'A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.'
– Hardy Amies
As with most classic British men’s style, the double-breasted suit finds it’s origins in the military with the Royal Navy. Out of necessity, the tailors had to develop a jacket to protect the sailors from the harsh conditions they experienced at sea, all whilst keeping the moveability for them to perform their duty. The naval reefer jacket was born and is the inspiration for what we now know as the double-breasted jacket.
Interestingly enough, the garment was considered too informal for office wear, and was considered more as casual wear associated with gents heading to the tennis. This all changed in the 1920s with the then Prince of Wales (later, the Duke of Windsor) championing the DB suit leading it to be adapted into a more formal piece of wear.
According to Timothy Everest, a leading British tailor, the 30s were the golden era for the DB suit. It was a time of heightened elegance where everyone was living larger than life. This quickly changed with the start of the Second World War, where textile shortages ensued. An exception to this was the 1942 film, Casablanca, where Humphrey Bogart sported a DB dinner jacket.
As with many of the classic menswear staples, the DB had gone in and out of style throughout the decades.
It can be often associated with 80s or 90s bankers and insurance sales man however if worn correctly and with flair, the DB is a great way to stand out and a must for every modern gentleman’s wardrobe.