Double-breasted suits are back with a complete vengeance, and a lot of people love every bit of it. It’s an unimpeachable piece of art, and will always remain as such.

The modern double-breasted suits bring their wearers to new heights when it comes to stylistic expression. As a result, some have turned this suit into something that serves as their signature piece.

Today, the double-breasted look is considered by some experts to be the ultimate refined taste in gentleman’s apparel.

But, behind the sophisticated look, there’s a manifold of stylistic rules that you have to be familiar with. At least before you decide to buy one.

What is a Double-Breasted Suit?

The double-breasted suit has two parallel lines of buttons, along with overlapping front flaps. Most double-breasted suit jackets have between one and four button-rows, but only one or two are used.

Additionally, there is a button located inside the jacket, called the anchor or jigger. It helps keep the jacket closed. The left lapel generally folds over the right lapel.

Higher armholes and trimmer sleeves characterize the modern version of the double-breasted suit. It creates a sharper and cleaner look.

It also comes with a slimmer fit, which creates a modern, subtler silhouette. These suits’ broad peak lapels also create an impression of having a wider chest, while focusing the eyes up for an illusion that gives height.

What is a double-breasted suit?

The double-breasted fashion became popular in the period between the mid-1930s until the late 1950s. It experienced a revival from the mid-1980s until the beginning of 2000.

Today, the modern market has successfully adopted them (again). The double-breasted look might be considered more formal than the single-breasted, but is acceptable in almost every work environment.

Single-Breasted vs. Double-Breasted Suits

A double-breasted suit is naturally dressier compared to its single-breasted sibling. These suits have often been connected with 90’s investment bankers or 40’s mobsters in the past. However, things have changed now.

One significant difference between the double-breasted and the single-breasted suit is the level of formality. The double-breasted suit is generally accepted as being more formal than the single-breasted suit.

Single vs. double-breasted suit

The most striking characteristic of the double-breasted suit is two columns of buttons. It also has wide panels of fabric at the front of the jacket.

In contrast, the single-breasted suit has between one and three buttons at the front of the blazer. A double-breasted suit can come with anywhere between four to eight buttons.

The single-breasted suit can have a shawl, notch, or peaked lapel. The double-breasted suit, on the other hand, can only be found with shawl or peak lapels. The peak lapel is by far the norm.

How to Wear the Double-Breasted Suit

The trick to pulling off wearing any double-breasted suit, or any suit for that matter, is the correct fit. The double-breasted suit is extremely versatile.

It can be worn to a business meeting, job interview, date night, wedding, funeral, church, or theatre.

Where to Wear

A black or blue pinstripe double-breasted suit is the perfect way to be taken seriously in a business meeting. A red or blue tie and brown loafers complete this power-look.

Double-breasted blue pinstriped suit

A grey double-breasted suit jacket with matching pants is the ideal way to dress for a business interview. Wear this with a clean Oxford shirt. It will leave you feeling classy and professional.

For a date night, a slightly casual double-breasted jacket is a good choice. It can be worn to most date venues, whether it is a fancy restaurant or a cocktail bar.

A double-breasted tux is ideal for a wedding. It is one of the most formal ways the double-breasted suit can be worn. Match with a black tie and Oxfords to leave you looking classy and polished.

A white double-breasted suit is a bold choice that works well for many formal occasions, too. Dark loafers and a black handkerchief will complete your look and leave you feeling sophisticated and ultra classy.

Achieving the Correct Fit

Old-school double-breasted suits had a boxy fit and long, wide panels. Modern double-breasted suits are far more form-fitting, with high armholes, fitted sleeves.

How should a double-breasted suit fit?

This creates shoulders that look natural, rather than bulky. Pleated pants with cuffs have long been the traditional traits of the double-breasted look.

But today’s double-breasted suit pants are simpler and more streamlined. It makes them a better match for the slim cut jacket. Many modern double-breasted suits come with trousers without pleats and cuffs.

The proper fit should have more than a fist-width of extra space at the front of the jacket. The bottom hemline should end at your hip. Your trousers should not cover your shoes, but they also shouldn’t expose your whole ankle.

30 suit basics on how to fit your suit

A general rule for ensuring the correct fit is that the suit should be comfortable and not feel restrictive. It should feel comfortable when you bend your legs or arms.

However, it shouldn’t feel too baggy either, with no loose fabric hanging around your body. If you’re having problems finding a good fit, try different sizes, or visit a tailor.

A lot of high-end suit retailers will take your exact measurements to determine the perfect fit for your body shape and size.

Tips for Wearing Double-Breasted Suits

The double-breasted suit should never be left unbuttoned, or you’ll forfeit the slim, sleek look. Just the same, you should never do up the bottom buttons of a double-breasted suit.

When sitting down, always undo the buttons of your suit for extra comfort. It will leave you feeling less restricted and more comfortable.

Modern double-breasted suits have a smaller overlap and more comfortable fabrics than the traditional variation. It means they can still look good unbuttoned when you are seated.

different types of suit fabrics

Avoid shiny buttons and extravagant trimmings as they can make you look like more like an admiral, rather than a sophisticated businessman.

An additional factor to watch out for is the size of the lapels. Oversized lapels are old-fashioned. For a modern look, smaller and more humble lapels are preferable.

Remember, your double-breasted suit is already making a statement. It’s usually enough to pair it with a neutral, simple shirt and tie.

Advantages of the Double-Breasted Suit

One of the main benefits of the look is that it makes your shoulders appear wider. This is due to the peaked lapels, which create the illusion of broader shoulders.

The buttons also create horizontal lines, which adds to the effect. Men who are already big or have broad shoulders can diminish the wide impact by altering the buttons’ position.

Types of Double-Breasted Suits by Number of Buttons

Double-breasted suits can be differentiated by the number of buttons they have.

There is a 6×1 suit, a 6×2 suit, a 4×1 suit, and a 4×2 suit. The first numeral shows the number of buttons on the jacket, and the second numeral indicates how many buttons can be done up.

Double-breasted 6x2 suit

Double-breasted 6×2 button suit

The 6×2 suit is traditional and goes well with more conventional fabrics and accessories. It’s considered more conservative, which makes it perfect as business attire.

I love this option. It’s clean, straightforward, and makes a powerful statement. The only thing to be aware of is that these types of suits can sometimes appear bulky.

Double-breasted 6x1 suit

Double-breasted 6×1 button suit

The 6×1 suit, in contrast, fastens on the bottom row. This way, the jacket opens more across the chest, which makes it slimmer. The result is a wider lapel and greater freedom of movement

It still comes with six buttons, though, just like the 6×2 suit. Buttons are placed slightly higher on the jacket so that the lowest button is in horizontal alignment with the pockets.

Double-breasted 4x2 suit

Double-breasted 4×2 button suit

The 4×2 suit is rare. It has fewer buttons, which gives it a cleaner, less bulky appearance than suits with six buttons.

This button option is newer than the others. Many Italian-style double-breasted suits are produced as such- an excellent option for data nights and non-business occasions.

Double-breasted 4x1 suit

Double-breasted 4×1 button suit

The 4×1 suit has top buttons spaced further apart, and the lapel is usually longer. This further decreases the bulkiness of the suit.

Just like the 6×1, double-breasted 4×1 suits fastens on the bottom row. The top-row buttons are slightly apart, but the bottom row should be perfectly aligned with the jacket pockets.

Double-Breasted Suits – Color Combinations

There are various color combinations for double-breasted suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. Let’s cover some of the basics here:

The Color Basics

The navy-blue suit is seen as a staple and can be paired with almost any color. It makes it easy to mix and match with different shirt and tie options.

As we’ve mentioned often, a navy double-breasted suit and white shirt match perfectly. This combo looks great with a solid-colored tie. Navy suits are frequently paired with light blue shirts and an eye-catching tie.

For a grey double-breasted suit, the white shirt is again an absolute classic. This combination is extremely versatile and can be matched with a wide variety of tie colors. Think of James Bond, and you’ll have the perfect example of a man who can pull off this elegant look.

Black double-breasted suits are often paired with white shirts and black ties. This neutral combination will be appropriate for any event, whether it is a wedding, funeral, or business meeting.

While unusual, a brown suit can be paired with a light blue shirt. This is a tricky combination to find a tie for, as the shade of brown is paramount. When in doubt, a navy tie is generally a reliable option.

Single Color Scheme

One excellent option is to match different shades of the same color for your suit, shirt, and tie. For example, a navy-blue suit can be paired with a pastel blue shirt and a blue tie.

Analog Color Scheme

Alternatively, an analog color scheme involves colors that occupy related positions on the color wheel. A pink shirt can be paired with a red tie, for instance.

Contrasting Color Scheme

In the contrasting color scheme, colors that are three categories apart on the color wheel are mixed and matched. In this method, a darker variation of the selected color is generally more pleasing to the eye. It is why a red tie is always a great choice to wear with a navy-blue suit.

Complementary Color Scheme

In a complementary color scheme, shades that are opposite each other on the color wheel are paired together. You can wear a blue suit with an orange tie, for example.

Pinstriped Double-Breasted Suits

Once traditionally worn by bankers and perhaps corporate lawyers. Now, pinstripes have become “en vogue” for a whole array of occupations, occasions, and events.

It’s the width of the pinstripe that affects how narrow or wide you appear. Tight pinstripes can create the illusion of height. On the other hand, pinstripes that are far apart, give the appearance of more width.

Pinstriped double breasted suit

A double-breasted pinstripe suit is already dressy and classy. So you don’t have to go overboard with accessories or embellishments.

If you’re unsure, check out some well-known suit brands. Looking at how their models handle the look can go a long way to inspiring your wardrobe. It can also give you a better idea of the kind of style you will feel most comfortable with.

Besides, you can play around with the pinstripe tradition by wearing it over a plain t-shirt. Just make sure you’re at the kind of event where breaking the rules is considered appropriate.

Mastering the Double-Breasted Suits Look

Buying your first double-breasted suit can be a challenge. Especially if you’re taking the first plunge into the fascinating world of refined men’s apparel.

Good quality material and fit are indeed keys to choosing any suit. But with the double-breasted, there is a lot to watch out for if you want to master the style.

Alone the options for the number of button rows and lapels are many. Getting them right is essential for you to feel comfortable and confident.

Wearing a double-breasted suit means you are already stepping up in the fashion world, which is why you should start by dressing the look down, rather than dressing it up.

Choose accessories sparingly, and don’t try to be too brash from the get-go. Style is a matter of taste and personal preference. And like in a lot of areas of life, less is often more.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Indeed, the double-breasted suits have made its way from the elite men’s group. They have become a mainstream demonstration of power in recent years.

It is also a great way to give attention to your physique, thus making a bold fashion statement.

The double-breasted suit will always make you look more formal than the single-breasted. It can be worn in the office, to a wedding, a funeral, and even a night at the theatre.

So you’re guaranteed to get a big bang for your buck. And remember, modern double-breasted may be more streamlined and form-fitting than traditional designs.

Nevertheless, you should always take care to choose an appropriate color and style for the nature of the event.

Alexander Stoicoff
Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized style in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.

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