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Everything You Should Know About Double-Breasted Suits

As a man, if you don’t have a suit yet, you’re still a million miles away from becoming that classic gentleman. A suit is one wardrobe essential every man should have. Whether you’re fitting out for a wedding, job interview, or date, a single or double-breasted suit can make all the difference. But, finding the right suit can be challenging, especially when you don’t know the type of suit to go for and how to style it.

a black double-breasted suit jacket

But if a double-breasted suit is your choice, in this post we’ll delve into the world of this ensemble, showing you when and how to style it to perfection. What’s more? You’ll also learn more about this suit type, including what distinguishes it from regular suits, their history and everything else that’ll transform you into a suit connoisseur

Ready? Let’s dive in.

The Refined Appeal of Double-Breasted Suits

a suit from Vardo

The double-breasted suit has been a wardrobe staple of men for decades. Its distinguished and sophisticated appearance makes it a favorite for formal occasions, business settings, and societal events. 

The signature look of this blazer-like jacket is the two columns of buttons in the front. This second column was introduced to add balance to suits. They are solely aesthetic and not functional. However, these jackets usually have a functional inner button, known as jigger or anchor button, hidden on the inside opposite the main fastening column to strengthen the fastening from the inside.

In addition, double-breasted suit jackets or blazers usually have one to four rows with two buttons each. They use a ‘number-on-number’ structure to describe the construction of a particular jacket. In this case, the first number is the total number of buttons and the second number is the number of fastening buttons below the lapel.

Furthermore, most modern DB coats, have decorative buttons on one column while the other column is functional. Also, the other buttons, which are placed on the outer edge of the coat breast, allow for reversible fastening of the overlap (left lapel over right lapel).

Origin of Double-Breasted Suits

white double-breasted suit jacket

This style of suit jacket is a timeless classic that has been in vogue for centuries. It originated in England in the early 19th century and has been worn by notable men in history such as James Bond and Winston Churchill. 

During this time, it was mostly worn as frock coats before progressing to become military/naval uniforms with the design serving a practical purpose. For instance, the overlapping panels and multiple rows of buttons provided more warmth and protection against harsh weather conditions.

As time progressed, this military-inspired double-breasted style got into civilian fashion. From being called a ‘reefer jacket’ because of its nautical background, it became a symbol of power and sophistication. We have people like the then Duke of Windsor whose constant double-breasted outfits contributed to the acceptance of this jacket on all occasions. There and then, other influential men in business, politics, and entertainment donned this suit. Since the style exuded an aura of aplomb and authority, it became popular among people who aimed to make a strong, lasting impression.

Today, the double-breasted suit has since returned and is more popular than ever.

Anatomy of the Double-Breasted Suit

ash-colored double-breasted suit jacket

These are the major components of this suit style:


The number of buttons on a double-breasted suit differs. But popular configurations may have four buttons in total (two on each side), six buttons (three on each side), or even eight buttons (four on each side). 

Front Closure of a Double-Breasted Suit

This is the defining characteristic of a DB suit. It comprises two columns of buttons, with one side overlapping the other. This unique design creates a striking asymmetrical appearance that distinguishes it from single-breasted suits.

Vents of a Double-Breasted Suit

These suits may have vents (slits) at the sides or center of the jacket. They may also have no vents at all. But side vents are the most common slits for DBs. They make it easy to move about while giving you a well-tailored fit.


DB suits typically have peak or notch lapels. Peak lapels extend upward and outward, adding a touch of suave formality to the suit. On the other hand, notch lapels are versatile enough to be worn in different settings. Hence, they’re a popular choice for anyone who seeks a balance between classic and contemporary style.

How Should a Doube-Breasted Suit Fit?

an image showing how a double-breasted suit should fit

Photo Credit: Suits Expert

You won’t look good and feel confident in a DB suit if you don’t achieve the perfect fit. So, when checking for fit, consider these:

Shoulder Fit

The shoulder seams of your suit jacket should align with your natural shoulder line for a clean and tailored look.

Chest Fit

The suit should close comfortably without pulling or wrinkling around the chest area. Furthermore, aim for a snug rather than a tight fit.

Waist Fit

The waist of the suit jacket should be tailored to fit your body shape. Also, it should provide a flattering silhouette while supporting easy movement.

Button Fit of a Double-Breasted Suit

Always fasten the interior stomach button which holds the underside front panel in place (so it doesn’t droop down at the hemline). This button can be a little dicey to fasten, but a pro tip is to ensure the button itself lies flat against your stomach.

Sleeve Length of a Double-Breasted Suit

For a touch of sophistication, the jacket sleeves should reveal a small part of your dress shirt cuff when your arms are relaxed at your sides.

Jacket Length of a Double-Breasted Suit

A DB jacket should be a tad longer than a single-breasted suit to avoid looking “boxy” and extend the silhouette. Furthermore, the back panel should drop slightly below the bottom of the seat, and the front should go beyond the crotch line of your pants.


The midsection of your double-breasted jacket should be as trim as possible without pulling at the button. Essentially, it should give you the same slimming effects you’d get from a slim-fit single-breasted jacket. In addition, the button stance should be aligned with the smallest part of your torso for maximum cinching of your waist.

Who Should Wear a Double-Breasted Suit Jacket

a man wear pin stripped double-breasted suit jacket

This suit style favors certain body types more than others. For instance, leaner men tend to look better in a DB suit, especially if it’s one with wider lapels and a longer jacket. It helps to create the illusion of a broader chest and shoulders. So, if you’re already broad the DB structure will widen your look, thus creating an unsightly appearance.

But if you have the body for it, feel free to don this suit. It’s excellent at emphasizing broad shoulders/narrow waist, giving the illusion of a V-silhouette often considered the ideal male shape.

Who Should Not Wear Double-Breasted Suits?

a classic man in a double-breasted suit

While anyone can wear a double-breasted jacket and look awesome, they look best on tall guys. So if you’re a short guy, this cut may not suit you right. But, whether you’re short, tall, or in between, a pro tip to looking good in a DB suit is to ensure the jacket doesn’t extend too far below your belt.

Where to Wear a Double-Breasted Suit

A man wearing a dark green double-breasted suit jacket

Double-breasted suits are versatile and suitable for any of these settings:

Business Settings

If you want to make a strong and professional impression during corporate occasions, don a double-breasted suit. It helps exude authority, confidence, and attention to detail, thus elevating your personality.

Formal Events

For weddings, galas, black-tie events, red carpets, etc., a well-tailored double-breasted suit is an excellent choice. Its timeless elegance and classic lines give you that impeccable air of sophistication.

Casual Elegance

Though these suits are more suited for formal occasions, you can also wear them for casual events. For this, consider pairing it with a turtleneck or an open-collar dress shirt and a pair of chinos trousers. It adds a touch of smartness to your laidback fit.

The general rule of thumb when choosing occasions for this suit is to wear them anywhere you’d wear a single-breasted suit. 

What You Need to Complete a DB Suit Outfit

A man wearing a DB

Styling a DB suit goes beyond sartorial competence to imbibing some suave aesthetics. This works by combining the suit with:


Choose a dress shirt that complements the suit’s color and style. While you can never go wrong with white shirts, don’t be scared to experiment with patterns and textures for a unique look. But if you don’t want to wear a dress shirt, go for a turtleneck; it works too. 


Your double-breasted suit will work best with pants in a matching or coordinating color. You can opt for flat-front tapered pants, pleated trousers, gathered waists, or high-waisted pants depending on your preference and how formal the occasion is.


A neck or bow tie gives you that put-together look. You can go for a solid color that matches your jacket or try out bolder textures depending on your style intent.

Footwear for Your Double-Breasted Suit

Be careful when choosing your shoes as they can not only break or make your ensemble but also influence the overall formality. A pro tip is to wear Oxford shoes, loafers, and other dress shoes for men. They provide a debonair finish to your outfit.

Accessories for Men

Your outfit is never complete without the necessary accessories punctuating them. So, don’t forget to add cufflinks, a wristwatch, a belt, a pocket square, sunglasses, or a hat, depending on the occasion. They step up your personality and give your ensemble a refined look.

But while at this ensure your chosen accessories match the color palette of your suit.

How to Wear a Double-Breasted Suit Like a Classic Man

Michael B Jordan in a red double-breasted suit

Consider the Lower Button of Your Double-Breasted Suit

When you fasten the lower button, your lapel looks longer and gives you an illusion of height if you aren’t tall. In general, the double-breasted jacket shouldn’t be left unbuttoned. However, the only exception to this rule is the bottom button on your right side. You can either leave it buttoned or unbuttoned.

But there are contrary views on how to fasten a DB. Some styling experts say you keep your double-breasted jacket buttoned when seated. This is necessary because, as Permanent Style shared, DB overlaps at the front. And when it’s not buttoned, it leaves excess material at the front that flaps and hangs loose.

On the other hand, other stylists advise you not to fasten the last button. For instance, Tatyana Kozhevnikova while writing for Artefact London, opined you leave the bottom button of a DB unfastened so the fabric drapes freely and allows for free movement..

As I believe, there are no rules in fashion. What we have are guidelines to help you create and curate better outfits. So, go with what works for you so long as you achieve the goal of creating a sleek ensemble.

Keep Your Double-Breasted Suit Simple

The DB is a statement on its own. So there’s no need to go overboard especially when headed for formal or business events. If you’re a fan of minimalism, stick to solid dark or neutral colors or thin pinstripes or windowpane patterns. For more subtlety, match your tie with the color of your jacket or shirt. Generally, avoid heavy colors or patterns unless they’re your thing. And if that’s the case, the next tip works for you. 

Go Bold a Bit

This works in two ways: you either wear a bold-colored DB or opt for an eye-grabbing accessory. Say a tie or pocket square, so it pops out when you dress up

Give Your Bottoms a Twist

On rare occasions, pull up a magnificent wardrobe stunt by pairing your DB jacket with a nice pair of shorts. So unlikely, right? But it works. And you can add a hat to further polish your laidback, formal attire.

Consider Your Body Type

Understanding the mechanics of styling a DB can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. But one of the easiest ways to find the perfect suit is to consider your body type and go for what suits it.

A Tailored Double-Breasted Suit Works Best Always

a suave man rocking a double-breasted suit

A double-breasted suit is supposed to fit and flatter your body by contouring your natural lines. It should sit snug around the hips and wide at the shoulders without causing wrinkling or pulling on the fabric. But if you take a wide guess instead of getting a tailored suit, you may not achieve a clean drape that accentuates your body’s natural form.

So aim for a well-fitted sartorial elegance otherwise you risk having a jacket sloppy at the midsection. And the only way to achieve this is by working with an expert tailor.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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