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Double Breasted Jackets and Coats: Then and Now

It's a look famously championed by the likes of Prince Charles- so is the double breasted jacket just a reserve for those with the pomp of royal blood in their veins?

In the past I would have been very quick to have said yes, but, more recently, I am inclined to tell you: no!

Double breasted jackets are quickly winging their way into mainstream fashion, having made a timely impression at recent international fashion shows such as New York and London Collections: Men.

It seems, for now, that they days of 80's bankers power dressing to get attention are long gone, and all that's left is the rich heritage and sartorial class of a truly elegant high class tailoring staple.

First rising to fame at the end of the 19th century, the DB jacket carried all the ideals a gentleman of the time would look for in his attire: the extra material that had to be used to create the overlapping affect added extra warmth and durability. The natural shape of the jacket created a broad effect on the shoulder and a narrow silhouette on the hips-something that all men coveted and most women of the time admired. Finally, the double breasted jacket allowed the wearer to make a statement of social status. Extra buttons, purely for decoration, were the favourite touch of regal wearers. Those less fortunate wore much plainer, basic four button styles (the minimum number required).

Now of course, the double breasted jacket is a choice of those seeking pure sartorial style. Recent re-vamped styles offer a much slimmer, less 'boxy' cut, giving a younger, less stiff trendier silhouette. Some jackets are cropped too, in an almost horse riding style, allowing them to be worn just as easily with jeans as suit trousers. The initial principle of multi buttons however, still remains. You can now get as little as 2 buttons on a double breasted style, making it an ideal casual choice. The same principle applies to DB coats. The style, adopted from old Navy Reefer jackets, has been interpreted to bring shorter designs, designed for image conscious wearers, not servicemen seeking pure functionality.

Recent designs in DB suits and jackets have been championed by the likes of Hugo Boss, Gloverall and Armani. Traditional British style has been given the continental fashion edge, resulting in an age old timeless style being brought into the 21st century and thrown into the fashion worlds view.