Gentlewoman style: How to wear a double-breasted jacket

Double breasted jacket by Atea Oceanie

I don’t think I have ever worn a double-breasted jacket in my life. They always just looked a bit too boxy (in the 80s) or trussed up (in the 90s). They were nowhere to be seen in the 2000s. But all of a sudden, you can’t move for them.

What’s changed is their overall vibe. For starters they look much better undone. To wear them like this, they have to be a proper fit, so not oversized and not snug. I love the Lardini one below in dark blue, teamed with boyish, crease-front trousers. And also the one in the main picture (by Atea Oceanie from last year) which although has quite upholstered shoulders, is informalised with the tied-around-the-waist shirt.
Lardini double-breasted suit Aw17

If you’re tall you can get away with the longer, louche versions, such as Paul Smith’s below. He has been embracing double-breasted jackets for women for ages and when I met him to chat about my book launch last year, we also took the opportunity to discuss his tailoring. He showed me how just a tiny repositioning of one button gave his jackets a whole different look.

Paul Smith ss17 Double breasted
Paul Smith ss17 double-breasted check suit

Colour-wise, there’s a lot of pink around. Double-breasted jackets have traditionally been men’s territory, so I guess fashioning them in pink gives them a different, ‘feminine’ narrative. The Tibi one definitely looks like it has been pinned or bulldog clipped at the back but I think it needs to be nipped in to work with the nothing-underneath look.

On the other hand, Caroline Issa’s precisely cut pink suit works because everything fits how it should. If you’re going for the formal-look db suit, I think it’s good that everything looks equally polished so I’m in favour of the matchy-match black accents. And boldest of all is the striped double-breasted suit from Alexa Chung’s own label. Much as I love this, it will likely date quite quickly so only entertain if you’re confident that a suit this statementy fits your general style.

Tibi Resort 2018 double-breasted suit in pink
Caroline issa in pink double-breasted jacket. Photo by Vanessa Jackman.
Alexa Chung striped double-breasted suit


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Atea Oceanie; Lardini; Paul Smith/Vogue Runway x 2; Tibi; Vanessa Jackman; The Guardian
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