wardrobe
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