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The difference between a double-breasted suit jacket and a single-breasted one is that the double-breasted jacket has a greater crossover of the front panels,which are adorned with two columns of buttons rather than a single column. A double breasted suit typically has six buttons at the front, in two columns of three. The buttons should be the same color as the suit. Most commonly the columns of buttons are parallel, but on some jackets they can be slightly diagonal to align with the lapels. Double-breasted suits are considered more formal than single-breasted suits, and cannot be appropriated as casual wear (the casual adaption of the double-breasted suit jacket is the pea coat).
Double-breasted jackets suit every man
Provided you have an appropriately tailored suit, you can pull off double-breasted no matter what your build. The jacket has to sit well, especially around the shoulders and waist, and be just the right size – too tight makes you look like a stuffed sausage, too loose and you look like a little kid playing dress-ups. If you’re short, consider getting a jacket made with columns of only two buttons, conversely if you are particularly tall, you could get a jacket with columns of four. A double-breasted suit can add bulk to a slim man because of the detail added by the buttons. A thick material may be in order if you still look too small. It’s difficult to go wrong with double-breasted suit if you are of a medium or larger build.
What to pair with your suit jacket
Unlike single-breasted jackets which can be paired with jeans for a casual and trendy look, double-breasted jackets need to be worn over a shirt and tie, and matched with suit pants and dress shoes, to be carried off well. Part of the cuffs of your shirt should be visible at the ends of your jacket sleeves, in order to break up the heavy look of a double-breasted jacket. A light-colored shirt for contrast is best. Be sparing with jewelry, as you will look and feel too heavy.
A double-breasted jacket has more fabric than its single-breasted counterpart and has more detail with its extra column of buttons and wider front panels, so too many accessories can be overwhelming. There are few ways to express your individual style in a double-breasted jacket, other than the color of your shirt and tie. However, the suit itself is enough of a fashion statement, as it is unusual to see a man wearing a double-breasted suit at a time when single-breasted suits are everywhere.
Where to wear it
Double-breasted suits are far more authoritive and formal than your run-of-the-mill single-breasted suit. Formal occasions like weddings and work functions are appropriate setting for a double-breasted suit. If the dress code is smart casual and you’re contemplating whether or not you should wear a suit at all, it’s best not to opt for double-breasted if you don’t want to be too overdressed.