Fear not the double-breasted suit !

Fear not the double-breasted suit !

The 6 on 2 has 6 buttons, including 2 breast buttons that are slightly offset to follow the line on the peak lapels


For almost two years, PG has been advocating for a full force return of the double-breasted suit in your closet, as it is a very elegant and (flatteringly so) alternative to the single-breasted.In the last edition of The Rake, Bruce G. Boyer, who we consider the safest author in terms of taste and interpretation of masculine vestiaries, decidedly grabs the bull by the horns to put an end to a number of misconceptions and rules restricting these splendid suits to certain body shapes.

Without getting into all the details of the excellent article titled Double Indemnity, Mr. Boyer explains that no gentleman should fear the double-breasted suit because of his body shape, and that “if you like it, wear it”!The only restriction suggested by this rather rejoicing (even blissful) plea in favour of the double breasted suit pertains to the quality of the cut. Indeed, if one item of the masculine vestiary should never suffer approximate cutting, it is the double breasted suit. When not properly fitted, it can quickly lead to visual disaster. Meanwhile, as the interest of ready-to-wear labels for this type of suit seems to be gaining momentum, it is undoubtedly becoming possible (with a good tailor, but except in high-end houses, especially not the shop tailor), to adjust the line and fitting of your suit. According to Boyer, only men with exceptionally wide hips ought to avoid the double-breasted suit.

So, for once, go ahead and bypass the so-called rules barring a little bit of extra-weight to venture with this type of cut, and let your eyes (for the line) and feel (for comfort and stance) do the judging when you don your first double-breasted suit.

This strong return of the DB suit calls for a few pointers that will help you decipher the various ways of wearing it. Here again, contrary to widespread belief, very many models of double breasted suits exist, although all were not created equal. What differentiates them is most often the number of buttons and, most importantly, the number of so-called functioning buttons.

Personally, I have a strong preference for the classic 6 on 2 button stance, with 2 functioning buttons out of 6, as shown above.Following are two other examples of the 6 on 2.

The second most common button stance is the 6 on 1, with 6 buttons (similarly placed as those on the 6 on 2), with only the bottom functioning. The result is more casual and tends to elongate the silhouette. See for yourself:

Outside of these two classics, numerous other combinations are sometimes elegant, and sometimes, as you will see, far more debatable.Here is an example of the 4 on 1, with 1 functioning button out of 4.

Then comes the 4 on 2, with 2 active buttons out of 4 (which requires the 4 buttons to be aligned, unlike the 4 on 1 above). The effect is quite casual, and all 4 buttons must be perfectly aligned.

Some labels even offer a 2 on 1: two horizontally aligned buttons, including one that can be buttoned.

Others go as far as creating 6 on 3s, with 3 active buttons out of 6, which is not exactly to our taste here at PG.

The last variation is quite well executed. It is a classic 6 on 2, but with the twist of perfectly aligning the two top buttons, as shown below.

Ultimately, it all boils town to personal taste. There are no "right" or "wrong" choices here. Trust your eyes, examine what you see and, above all, do not listen to the advices of RTW salesmen who will always attempt to make you believe that the suit he chose for you to try on fits you like a glove (a tough order for a RTW double-breasted suit before alterations).

And if you wish to embark on this journey while mitigating risk, we can only recommend you start with a classic, namely the very elegant 6 on 2.

Cheers, HUGO

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