Yes, they’re back: double-breasted suits are having their biggest moment since the 80s. They’re the suits to go for if you want to make a statement, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch your favourite single-breasted ones altogether.
Here’s how to work out which should you invest in.
The 1920s started the war between the two styles. Rebels made a statement in simpler single-breasted suits and more conservative men stuck with double-breasted. During World War II, double-breasted suits fell out of favour altogether after cloth rationing made them difficult to produce.
Single-breasted suits won for quite a while – through to the 80s in fact. Then, double-breasted suits had their moment in the spotlight in the 80s and 90s (think James Bond and the Wolf of Wall Street – long, broad and loose with big shoulders). The powerful silhouette found some very famous fans at the time including HRH Prince Charles and experimental dresser David Bowie. However, in day-to-day life, they didn’t really catch on beyond City bankers. That was until now, and tailors have gone back to the drawing board.
Thankfully, suits tailored today are much sharper. They’re shorter and have a narrower waist, especially if you go for a slim fit style. They can have six or four buttons. Cut to flatter, they’ve got wide peak lapels to broaden your chest and draw the eyes upwards to make you appear taller.
Single-breasted suits have also had a slimming down with defined waists and sometimes only two-button fastenings on the most minimalist styles.
In short: single and double-breasted suits are level pegging in the style stakes now. Both are sharp, both are stylish.
There’s no hard and fast rule, though that would make life easier. Whenever you would normally wear a suit, like for work or a formal occasion, you could wear either option.
If your smartwear wardrobe is already made up of single-breasted suits, a double-breasted option might just be your not-so-secret weapon for getting noticed. They’re a big trend at the moment, and you’ll definitely make a statement when you wear one. Some men prefer to save them for special occasions, but there’s no reason you can’t hold your head high in a double-breasted suit at the office. They’re stylish and sharply cut, which is why they’ve made such a comeback. And if you want to stand out from the crowd but still look smart, they’re ideal.
Follow these three rules and you’ll look stylish and feel confident in your double-breasted suit.
LOOK FOR TAILORED – whether it’s skinny, slim or tailored fit, it’ll help define your shape. The narrower the cut, the sharper the look.
ONLY FASTEN ONE BUTTON – that’s the middle one on six-buttoned suits and the top one on four-buttoned suits. Keep it fastened all the time, or at least until you sit down.
PARE BACK YOUR OUTFIT – your double-breasted suit does all the talking, so keep the rest of your look simple with a light-toned shirt worn open-necked or with a relatively plain tie.