The double breasted suit, a timeless symbol of elegance and authority in men’s fashion, has evolved from its naval origins to become a staple in the modern gentleman’s wardrobe. With its distinctive button arrangement and pronounced lapels, this suit style exudes a sense of sophistication and confidence. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the nuances of selecting, styling, and mastering the double breasted suit, ensuring that you not only wear it but wear it with unparalleled style and grace.
Understanding the Double Breasted Suit
The journey of the double breasted suit through history is as rich and varied as its design. Originally derived from naval reefer jackets, it transitioned into the realm of formal wear in the late 19th century. The defining features of a double breasted suit include a wider overlap of the front flaps and a double row of buttons. This design creates a bold, symmetrical look that stands out from the more common single-breasted suits.
Understanding the different styles and variations is crucial. The most traditional form features six buttons, with only the middle or lower ones fastened. However, contemporary designs often play with the number and positioning of buttons, offering a range of styles from conservative to avant-garde.
Choosing the Right Fit
The allure of a double breasted suit lies in its impeccable fit. Unlike its single-breasted counterpart, a poorly fitted double breasted suit can appear bulky and outdated. The key elements to focus on are:
- Shoulder Alignment: The suit should sit smoothly across your shoulders without any wrinkles or divots.
- Waist Suppression: Look for a suit that gently tapers at the waist, enhancing the natural V-shape of the torso.
- Sleeve and Trouser Length: Sleeves should end just above the wrist, allowing a small portion of the shirt cuff to show. Trousers should have a slight break at the top of the shoes.
For those seeking perfection, bespoke tailoring is the way to go. A tailor can adjust every aspect of the suit to your body, ensuring a flawless fit.
Selecting Colors and Patterns
When it comes to color and pattern, the double breasted suit offers a canvas for both classic and bold choices. Traditional colors like navy, grey, and black are versatile for various occasions. For those looking to make more of a statement, exploring plaids, pinstripes, or even bolder colors like burgundy or green can add personality to your ensemble.
Consider the fabric and pattern in relation to the event and season. Lighter fabrics like linen or cotton blends are ideal for summer, while wool and heavier blends work well in colder months. Patterns should be chosen based on the formality of the occasion – subtle patterns for formal events and bolder ones for casual settings.
Mastering the Art of Buttoning
Buttoning a double breasted suit correctly is essential to its style. The traditional rule is to always keep the middle button fastened (in a six-button configuration) and the bottom button unfastened. This rule helps maintain the suit’s structured silhouette and ensures comfort when sitting.
In modern fashion, some choose to fasten only the top button of a four-button suit for a more relaxed look. However, the bottom button should generally remain unfastened to preserve the flow of the fabric and the suit’s design.
The act of buttoning a double breasted suit is not just a functional necessity; it’s a style statement. It accentuates the suit’s unique architecture and contributes to the overall elegance of the outfit.
Accessorizing Your Suit
Accessorizing a double breasted suit is an art form that requires a balance between elegance and subtlety. The right accessories not only complement the suit but also add a personal touch to your ensemble.
- Shirt and Tie: A crisp, well-fitted shirt is the foundation. Opt for lighter shades like white or pale blue for a classic look. The tie should contrast yet harmonize with your suit. For a traditional look, choose a silk tie in a solid color or subtle pattern. For a bolder statement, experiment with textures and vibrant patterns.
- Pocket Squares: A pocket square adds a splash of color and personality. The key is to coordinate it with your tie or shirt, but not match it exactly. Whether you go for a classic fold or a more flamboyant puff, ensure it complements your suit’s overall color scheme.
- Footwear and Belts: Shoes should be clean, polished, and appropriate for the occasion. Oxfords and brogues are timeless choices. The color of your belt should match your shoes to create a cohesive look.
- Watches and Cufflinks: A sleek, elegant watch can be a focal point of your outfit. Cufflinks add a touch of personal style and sophistication, especially in metal tones that complement your suit’s buttons.
The versatility of the double breasted suit makes it suitable for various occasions, but its styling should be adjusted accordingly.
- Formal Events: Stick to classic colors like navy or charcoal. Pair with a white shirt, a conservative tie, and polished black shoes. This is where the suit’s traditional elegance truly shines.
- Business Settings: Choose a suit in a subdued color and pair it with a light-colored shirt and a conservative tie. This look is professional yet stylish.
- Casual Occasions: For a more relaxed look, you can pair the double breasted jacket with dark jeans or chinos. Opt for lighter colors and fabrics, and feel free to skip the tie.
- Layering for Weather: In colder months, layer with a slim v-neck sweater underneath the suit. For outerwear, a tailored overcoat or a trench coat complements the double breasted suit’s formality.
Care and Maintenance
Proper care and maintenance are vital to ensure your double breasted suit stands the test of time.
- Storage: Use a sturdy hanger to maintain the suit’s shape and store it in a breathable garment bag to protect it from dust and moths.
- Cleaning: Limit dry cleaning to preserve the fabric’s integrity. For minor stains, spot cleaning is often sufficient. Regularly brush the suit with a soft garment brush to keep it fresh.
- Wrinkle Management: Invest in a good quality steamer to remove wrinkles without harming the fabric. Avoid ironing directly on the suit as it can cause shine and damage the material.
The double breasted suit is a masterpiece of men’s fashion, embodying elegance, authority, and style. By understanding its history, mastering its fit, selecting the right colors and patterns, and accessorizing appropriately, you can elevate your style quotient significantly. Remember, the key to pulling off any attire, especially something as classic as a double breasted suit, lies in wearing it with confidence and poise. Embrace this timeless piece and make it a cornerstone of your wardrobe.
We hope this guide inspires you to explore the world of double breasted suits with confidence. Share your styling experiences and photos with us, and join our community for more fashion insights and tips. Let’s continue to celebrate the enduring legacy of this classic style together!