Double Take

There are many things you can do to inject a bit of life into your wardrobe. They don’t have to be dramatic changes; even the smallest alteration can make a huge difference.

For example, I invested in a new scarf not too long ago – a chunky waffle knit, burnt orange number from Fred Perry – which, when used in conjunction with my existing wardrobe, takes almost any look up to a whole new level. It isn’t a true statement piece, but flashing just the right amount of colour to catch the eye helps finish outfits off perfectly.

The double-breasted blazer is a fantastic addition to any modern capsule wardrobe and will subtly lift any of your existing smart-casual looks. Matt Allinson already extolled their virtues in his recent round up of the key pieces you should be holding onto from 2012, and I completely agree – the double-breasted blazer is back (although Matt never thought it had gone away) and here to stay.

We covered double-breasted tailoring in detail a couple of years ago when it was beginning to trend within the industry. However, we’ve had two plus seasons since it really began to permeate the high street and, as we all know, styles change – so it’s worth considering how double-breasted jackets now fit into our constantly evolving menswear schema.

Double-Breasted Blazer Considerations

Before we start, it is worth us breaking down a few key considerations you should make before investing in a double-breasted blazer:

  • Be aware of your buttons. Six buttons is the best for suiting and more formal, structured jackets. Two and four button jackets will be more appropriate for casual use and easier to wear.
  • Peak lapels are almost always a winner. This is more personal preference, and notch lapels are still perfectly acceptable, but if in doubt opt for peak.
  • Be aware of your body shape. The wide shouldered silhouette the blazer produces will suit the tall and slim(ish) man rather than the short, extremely muscular or wide. However, don’t discount it completely; as long as you cinch the jacket in at the waist and keep the length in proportion, then you should still be able to make it work.
  • If you want to wear a double-breasted suit to work I would suggest you keep the colour and/or patterns subtle. Wearing a double-breasted suit is enough of a statement, so don’t go shouting about it.
How To Wear: 2013
New Double-Breasted Blazer Lookbook

Before we get into the meat of how to wear the double-breasted blazer for 2013, take a look at some of the recently released campaigns/lookbooks from a selection of designers and high street retailers:

Men's Double-Breasted Blazer Lookbook

lbm 1911 ss13Luigi Bianchi Mantova Ss13reiss 1971 ss13club monaco aw12allsaints ss13duchamp ss13cruciani ss12ami aw13essentiel antwerp aw12Barneys aw12elie tahari aw13CALIBRE ss12
Look 1

We are entering that irritating too hot for a coat, too cold for just a blazer time of year. Clever layering is the key to dealing with our wildly fluctuating temperatures and it’s the perfect time to get experimental with your key items.

Opt for an unstructured blazer to allow yourself more room for layering underneath. In this instance a lightweight denim jacket (top tip – I have personally found that the cheaper the jacket, the thinner the denim) layered over a shirt and under the blazer is a great way to keep out the morning chill and stop yourself from becoming too hot during the day.

If you want to make more of a statement, try pairing a tie (or bow tie) with a simple Oxford shirt. Keep the textures bulkier to maintain a more casual aesthetic or leave the shirt open for a slightly more nonchalant approach.

A pair of bright chinos will provide a final flash of colour and with a couple of turns of the hem you can show off your ankle or some funky socks (weather permitting).

  • Allsaints Bukowski Slim Fit ShirtAllsaints Bukowski Slim Fit Shirt
  • Topman Bellfield Johnny Jacket Topman Bellfield Johnny Jacket
  • Beams Plus Slim-fit Double-breasted Cotton-twill BlazerBeams Plus Slim-fit Double-breasted Cotton-twill Blazer
  • Beams Plus Camouflage-print Cotton Bow TieBeams Plus Camouflage-print Cotton Bow Tie
  • Reiss Wickham Clean Cotton Pressed Chino Seafoam BlueReiss Wickham Clean Cotton Pressed Chino Seafoam Blue
  • Grenson Sid Honey Hi-shine ShoesGrenson Sid Honey Hi-shine Shoes
Look 2

Wearing a double-breasted blazer doesn’t always require you to focus on formality. Almost any item of clothing (with a few exceptions) is only ever as formal as YOU make it; there is nothing stopping you from taking a dress shirt or suit jacket and completely transforming the aesthetic.

You can make your life a lot easier by being intelligent with your jacket choice. As with the first look, an unstructured version is the way forward. Look for one with a shorter length (in relation to traditional suiting) because the softer lines will help to keep the outfit a lot more relaxed.

A henley tee is a great under-layer and the perfect accompaniment to the unstructured jacket – just make sure you leave a button or two undone. A pair of slim cut indigo jeans are a timeless choice, whilst rugged worker boots help provide a masculine edge that might otherwise have been missing.

Make sure you give your trouser hems a couple of rolls to emphasise the fact that you’re wearing boots:

  • Pepe Jeans Long Sleeve Top Slim Fit GrandadPepe Jeans Long Sleeve Top Slim Fit Grandad
  • Asos Slim Fit Double Breasted BlazerAsos Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer
  • Reiss Freeport Raw Selvedge Denim IndigoReiss Freeport Raw Selvedge Denim Indigo
  • Allsaints Trap BootAllsaints Trap Boot
Look 3

Of course, no FashionBeans article would be complete without a nod to our house style; timeless and modern. This time, why not take a step away from our Italian idols and opt for something a little more Gallic?

A camel double-breasted blazer is a great start and offers you the perfect statement piece for any bohemian-inspired look. Layer a dark roll neck underneath; not only is this piece on trend but it also shows off your knack for creative layering and creates a nice clash of silhouettes.

Black trousers are a brilliant way of anchoring the whole look, offering a stark contrast but reigning in the powerful aesthetic of the jacket. Finish off with some sleek black Chelsea boots.

To add a little extra flair, take note of another up and coming trend: the fedora. A dark coloured hat is an ideal companion to any aspiring bohemian and with a paisley pocket square stuffed in your breast pocket, you better perfect your moody stare:

  • John Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck SweaterJohn Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck Sweater
  • Allsaints Picket BlazerAllsaints Picket Blazer
  • Topman Black Brushed Skinny TrousersTopman Black Brushed Skinny Trousers
  • Allsaints Cabot BootAllsaints Cabot Boot
Current Double-Breasted Tailoring
  • Asos Double Breasted Tuxedo Suit JacketAsos Double Breasted Tuxedo Suit Jacket
  • Topman Navy Hopsack Double Breasted Suit JacketTopman Navy Hopsack Double Breasted Suit Jacket
  • Allsaints Suke JacketAllsaints Suke Jacket
  • Christophe Lemaire For Bean Pole Grey Double Breasted JacketChristophe Lemaire For Bean Pole Grey Double Breasted Jacket
  • Vivienne Westwood – Man Bno202-41425 Navy JacketVivienne Westwood - Man Bno202-41425 Navy Jacket
  • Joe Casely-hayford For John Lewis Double-breasted Amara Pique Blazer NavyJoe Casely-hayford For John Lewis Double-breasted Amara Pique Blazer Navy
  • Rake Heritage Pima-cotton Jacket 148216Rake Heritage Pima-cotton Jacket 148216
  • Lanvin Double-breasted Cotton-jersey BlazerLanvin Double-breasted Cotton-jersey Blazer
  • Ps By Paul Smith Double-breasted Cotton-blend Piqué BlazerPs By Paul Smith Double-breasted Cotton-blend Piqué Blazer
Final Word

So there we have a brief look at the double-breasted blazer; a versatile addition to any modern man’s wardrobe. Whether you want to channel riviera chic or bohemian quirk, double-breasted tailoring is the perfect way to develop your current style and stand out from the crowd.

But I want to know your thoughts. What do you think of double-breasted jackets? Do you think the style has developed enough in the last few years for it to now be considered an essential?

Let me know in the comments section.

Will