Know your suits - The double-breasted suit

26 September 2015

Know your suits - The double-breasted suit

Once a staple of every hip 70s gangster’s wardrobe, the double-breasted suit has made somewhat of a comeback in the last few years.  Only nowadays it has lost its chunkiness and oversized feel to become a slimmer, shorter, and altogether more stylish version of its predecessor.


What’s the difference?

A single-breasted jacket is the most common suit you will see on the high street, and this basically consists of a single row of buttons and button holes that meet in a vertical line right over your navel.

The double breasted suit jacket will have two rows of buttons on each side with the left side of the jacket folding over the right for fastening.

Why do you need one?

Aside from the obvious fact that it looks pretty suave, there are a few more reasons you might want to introduce a double-breasted look into your everyday wear.

It’s individual

The double-breasted suit is a subtle way to gain the attention of your peers without looking like a strutting peacock.

It’s elegant

Yes, there is room in your life for a bit of elegance and a touch of class à la Roger Moore, the quintessential British gentleman.

It’s flattering

If you are a second helpings man and carrying a little more than you should around the midsection, then this suit could be your saviour.  The very nature of the suit’s extra row of buttons gives it a corseting effect that could well hide those extra pounds.


The anatomy of a double-breasted suit

The buttons

First and foremost are those symmetrical rows of buttons that give an almost military feel to your look.  Typically you’ll find a 6x2 button arrangement with only 2 of the buttons actually usable.

Then there is the 4x2 variation with a whole lot less going on at the front of the jacket allowing for an elongated look that is ideal for the shorter man.

Any double breasted suit will feature an anchor button, and there’s no prizes for guessing what essential role this little circle of horn takes.  Yes, that’s right, this button hidden away inside the jacket holds the suit front in place and should always be kept fastened.


The lapels

It is a very brave man indeed that has a double-breasted jacket tailored with anything other than peak lapels.  In fact, there are some tailors who will flat out refuse to fit them with any other style of lapel.  Now, you know how we at Oscar Hunt feel about rules and how they are there to be bent and often broken completely.  But in this case, rather surprisingly, we follow the norm, go peaked or go home.

The vents

A double-breasted jacket with no vents is the most aesthetically appealing option as it cuts a perfect and rather flattering silhouette.  However – and this is a pretty big however – this is only really an option if you plan to spend the entire day on your feet.  

Side vents are a much more practical choice and allow for more freedom of movement, and considering that you can actually sit down, a hell of a lot more comfort.

The dos and don’ts

Do – Keep your jacket fastened, even when seated.

Don’t – Fasten the bottom button – but you should know this already, right?

Do – Keep it simple. There’s no need for eye-catching stripes or plaid.

Don’t – Over-accessorize. This suit is a bold enough statement in itself.

Do – Wear it whenever you like, no matter what the occasion.

Don’t – buy a budget suit. A double-breasted suit is best tailored so make an investment in yours.


So the next time you’re in the market for a suit, step outside the comfort zone that is the land of the single breasted suit and double down on style. With elegance and individuality in spades, it’s a gamble that is sure to pay off.