It was bound to make a return. We’re talking, of course, about the double-breasted blazers – seen in recent runway presentations across both men’s and women’s collections.
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In the twilight of tapered jeans and chunky-soled shoes, it’s the “dad” jacket that doesn’t need a label. Yet, unlike the bulky (and likely shoulder-padded) silhouettes of the ‘80s, today’s version looks and feels drastically different.
What is a Double-Breasted Jacket?
A few key features define double-breasted jacket, whether they are part of a suit or a stand-alone garment:
- Extra fabric creating a fold across the front of the jacket.
- Two rows of buttons, with at least four added. Six, however, is considered the standard.
- A broader shoulder area and smaller waist. For this reason, double-breasted blazers tend to flatter more body types than their single-breasted counterparts.
- Angular or “peak” lapels. The softer – and more deferential – notch is rarely seen. However, you may encounter a few shawl – tuxedo-style – collars.
How to Wear Double-Breasted Blazers 101
With fashion, there are comfortable baselines, adventurous leaps, and seemingly death-defying feats. Single-breasted blazers clearly fall into the first camp. Your first suit likely stuck to this design, featuring two buttons, a notched lapel, and a slim-but-not-skinny fit.
Where should I wear breasted jacket?
It’s a comfortable look for the workplace and dressier events, but if you’re going to be daring and build upon your experience, a double-breasted jacket marks the next step up.
Why are double breasted jackets difficult to wear?
What makes it more of a challenge? Connotations. Double-breasted blazers tend to have more angles and hard lines – thanks to that extra fold over the front and peak lapels – and thus, they’re emblematic of a power play.
Essentially, wearing one is akin to one-upping someone in the wrong situation – work, especially. Thus, knowing when and how to wear one avoids any potential faux pas.
How should a double breasted jacket fit?
As a foundation for this more grown-up garment, it’s always best to err on the slimmer side. Too big, and you’ll wind up looking like an aged Wall Street banker or even Dr. Evil.
In terms of fit, shorter guys should take note: Double-breasted jackets tend to be cropped, and therefore may make your torso seem even shorter and wider than it actually is.
Should I accessorize a double breasted jacket?
Too, added to this, the cut’s already a bit showy, so anything you’d pair with your single-breast blazer – for instance, a pocket square or chain – is best left at home.
Are double breasted suits more formal?
As a third factor, realize that, in most situations, the double-breasted blazer is a formal garment; proceed with caution when wearing it with chinos, jeans, and knits.
History of the Double-Breasted Suit
Looking at the 20th century’s waves of trends, the double-breasted blazer saw its heyday from the ‘30s through the ‘50s. Fabric shortages around World War II spurred the single-breasted jacket’s popularity, and by the ‘60s, a shift toward more casual suiting essentially made it obsolete.
The era of excess in the ‘80s brought it back briefly.
Although, in hindsight, it emerged as the jacket of wealthy stockbrokers and finance workers, television played a part, too, with lead actors on Miami Vice and Remington Steele sporting its distinctive silhouette. Again, emphasis on casualwear through the ‘90s and slimmer fits in the ‘00s killed its short resurgence.
However, its origins go back to the 1800s – specifically, frock coats, which, like today’s blazers, came in single- and double-breasted variations.
Cutting the tails down eventually shortened its length, but the two styles remained. Yet, the silhouette closest to the modern double-breasted blazer actually goes back to the naval reefer jacket, otherwise known as a pea coat.
Are Double-Breasted Blazers & Jackets Still in Style?
Although nothing will replace your father’s or even grandfather’s trusted suit jacket, the current revival has helped shake off its dated airs:
1. The New School of Tailoring
A running theme throughout all Fashion Week presentations? A return to tailoring, after a few years of streetwear silhouettes dominating the runways.
Yet, the shift isn’t purely regressive. Instead, it’s best described as a fusion of experimental street-leaning styles and classic silhouettes. Big picture, Virgil Abloh’s leading the charge.
A purely symptomatic offshoot, that Supreme x Jean Paul Gaultier collaboration symbolizes this confluence. Although all the typical Supreme skater pieces are there, complete with a vivid floral motif, a loose pinstriped suit came along.
Not especially dapper, it looks like something a teen would pick up at a second-hand store, and that’s likely the point: This re-appropriated high-end design – one, in fact, that’s unisex – isn’t for looking sophisticated and suave.
It’s deconstructing something that, for years, was off-limits to, if not reviled by, the streetwear scene.
2. Not Your Typical Colors
Black, navy, and grey? This season, those are novice shades. As Supreme and Abloh’s debut Louis Vuitton collection show us, if you can’t try red or solid white, it’s best just to go home.
While bold monochrome shades have started replacing these staples, patterns aren’t off the table. Utilizing zoot suit-like oversized silhouettes, Wooyoungmi and Paul Smith indicate that larger checks and contrast stripes easily fit in with the overlapping fabric – just cut out the accessories to eliminate any distractions.
And, like these wider-cut fits, don’t skimp on your print: Aim for high contrasts, reddish hues, and blockier combinations.
3. A Return to Excess
Going against the modern rules of wearing a double-breasted blazer, today’s pieces – much like dad fashion over the past few years – aim to exaggerate.
Colors aren’t subtle, and the fits seem to almost hang off the wearer – emphasized by leaving the front buttons open. In one sense, these new double-breasted pieces fill in the void left by leisure suits – angular in some regards yet spacious.
In others, they rehash the ‘80s’ power-dressing rules, but remove the era’s posturing.
4. What to Wear With A Double-Breasted Blazer
Beyond just the suit’s relaxed silhouette, double-breasted blazers have started invading the single-breasted’s territory – specifically, more casual wear, or spezzato.
This mismatched look often starts with a lighter-weight blazer – linen or unlined cotton, depending upon the season – and may involve a pair of chinos or jeans. Jogger pants, assuming you avoid French terry, aren’t off the table, either.
Then, you have to consider what’s underneath. Of course, a button-front shirt is ready and game, but think about your other choices: Fine sweater knits, mock necks, or even a fitted T-shirt take down the jacket’s formal character. Go a step further, then, by leaving it unbuttoned to fly in the breeze.