Double The Fun

This year we’ve witnessed more diversity within men’s tailoring than ever before. From traditional grey and navy suits, to the revival of classic checks and pinstripes, to more adventurous tones of burgundy, olive green and white, there truly is something for everyone.

For those willing to go a step further, printed tailoring has even made its mark, coming in a plethora of motifs that range from statement florals to polka dots.
However, one aspect that hasn’t been covered yet this season by FashionBeans is the rise of double-breasted cuts. Many high fashion designers have been pushing double-breasted suits and jackets for SS14, and the high street has been quick to follow their lead.

So, are you ready to add some much-needed diversity to your formal wardrobe?

Designer Collections

Ovadia & Sons was one of the slightly lesser-known designer collections to feature a range of double-breasted pieces. Styled in a timeless way, key looks included a traditional grey double-breasted suit paired with a white shirt, black tie and Oxford shoes.

Ariel and Shimon, the twin brothers behind the brand, went on to feature a navy double-breasted blazer with gold buttons, which was worn open and layered over a Breton striped long-sleeved Henley. These were combined with white trousers and lace-up shoes for a nautical-inspired take on the trend.

However, the highlight of the showcase had to be the uber-stylish, double-breasted midnight blue tuxedo with contrast black lapels. Paired with a simple white shirt, black bow tie and black loafers with interesting oversized fabric detailing, it was the epitome of ‘classic with a twist':

Ovadia & Sons Double-Breasted Tailoring On The SS14 Runways

Berluti was another designer brand that made double-breasted tailoring the foundation of their collection, albeit in a slightly more casual, but no less brave, way.

Artistic Director Alessandro Sartori was clearly influenced by the 1920s and The Great Gatsby, showing an all-white outfit that featured a double-breasted linen suit paired with an off-white shirt, oversized bow tie, lace-up shoes and boater hat.

An additional all-white ensemble paired wide-legged trousers and a double-breasted blazer with an open-neck wide collar tee and patent black and white dress shoes. The natural wrinkle of the linen combined with the model’s full beard and rolled up sleeves added a touch of nonchalance to an effortlessly stylish look.

Berluti’s collection went on to prove just how well double-breasted blazers can work as separates, combining a camel jacket with ivory trousers. Similarly, the brand showed they were not afraid to make a statement with colour, utilising purple, deep marine blue and burgundy tones throughout their offering:

Berluti Double-Breasted Tailoring On The SS14 Runways

Taking a bolder approach to the trend, Prada combined rich double-breasted blazers and suiting with on trend floral print pieces.

Throughout the showcase double-breasted jackets were often worn as separates and came in either traditional black pinstripes or vivid hues such as turquoise and ruby red.

A highlight of the collection was an unstructured double-breasted suit in khaki. This seasonally-appropriate option was dressed down with trainers and a bold printed shirt, making it an excellent option for summer events or weddings:

Prada Double-Breasted Tailoring On The SS14 Runways

London Collections Men: SS15

Although double-breasted tailoring has been pushed hard for a couple of years now, many still consider this cut to be nothing more than a fleeting trend. However, if last week’s London Collections: Men SS15 is anything to go by, the double-breasted jacket is here to stay – at least until 2015.

Gieves & Hawkes, Hardy Amies, Dunhill, Tiger of Sweden and Oliver Spencer featured double-breasted jackets and suiting in every fit, fabric and colour imaginable:

Double-Breasted Tailoring On The SS15 Menswear Runways At London Collections: Men

DunhillChristopher KaneGieves & HawkesTiger of SwedenOliver SpencerHardy Amies
How To Wear

Double-breasted tailoring is often unfairly associated with 1940s mobsters and power-hungry 1980s businessmen – think Gordon Gecko from Wall Street, or infamous gangster Al Capone. Double-breasted suits from these eras were very boxy in their shape, often appearing oversized due to their beefier fit and extra wide lapels. In essence, they were designed to make the wearer appear powerful and promote an air of intimidation.

However, contemporary versions are much sleeker and sharper in their shape, cut close to the torso with a more natural shoulder that emphasises width without adding extra bulk.

Despite this, there’s no getting away from the fact that a double-breasted jacket naturally stands out more than its single-breasted counterpart and is designed to make a confident statement. If you want to add one to your wardrobe, bear in mind the following guidelines:

  • Button Choice: Six buttons are best for suiting and structured blazers while two/four button jackets are more appropriate for smart-casual use and dressing down. Four button styles are also a great choice for shorter gents, helping balance their proportions.
  • Peak Lapels: A double-breasted jacket is a larger than life piece and therefore the details should match. With this in mind, opt for peak lapels over notched. These will not only create the illusion of a wider chest but also draw the eyes upward to give the appearance of height.
  • The Cut: Double-breasted jackets can be worn by all body types, so long as you keep the fit tailored at the waist. In addition, high armholes and slimmer sleeves will help produce a more contemporary silhouette that suits all builds.
  • Jacket Length: The length of a double-breasted jacket should be shorter than a standard suit blazer. This helps elongate the body by revealing more of your legs.
  • Buttoning Up: You should always fasten the top button of a four or six button jacket, leaving the bottom button undone. There is no need to unbutton your jacket when you sit down, like you would a single-breasted style.
  • Keep It Simple: As previously mentioned, this type of cut makes a statement on its own, so there’s no need to go overboard with your styling. Combine with classic shirt and tie combinations or neutral wardrobe staples to let the jacket do all the talking. Likewise, if this is your first foray into double-breasted, steer clear of patterned or bold coloured designs.

Of course, as with anything in men’s fashion, the most important thing is to get the fit right – perhaps even more so with double-breasted. Get your tailor to alter the jacket to your specific body shape in order to avoid any association with the outdated, boxy aesthetic of the past.

Modern Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Spring/Summer Double-Breasted Tailoring Lookbook

lbm 1911 ss13Luigi Bianchi Mantova ss13he by mango ss14tommy hilfiger tailored ss14m&s best of british ss14gant ss14Gieves & Hawkes ss14ovadia & sons ss13ovadia & sons ss13BOHEMIAN ss14drykorn ss13customellow ss14
Fashion Press Reaction

The fashion press response to the comeback of the double-breasted cut has been overwhelmingly positive. Shortlist magazine actually featured double-breasted blazers at number one in their list of the top seven trends for spring 2014 and backed up this bold declaration with a series of street style images showing stylish gents rocking the look.

These photos proved that the double-breasted jacket can be worn in a modern way without coming across as dated or pretentious. The publication also highlighted how the new silhouette is much more fitted and, although the double-breasted look is steeped in menswear tradition and history, now feels extremely fashion-forward.

GQ was another high profile advocate, with the magazine recently publishing a ‘Dos and Don’ts’ feature on double-breasted tailoring. This included everything from advice on the number of buttons to fasten to the importance of fit and good tailoring.

Interestingly, GQ made the point that the double-breasted suit is appropriate to any situation where you would normally wear its single-breasted counterpart – be it to the office, a dinner date or for after-work drinks. Mr Porter endorsed this approach by including a feature on their website showcasing the double-breasted blazer and insisting that it can be worn at almost any occasion, including a gallery opening, birthday lunch or summer party.

Key Styles
  • Topman Noose And Monkey Navy Pindot Blazer Topman Noose And Monkey Navy Pindot Blazer
  • Next Ink Double Breasted Cotton Linen JacketNext Ink Double Breasted Cotton Linen Jacket
  • He By Mango Double-breasted Cotton BlazerHe By Mango Double-breasted Cotton Blazer
  • J. Crew Ludlow Double-breasted Suit Jacket In Italian WoolJ. Crew Ludlow Double-breasted Suit Jacket In Italian Wool
  • Asos Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer In CottonAsos Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer In Cotton
  • Asos Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer In CottonAsos Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer In Cotton
  • Hammond & Co Navy Blue Check Double Breasted Tailored Fit SuitHammond & Co Navy Blue Check Double Breasted Tailored Fit Suit
  • Grey Prince Of Wales Check Tailored Fit Double Breasted JacketGrey Prince Of Wales Check Tailored Fit Double Breasted Jacket
  • Best Of British Pure Wool Prince Of Wales Checked SuitBest Of British Pure Wool Prince Of Wales Checked Suit
  • River Island Light Blue Double Breasted BlazerRiver Island Light Blue Double Breasted Blazer
  • He By Mango Double-breasted Jersey BlazerHe By Mango Double-breasted Jersey Blazer
  • River Island Navy Pinstripe Double Breasted BlazerRiver Island Navy Pinstripe Double Breasted Blazer
  • River Island Dark Grey Double Breasted BlazerRiver Island Dark Grey Double Breasted Blazer
  • Ted Baker Endurancepierzchecked Linen Double Breasted SuitTed Baker Endurancepierzchecked Linen Double Breasted Suit
  • Mens Jules B Two Piece Pinstripe Double Breasted SuitMens Jules B Two Piece Pinstripe Double Breasted Suit
Final Word

A timeless cut that has been adapted for the modern market, double-breasted tailoring is continuing to stamp its mark on the industry and appears to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Perfect for anyone who wants to make a powerful and confident statement – whether at work or a summer event – a neutral double-breasted blazer or suit in a breathable fabric and slim, tailored fit makes a versatile addition to any warm-weather wardrobe.

But what do you think – are you confident enough to give double-breasted a go? Perhaps you already do?

As always, we welcome your thoughts and musings below…