Two is Better Than One: The Rise of the Double-Breasted Jacket

There’s a reason that some of the best-dressed men in the world — from traditional monarchs like King Charles to bad boy billionaire heirs like Lapo Elkann to Italian tailoring legends like Lino Ieluzzi and Brunello Cucinelli — are particularly fond of double-breasted pieces. A double-breasted jacket is peculiar in that it can be both elegant and extremely formal, or extremely casual and laid-back, depending on how one wears it.

A traditional, single-breasted suit jacket will always skew a bit more formal and put together, even with a soft shoulder and three-roll-two buttons, and even when paired with something more casual, like jeans and a pair of Vans. A double-breasted jacket, on the other hand, can be dressed up — and, arguably, can look more formal than a single-breasted alternative — but it tends to look best when worn with what Italians call sprezzatura, an affected laissez-faire approach that’s meant to look effortless, without looking slovenly. A double-breasted jacket that’s worn undone falls in a way that a single-breasted jacket is incapable of replicating. And, when buttoned, a double-breasted jacket has a structural, almost sculptural, element that can be more flattering.

Jack Harlow poses at the Met Gala in 2022
Jack Harlow at the 2022 Met Gala (Photo by Jennifer Graylock / Alamy Stock Photo)

This fall, it seems as though men everywhere are poised to emulate the monarchs, Elkanns and Cucinellis of the world, and reach not just for double-breasted suits, but double-breasted everything! What used to be something that most men avoided for fear of venturing too far outside the confines of conventional tailoring is now liberally applied to knitwear and outerwear — and it’s embraced! 

From tried and true classics to new-wave takes, these are the best double-breasted pieces to add to your wardrobe this fall. 

Harold Custom-Made Double-Breasted Jacket

Model stands wearing navy Harold double-breasted jacket and white undershirt
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If you’re going to get a double-breasted sport coat, you might as well have fun with it. Harry Rosen’s Harold program allows customers to make their next tailoring purchase their own, with a range of fabrics and finishings to choose from. Navy blue with gold or brass buttons is a classic, to be sure, but there are plenty of fabrics to choose from for those looking for something a little more irreverent. Plus, you can play with the button positioning to complement your build and change the look of the jacket — the lower you place them, the more relaxed the fit will be. Opt for patch pockets if you’re looking for something that’s versatile and effortless. 

meanswhile Double-Breasted Cardigan

model wearing meanswhile double breasted sweater over grey undershirt
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Only 8 years old, meanswhile is a relatively little known Japanese menswear label that consistently churns out top notch collections that toe the line between functionality and elegance; outdoor clothes for discerning men, albeit with a healthy offering of city and office-ready pieces. This season’s stand out piece is a double-breasted mélange wool cardigan, done up in a rich brown hue that calls to mind a library or a quaint study (in the best way possible). It’s a great way to turn your knitwear into a statement piece. 

Dior Double-Breasted Peacoat

Model wearing Dior double breasted peacoat over dark undershirt with bag
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Everybody needs a good wool coat for winter and there are few options more elegant than this dark blue cashmere peacoat from Dior. Kim Jones has long been one of menswear’s foremost proponents of all things double-breasted, having offered up a number of innovative takes on double-breasted suiting over the years. Sometimes, though, you don’t mess with the classics, and Jones has played it safe with this number. As a result, it’s the kind of timeless, foundational piece that can be worn with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, or with a suit. Talk about versatility.

Fendi Double-Breasted Suit Jacket

Model wearing Fendi double-breasted suit jacket with pants and holding a small bag
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When done well, a grey chalk stripe suit jacket can be a thing of beauty. For Fendi’s Fall/Winter 2023-2024 collection, Silvia Venturini Fendi reimagined both the chalkstripe and Fendi’s iconic interlocking F logo with one fell swoop. The result is a double-breasted jacket with a unique pinstripe pattern, rendered in charcoal with a light chalkstripe that’s used to create an oversized Fendi logo that’s only noticeable if you know what you’re looking for. Otherwise, it simply looks like an innovative take on a classic style. 

Bode Double-Breasted Blazer

Model wearing Bode double-breasted white blazer over white undershirt and green pants
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If the beauty of the double-breasted jacket is that it can be both formal and laissez-faire, then the Fendi number above covers the former angle. For the latter, why not opt for a white blazer from Bode, a New York-based independent label, that has a certain loucheness to it. Made in the United States (a rarity these days!) this linen blazer will look better the more you wear it, developing slight wrinkles and taking the shape of your body, particularly in the shoulders. While it’s best worn undone, with a T-shirt underneath, it can be paired with a pair of classic trousers — navy, black or even brown — and an Oxford cloth shirt for a look that merges New England prep with Mediterranean elegance.