How to Wear a Double Breasted Jacket

How to Wear a Double Breasted Jacket

10 May 2021

The double-breasted jacket is more popular than ever and we couldn’t be happier. A time-honored wardrobe stable, the double-breasted jacket has proven to stand the test of time and is sure to remain popular for both formal and informal events alike.

What is a double-breasted jacket?

The term ‘double-breasted’ refers to a coat or jacket with two parallel columns of buttons and overlapping front flaps. The typical double-breasted jacket has one to four rows of buttons, but only one or two of these rows are functional. A ‘number-on-number’ structure is used to describe the construction of a specific jacket (the first number refers to the total number of buttons and the second number refers to the number of fastening buttons below the lapel). Traditionally, double-breasted jacket lapels are peaked, and the left lapel fastens over the right.

The origins of the double-breasted jacket

Buttons and buttonholes came into fashion during the 13th and 14th centuries, when tailored clothing replaced draped and pinned clothing, such as cloaks. This new fashion required a row of buttons to hold the inner and outer layers of fabric together. To maintain the symmetry of the garment, a matching row of buttons was added on the opposite side of the jacket.

The double-breasted jacket was loosely modeled after the naval reefer jacket, commonly called a pea coat, and was made popular by the Prince of Whales in the 1920s and 30s. Although they moved to the background over the last century, this timeless and flattering style has come back with a vengeance.

How many buttons does a double-breasted jacket have?

Based on your build and preferred style, a double-breasted jacket uses a variety of button configurations, including 4×1, 4×2, and 6×2 (the first number represents the number of visible buttons and the second is the number of buttons that actually fasten). The button position, overlap distance between the front panels, and lapel proportions can all be modified to your personal preference, style, and body measurements.

Single Breasted  Double Breasted 
1, 2, or 3 buttons (in a single row) 2, 4, or 6 buttons (in two symmetrical rows)
Most common 2 buttons Most common 2-4 buttons
Notch, peak, or shawl lapels  Peak or shawls lapels
Notch lapels most common Peak lapels most common
                                     double-breasted jacket

How to wear a double-breasted jacket?

As a comfortable alternative to single-breasted jackets, the double-breasted blazer can be worn anywhere a single-breasted jacket is worn. Although considered more dapper than a single-breasted, the double-breasted jacket can be worn to the office, out to dinner, or to any other informal event. There are two trains of thought when it comes to wearing a double-breasted jacket:

  • Let the suit do the talking: the jacket is a statement in and of itself, so when wearing one for dressier occasions, such as a wedding, keep your shirt and tie combo relatively simple with basic patterns or solid colors.
  • Go big and bold: When the occasion allows for it, pair your bespoke jacket with bold colors and patterns for your tie, shirt, pocket square, and even socks.


However, there are a few things to consider before you wear your jacket:

    • Tailor your jacket to ensure the perfect fit, and don’t forget the pocket square.
    • Peak your lapels to accentuate your shoulders.
    • Never button the bottom button to ensure you don’t wreck the lines of the jacket.
    • Keep it simple, as the double-breasted jacket is a statement piece.
    • When in doubt, stick to 6 buttons.
    • Dress it up with a french cuff.

Collars & Cuff Bespoke Suits

At Collars & Cuffs, we take pride in combining decades of craftsmanship with a truly immersive and one-of-a-kind experience. Designed and crafted by master tailors with over twenty years of experience, our custom-made suits and bespoke jackets are entirely customizable to your personal taste, body, style, and personality.

The C&C process begins with our client concierge introducing you to the world of bespoke styles and fabrics and ends with an impeccably tailored suit that speaks to your exact taste and fits your body perfectly. For your safety and convenience, we currently offer a traveling tailor service where we attend to all your wardrobe needs from the comfort of your home or office.

Contact a member of our team to schedule your complimentary appointment.