Double breasted suit Italian illustration2

Images from US men’s magazines Esquire and Apparel Arts are relatively common around the internet, but less common are Italian illustrations from the same era. These come from a collection of a small Italian tailor, who kindly allowed me to scan a selection. Unfortunately the plates have neither a source nor a date.

From the dozens available, I picked these five to begin with to show different approaches to the double-breasted jacket. Nearly all have four buttons, rather than the six seen more commonly today. Six-button styles are much rarer. More common in this collection, in fact, are four-button styles fastening to the bottom button.

Double breasted suit Italian illustration3

Double breasted suit Italian illustration4

Four-button DBs are a good option for men that want to try the style, but fear six buttons will be overkill. You can, after all, merely add the missing two buttons later, given they have no functional purpose. You can see a modern version of the style on my Henry Poole suit.

Note also the simplicity of the tones and patterns, and the propensity to show the DB fastening both top and bottom buttons. I stick by my advice to leave the bottom button undone – it is far more relaxed and allows the jacket to open if you put your hands in pockets – but it is always interesting to see how the influence of such rules has fluctuated over time.

Double breasted suit Italian illustration5  Double breasted suit Italian illustration


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What are your thoughts on Two button double breasted?


I always thought that it was a little more subtle, and good for summer DB, as they tend to be a little cooler?


I know this is below your usual range but if I only have about £200 to spend on a pair of shoes where would you recommend going at that price bracket?


I have a pair of Loake boots and am very happy with them. If you can get up to Clarkes at Bicester Village you can often pick them up for around £100. There is also a Churches shop there with discounts


Hi Simon,

Should a DB suit always be buttoned up? To me the extra material makes it look a little odd when unbuttoned, but that could just be me.

Really like the shade of grey on your Henry Poole suit, btw.



Interesting to note they all future a peak lapel.

Also , I always felt trousers turned up where best suited to DB suits .

Matt Spaiser

Nothing out of the ordinary with that. Peaked lapels are the standard for double-breasted jackets. If they had notched lapels that would be something to note. In the 1980s some Italian makers did that (with very low notches), and it didn’t look so great.


Exquisite drawings. I often think that men who are interested is classical menswear tend to yearn for a bygone era where men dressed like this on a daily basis, and end up overdoing things by dressing like that themselves and looking out of place (style becoming costume, to use your parlance).

I see pictures like this and immediately remember why they yearn for that era.


Dear Simon
I disagree with your comment on a DB being no warmer than a SB suit. I find it too warm for summer when buttoned up (think double fabric, double lining and inter-lining) and, as i had it made in a light POW check, too cool for winter.
In fact i would go so far as to say that it was the second biggest mistake in my wardrobe! Yes they are smart but for normal work days – too formal. They dont allow you to sit comfortably when kept buttoned up and they are a devil to do up quickly which is very awkward in company.


@George. Buy a pair of Cheaneys. I could manage to get brown brogues for just £160 and I like it much more than my £300 Church’s Balmorals.. I feel same comfortable as in £400 C&J which I wear twice a year. But Cheaney I wear always and feel very happy every day!

If you never try you never get anything 😉


Thank you!

Paul Weide

Am I correct in seeing patch pockets in images one and three? Seems unusual. Do you prefer jetted or flapped pockets on your DB, sir?


Any difference in formality between a 6×2 versus a 6×1?


These jackets seem rather long.