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A Gentleman’s Guide to the Double-Breasted Blazer

  • Najib Benouar

The double-breasted blazer is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, so we’ve drawn up a little map for your venture into double-wide territory. Of course, the first rule is the same as always: wear it with bombast. Here are the others.

Keep It In Proportion One of the advantages of the look is to emphasize the width of your shoulders, especially compared to your waist. But you don't want to overdo it, so we recommend keeping the shoulder pads as lightly stuffed as possible. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a linebacker in a suit, or a cartoon mobster.

Everything in Moderation The double-breast is enough flare to stand on its own, so you’ll want to keep the lapel in check (nothing too big) and stick to a subdued pattern (a chalk-stripe or nothing at all). Introducing a loud pattern will result in unwanted business. Remember, you’re harkening back to a classic style. That means 1890’s not 1990’s.

To Vent or Not to Vent We prefer the British cut: a peak lapel and two vents to allow for casual hand-pocketing. The length should land about mid-palm. The German style is completely ventless, but that means the jacket will rumple up the moment you put your hands in your pockets. You’ve been warned.

On to the Buttons You’ll find either six buttons or for buttons. Six is a bit more ostentatious, but there's nothing wrong with either. Mostly, if the number is six, the top two never fall into the equation. Ignore them. Button the middle button on your right (the top right on a four-button blazer) and leave it be for a casual-but-debonair drape. The result plays well with anything from flannel trousers to selvage denim.

Bonus Round: A Brief History The term “classic navy blazer” you always hear thrown around actually refers to a double-breasted. It was the original dress coat for British Naval officers, first worn by the crew of HMS Blazer when Queen Victoria popped in for a visit in 1837—which also answers years of ponderings over the word “blazer”.

Now go forth in style.