While some may consider it stuffy or overly formal, I’m of the belief that a double-breasted jacket is an exercise in elegance. From its four- or six-style button front to its peak lapels and structured shoulder, when worn correctly, there is nothing more debonair than the ol’ DB.
Originally designed as a sporting-style jacket for the British elite for hunting parties and other outdoorsy activities, the double-breasted blazer gained popularity in the mid-20th Century. This was largely due to the wardrobe of many of Hollywood’s leading men. The tailored fit, which had an almost Continental feel to it, soon became a sort of semaphore for the glamorous masculinity that defined the era.
Since then, the style has largely gone out of favor for many men, who nowadays prefer a single-breasted jacket for its more relaxed fit and easy styling. But then again, who wants to be like everyone else?
Double-Breasted Jackets: Pros and Cons
As with any garment, there are certain rules to abide by for getting the best out of each wear. While rules are meant to be broken, I do think that a double-breasted jacket has a few peculiarities that should be addressed.
For starters, not every body shape is going to be able to pull off a double-breasted jacket right away. It may take a tailor to get the proportions right if you buy off-the-rack. This is especially true for men who may have a bit of a tummy, where the band of fabric across the midsection only accentuates the area. Also, shorter guys may have trouble with this look, as the structured shape runs the risk of dwarving you. Again, a tailor should be able to provide a bit of damage control here.
On the flip side, taller and leaner men seem to more naturally do better in a double-breasted suit. The shape of the jacket creates the illusion of broad shoulders and a defined chest.
It isn’t just who is wearing the garment, but how you style it, too. Because of the more refined nature of the double-breasted jacket, it’s most often worn for formal occasions. While in a single-breasted look, one can get away with not wearing a shirt and tie, this isn’t usually the case with its double-breasted cousin. The frame is already bulky enough; adding any excess fabric from, say, a turtleneck may just weigh you down.
Finally, and perhaps most controversially, is that a double-breasted jacket should be buttoned up most, if not all, of the time. Otherwise, the front flaps that overlap to give it the signature style would simply hang to the front, looking both unattractive and, frankly, a little silly.
The Best Double-Breasted Jackets For Men
Cad & The Dandy
Because of the quirks that come with a double-breasted jacket, I recommend going the route of a bespoke suit when possible. British brand Cad & The Dandy offers a personalized consultation process in both London and NYC with some of the top mills in the UK.
If bespoke is out of your budget, made-to-measure is a great alternative. Utilizing a few house patterns, the suits are adapted to your measurements and the menu of options that are available through its online portal. This allows you a personalized suit at a great price.
Carter Young Double-Breasted Blazer
If you’re looking to play with the tradition of the double-breasted jacket a little, then try Carter Young. A newer designer that makes unisex clothes inspired by traditional menswear and Americana, this linen jacket is a less structured, more relaxed version of the traditional garment.
Hawes & Curtis Double Breasted Wool Navy Blazer
A quality British-made menswear brand that produces great pieces at reasonable prices, Hawes & Curtis has it all. The wool navy blazer has a traditional fit while the navy fabric and gold accents modernize it slightly.
Officine Générale Leon Jacket
Playing with tradition with a decidedly Parisian flair, Officine Générale is a great choice for someone not wanting to take their outfit too seriously. This is a four-button option, making it a little less stuffy and the Loro Piana wool brings this jacket to another level.
J. Crew Ludlow Slim-Fit Double-Breasted Tuxedo Jacket
The Ludlow by J. Crew has had many iterations over the years and still remains a top contender for anyone looking for an easy suit option. The double-breasted tuxedo jacket has an Old Hollywood feel to it that is a great, budget-friendly option for a black-tie event or wedding.