Gent Hints – The Double-Breasted Suit Jacket

Denzel Washington – GQ – Nathaniel Goldberg

This past Saturday, I had the distinct honor of speaking and presenting at the 2012 Man of Style & Scholarship Weekend Conference, which was held at Marygrove College here in Detroit, Michigan. Speaking to a group of young African-American students; my presentation focused on image, dress, self-esteem, and behavior. After the conference was finished, a few young men stayed afterwards to pose a few questions. One question that stuck out pertained to the double-breasted suit jacket. Now, this young gentleman was all of 17 or 18 years old. And I understand that style is all a matter of taste. But, if there is one particular item in a gentleman’s closet that screams age appropriate, the double-breasted suit jacket would be it. When executed properly, the resulting presentation can be incredible. If there is a crucial misstep, one could be viewed as a pretender. Look, double-breasted jackets can be hard to pull off. A gentleman runs the risk of trying to look older when he really isn’t, or trying to convey power when he has none. Nevertheless, if you have the power and confidence required for such a task, go right ahead young Jedi. Just make sure you keep these tips in mind.

  • Double-breasted jackets are meant to have a dynamic fit throughout the mid-section, extra material will only make you look boxy and frumpy.
  • Button options: contemporary tastes favor 4 or 6 buttons. If you are wearing a 4 button, fasten the top right button; or button the middle right button if you are rocking a 6 button jacket.
  • And speaking of buttons, keep the darn thing buttoned! It’s not designed to wear open. You diminish its swagger if you do.
  • But, if you must, open it up from time to time for a rakish, casual flair.
  • A dark jacket is always classic for business occasions, while lighter alternates move into more casual waters.
  • And if you are venturing into casual waters, don’t be afraid to pair your double-breasted with a pair of dark jeans. Now, that’s a gutsy move right there!
  • Watch the peak lapels, the tip of your lapels should approximately reach the middle region of your shoulders.
  • A double-breasted jacket is a bold statement enough, so don’t get too wild with the patterns. Keep the scale subtle and discreet.
  • Investing in a skilled tailor is a given, and this fact is double underscored if a gentleman packs a little something extra in his mid-section. Buttons may have a gentle tug when fastened, but they should not be over-stressed to the point of popping loose.
  • For the gentleman that is short of stature, the tail of his suit jacket should hit just below his rear. A longer suit jacket will only accentuate his modest height – not exactly what you want.
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