Double or Single Breasted Suits?

Guide to Double or Single Breasted Jackets

A mens suit comes in one of two styles: single breasted or double breasted. The first has one row of buttons on one side with button holes on the other. The sides don’t overlap but are simply closed with all, but the lowest button. The double breasted suit on the other hand has two rows of buttons on each side. The sides overlap and some buttons are secured on the inside and the outside. Some buttons are not used at all and are purely decorative. Below are the pros and cons of each jacket style.

The Single Breasted Suit
The single breasted suit is the most common style. It is a good match for any office environment and dress code. If you are just starting to build your “professional” attire, then the first suit or two should be single-breasted. The single breasted suit comes in 2, 3 and 4 button styles. As a general rule, the more buttons and the shorter the lapels the more modern the suit will appear. Should you prefer a slightly more conservative look then the 2 or 3 button jacket is recommended.

As with every garment, the suit must fit correctly. Make sure that the suit jacket fits in the shoulder area. The length of the sleeves can be altered a minimum charge. Also consider the general cut of the suit. Thin, tall, and athletic men are best of wearing so called Italian suits – a style that is more tapered at the waist and therefore emphasizes the wearer’s body type. Bigger men on the other hand are better of wearing an “American” cut suit – a style that is less tapered and hangs straight down – hiding the wearer’s belly.

The Double Breasted Suit
Although this suit style is much less common nowadays it can still be, with some proper time investment, the perfect garment for some men. The double breasted construction of the suit adds a more formal touch – making this style perfect for black tie attire as well as other formal arrangements. In addition, because double breasted suits are more formal they should never be worn without neck-wear. Neckties, bow ties, or Ascots must be worn when choosing the double breasted suit.

Not every man can pull off the double breasted suit equally. Short and thinner men are among the ones that may want to stay away from the double breasted suit since the overlapping fabric at the front can make the wearer look shorter. Tall and bigger men on the other hand are perfect for the double breasted construction.

The double breasted suit should be accessorized with a form of tie as well as a handkerchief. Since the necktie should match the width of the lapel, double breasted suits should be worn with wider neckties that have a width of at least 3.75 inches. When considering a fold for the handkerchief we suggest one of the more classic styles such as the two, three, and four corner (also known as “crown” fold). For all common folding methods please also check out our instructions on: How to Fold a Handkerchief

You May Also Want to Read:
Mens Suit Styles
Necktie, Bolo, & Co

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