Double-breasted vs single-breasted suits - The Inside Pocket

Here’s how to work out which you should invest in.

DOUBLE-BREASTED VS SINGLE-BREASTED SUITS

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE AND WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU WEAR?
• WORDS: A. FOZZARD

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 you should invest in.

SINGLE-BREASTED OR DOUBLE-BREASTED? WHAT HISTORY SAYS

The 1920s kicked off the competition 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.

WHAT ARE DOUBLE-BREASTED SUITS LIKE TODAY?

Thankfully, suits tailored today are much sharper. They’re shorter and have a narrower waist, especially if you go for a slim fit. 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 usually only one or two-button fastenings on the more minimalist styles.

In short: single and double-breasted suits are level pegging in the style stakes now. Both are sharp, both are stylish.

WHEN SHOULD YOU WEAR A SINGLE-BREASTED OR DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT?

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 smart-wear 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 you could definitely hold your head high in a double-breasted suit at the office.

HOW TO WEAR A DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT

Follow these three rules and you’ll look stylish and feel confident in your double-breasted suit.

CHOOSE A GREAT CUT
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 make it less formal by wearing just the jacket with a different pair of tailored trousers and a knitted jumper.