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Thread: Are double breasted suits 'in' or 'out'?

  1. #1

    Default Are double breasted suits 'in' or 'out'?

    OK, so I bought a handsome-looking (in my opinion), charcoal grey double breasted suit that I intended to wear as a multi-occasion suit, but chiefly for formal occasions and situations where business dress style is preferred. I walk into another men's clothing store, and I tell one of the clerks that I bought a double breasted suit and he says in a really fruity and snarky voice:

    "Oh no sir, you don't want to get a double breasted, they're so out. You should return it."

    I did not take his advice, and still have it. I can't see what is wrong with one, as they are still featured in many urban contemporary, high-fashion magazines. They were most certainly the hallmark of power dressing in the previous three decades. I intend to wear it to my cousin's wedding and my capstone (thesis) presentation. One of my clients, when I complimented his, said: "Wear one while you're still young and thin."

    So my question is, are they 'in', 'out', and either way, are they still suitable (no pun intended) for a wedding or thesis presentation?

  2. #2

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    I think they would be worn only for certain, more formal occasions. They were in during the 70's, if I recall correctly, and I always liked them. I still think they look nice, but I don't see anyone wearing them. There is a running joke here in Lynchburg that the only ones who wear them are the people who go to Thomas Road Baptist Church (read Falwells and conservative Christians). Knowing the correct garments for the right occasion shows class. Better to be safe with the single.

  3. #3

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    I think it depends. The features of your suit- whether its matte or patterned, double or single-breasted, vested, etc- all say different things. You need to as what kind of image you want to project for your situation.

    Single-breasted suits demonstrate that you're young and energetic, not the kind of person content to sit in a chair and read reports all day. No vest will show that you think you're up-and-coming in the world, you haven't 'arrived' yet but you're getting there. Patterns will all have a different vibe to them, as will a lack thereof (though this can also be affected by your choice of shirt and neckwear). A vest shows that you have power and confidence- it's kind of like putting a pair of tube socks in your underwear. A double-breast, I think says "I'm relaxed and classy." I personally think a single-breasted suit goes better in the boardroom, a double-breasted suit goes better at the yacht club.

    Say that you love patterned ties. To make this work, you really need to wear solid-colored shirts (otherwise, too busy). Pinstripe shirts are nice. Paisley ties can be nice. If a person tries to talk to me wearing both at the same time, they'd better be telling me how this project they want me on will net me a Nobel prize because otherwise the party on their chest is going to be faaaar more interesting.

    Ultimately, though, it comes down to you're style. Things have to go together. Personally, I'm a huge fan of sportcoats. Why? I work in my lab wearing jeans or slacks most of the time. If I get told I'm giving a presentation on my work in two hours, I know I can throw on a dark-colored sportcoat and it'll look good with just I might have worn that day (dress code for my level is dressy casual). You need to buy things that work with your style and your existing wardrobe. I've bought a few ties I really like, and I've never worn them because I just don't have anything they go with.

  4. #4

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    Well, it would appear that they are falling out of popularity, but it also looks like the high end designers, such as Ralph Lauren, are trying to bring them back. From what my search has yielded me, it would seem that in terms of formal occasions, the wedding would be a good one to wear it to, however, your thesis presentation may be too informal for such a suit. That is just my opinion as I do not know how that actually goes. In the end, I say wear what you want and feel comfortable in. Here is a link that may interest you: How To Wear A Double-Breasted Suit - AskMen

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by bugatti View Post
    Well, it would appear that they are falling out of popularity, but it also looks like the high end designers, such as Ralph Lauren, are trying to bring them back.
    Yes, but let's keep in mind that Ralph Lauren is best known for its Polo collection. Ralph Lauren is a brand that goes best on a yacht or at a polo game or at the country club with a martini. Now if that's what you're going for, then fine. And if you pick up a Ralph Lauren suit and say "this is me," then also fine. But you need to appreciate the mood that clothing sets to determine how to best use it.

    If you're thinking about a thesis defense or you're running a big meeting with the marketing department or you're tabling a booth at a major trade show, then the suits most appropriate for your needs will more often have tags that say Calvin Klein or Hugo Boss or JoS A Bank.

    Personally, when I see someone with a double-breasted suit in a business setting, my first thought is often to wonder how recently they got out of the army. Now if the suit works best for the person, then so be it. But a suit that isn't best-suited for the venue you're in is something that has to be overcome.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEsahaettr View Post
    I think it depends. The features of your suit- whether its matte or patterned, double or single-breasted, vested, etc- all say different things. You need to as what kind of image you want to project for your situation.

    Single-breasted suits demonstrate that you're young and energetic, not the kind of person content to sit in a chair and read reports all day. No vest will show that you think you're up-and-coming in the world, you haven't 'arrived' yet but you're getting there. Patterns will all have a different vibe to them, as will a lack thereof (though this can also be affected by your choice of shirt and neckwear). A vest shows that you have power and confidence- it's kind of like putting a pair of tube socks in your underwear. A double-breast, I think says "I'm relaxed and classy." I personally think a single-breasted suit goes better in the boardroom, a double-breasted suit goes better at the yacht club.

    Say that you love patterned ties. To make this work, you really need to wear solid-colored shirts (otherwise, too busy). Pinstripe shirts are nice. Paisley ties can be nice. If a person tries to talk to me wearing both at the same time, they'd better be telling me how this project they want me on will net me a Nobel prize because otherwise the party on their chest is going to be faaaar more interesting.

    Ultimately, though, it comes down to you're style. Things have to go together. Personally, I'm a huge fan of sportcoats. Why? I work in my lab wearing jeans or slacks most of the time. If I get told I'm giving a presentation on my work in two hours, I know I can throw on a dark-colored sportcoat and it'll look good with just I might have worn that day (dress code for my level is dressy casual). You need to buy things that work with your style and your existing wardrobe. I've bought a few ties I really like, and I've never worn them because I just don't have anything they go with.
    This is excellent advice.

    My additions: Overall, double-breasted is OUT! I would actually go as far as to advise caution when wearing it for certain things like job interviews, lest you give off the impression that you've just gone to the Salvation Army and picked out the least-bad $7 suit.

    However, I wholeheartedly agree with the advice of making your own style and rocking it. Note that this does not necessarily conflict with my previous paragraph, either. If you can make the suit look good, then go for it, and I think having the overarching public opinion in mind will help you do that. For instance, I just had an interview for a summer internship last week, and I didn't even wear a suit (my old suit is several sizes too large for me now). I did a dress shirt and tie, with a vintage tie clip and fedora. Is that the style? No, absolutely not, but I feel like I rocked it. That linked site has some good tips, so start there, and then keep your eyes peeled and make sure you have a coherent style, that you're not just wearing a double-breasted suit and it clashes with the rest of your wardrobe. For that matter, make sure it doesn't clash with your personality, either. There are certain styles, both formal, business casual, and informal, that I like but they just don't match me as a person and I can't pull them off very well.

    Like others have said, know your audience and know the social and class statements put off by a particular garment or style. Once you know those, make sure you have a coherent style, complete with the appropriate demeanor and personality to match the style you're doing.

    And rock it!

  7. #7

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    nigthfox gave some excellent advice and you would do well to heed it

    I believe that double breasted suits are distinctly out. If you have a very clean, crisp and close shaven look about you then you could pull off double breasted suit with crisp plain-colored shirts and elegant ties. NEVER pair a bow tie with a double breasted suit unless you wish to look like the love-child of your grandfather and your art history professor. It would simply make you look stuffy and stodgy.

    However, bow-ties, in very limited styles, are starting to come back in fashion but unless you are very fashion savvy or copy a suit from a fashion mag verbatim I would recommend staying away for risk of looking like the aforementioned love-child. I would recommend three basic suits all single breasted. One black, one charcoal grey, and one pinstripe in either grey or black; whichever happens to look better on you.

    For more formal occasions pair with a matching vest (you can put a pinstripe vest with a plain suit but never a pinstripe vest wit a pinstripe suit, too matchy-matchy) and a plain shirt with a elegant tie. For formal occasions where innovation is appreciated you can replace your elegant tie (plain or nice stripes) with something like a classy paisley or other pattern (get a sales clerk to help you make mix and match outfits).

    For more informal occasions lose the vest (or lose the suit jacket because vest + shirt + tie can look very nice) and pair a patterned shirt with a plain tie or a patterned tie with a plain shirt.

    For dressy casual you can try a plain white, plain black ,or pinstripe black shirt with a dark vest and nice bold colored tie (think bright purple, but something that brings out your eyes) with a pair of indigo or black jeans, straight cut and un-ripped.

  8. #8

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    Here in Melbourne, and in Paris, Korea, and Japan they're still definitely in fashion going by the number of well healed fashion type guys strutting around in them. Besides, as far as i'm concerned, fit and cut still rule above all else in their ability to make a suit's wearer look like a clueless hobo or a multi millionaire

  9. #9

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    Im definitely a single brested suit guy or a nice blazer with slacks (occasionally a three piece suit will find its way into my closet)

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