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Your guide to double-breasted in cooperation with Gentlemanualen
Few, if any items have such iconic status in the male tailored wardrobe as the double-breasted blazer and suit. Originating in the military uniform, the double-breasted has come to define classic men's fashion for the past 150 years.
The widespread introduction of the suit in the 1870s was met with great skepticism by many. It was considered a casual garment for everyday use in an era characterized by festive garments. The double-breasted jacket, which had many earlier similarities to the peacoat or skipper's jacket worn by sailors, was characterized by double rows of buttons and an overlapping front piece. The buttoning still differs today between men's and women's jackets in that the wearer's left front piece (where the breast pocket is located) is at the end of a men's jacket, while a woman's jacket has the right end.
Ett av de vanligaste argumenten för att klassiskt herrmode skulle klassas som tidlöst är att grunden i plaggen varit mer eller mindre oförändrade de senaste 100 åren. Proportioner, knäppning och silhuett har givetvis gått i cykler men det rör sig snarare om mindre estetiska detaljer så som slagens bredd, axelns uppbyggnad eller kavajens längd. Den kanske tydligaste skillnaden som definierats i form av trender har handlat om kavajens knäppning som vi skall titta lite närmare på här.
I en klassisk dubbelknäppt kavaj har man vanligtvis två fungerande knapprader samt en dekorativ. Det innebär att den nedersta samt mittersta knappraden kan knäppas medan de två dekorativa knappar som placerats i brösthöjd syftar mer till att skapa symmetri och balans till plaggets helhet.
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The most common way to button a double-breasted jacket is thus on the middle row. It is traditionally placed at a height to define the wearer's natural waist and provide an hourglass-shaped flattering silhouette. Opinions are divided as to whether the wearer should also button the bottom button (something you should never do on a single-breasted blazer) but we advocate leaving it unbuttoned even on double-breasted blazers to give as natural a fall over the hip as possible. This blazer buttoning is often referred to as 6x2 and where 6 refers to the total number of buttons and 2 to the number of functional rows. Throughout history, however, we can see several eras where the norm for how to wear double breasted has changed. During both the 30s, but perhaps above all the late 80s, the norm shifted towards the jacket being buttoned only on the lower row of buttons, which gives a deeper cut and the impression of a longer upper body. This type of buttoning is instead called 6x1 according to the same logic as only the bottom row can be buttoned.
To further complicate the issue, we have the category of double-breasted blazers that the Italians often refer to as transformable, i.e. which can be transformed and worn both as 6x2 and 6x1. This is because you have a straighter cut of the lapel, softer pressing and adapted placement of the rows of buttons, which means that the wearer can simply vary between the two options.
Double-breasted blazers have historically always been worn buttoned, as the overlapping fabric risks giving an unflattering silhouette, but this too has changed. With a modern cut, you can effectively dress down a double-breasted blazer by simply wearing it unbuttoned.
Which versions and colours are easiest to wear in a double-breasted design? As a proper suit, the same conditions apply as single-breasted, but if you want to get maximum use and versatility in just one jacket, we advocate above all the dark blue or, perhaps a little unexpected, the white. In this case it's easier with fabrics that have a lot of structure, such as linen, which can easily serve as both a jacket, trousers or a proper suit, depending on the situation. A soft construction in the shoulder is also preferable if you want to be able to wear the jacket more freely. To illustrate this, we have chosen to photograph a double-breasted suit in three different ways.
The white linen suit is perhaps the most distinguished with its light shade, and here we chose to match it with casual items such as a striped t-shirt and velvet slippers. The next step is to break out the white double-breasted blazer and combine it with dark blue trousers or a pair of jeans and, in this case, a more casual shirt. Last but not least, we dress up the white linen blazer, which can act as a white tuxedo jacket during the black tie parties of the summer months. Important here is that the other details of the attire are the same as in a traditional tuxedo, i.e. black trousers, white tuxedo shirt and black bow tie.