Double breasted suits are not exactly selling like hot cakes nowadays. But if you look at some of the best dressed men of today and of the past you will see that many of them seldom wear single breasted suits. Prince Charles. Sergio Loro Piana. They love double breasted suits and they both look extremely elegant. The Duke of Windsor too wore them most of the time. Just like Gianni Agnelli, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power or Rex Harrison.
Unfortunately modern retailers are not very fond of this style. It may have to do with the type of double breasted suits that were sold in the 1980s. They were cut too wide and too square and the notch of the lapel sat way too low. In those days most connaisseurs went for the three button single breasted suit with two vents.
Another reason why shop owners don’t stock “doppio petto” is rooted in a very common misconception. Many people think that the double breasted cut doesn’t look on some figures. One can read frequently that short and stubby men can’t wear double breasted suits. The contrary is true. People also say that obese men can’t wear double breasted either. The contrary is true in this case too. Double breasted suits are good for any type of figure.
The problem lies in the inferior cut of most off the rack specimens. If you put one of these boxy double breasted suit on a short guy it will not enhance his looks. But if you give him a well proportioned double breasted suit with just the right amount of suppression at the waist he will look slimmer and more elegant than in most single breasted suits. And skinny guys will get that that little more presence that can make all the difference.
The double breasted suit is where classic Italian tailoring and old school Savile Row cutting meet. If you look at a coat from Anderson & Sheppard and a jacket made by one of Caraceni’s master tailors in Milano you will see how close both traditions are. Especially if you look at a version that the Italians call “doppiopetto trasformabile”. It’s a jacket with two pairs of buttons that may be fastened either on the top pair or the lower pair. This is of course almost impossible to find off the rack. That’s why those Italian guys love it.