Double-Breasted Suits Vs Single-Breasted Suits: What’s the Difference


Men’s suits come in two distinctive styles; single-breasted suits and double-breasted suits. Both the terms refer to different styles of jackets including varying arrangement of buttons on the coat or jacket, differently styled lapels and fitting. 

A single-breasted suit consists of a formal suit (trouser, jacket or coat) with a single column of buttons without any overlapping of the fabric. The front closure in the center of the jacket is secured by a single or a few buttons. As a rule of thumb, the more the buttons on the suit, the shorter the lapels will be. A double-breasted suit generally refers to the overall attire including the double-breasted jacket/coat, and matching formal trousers. It has a wider overlapping front accompanied by two columns of 4-6 buttons. One of the button columns is functional, whereas the other one is usually ornamental.

Even though double-breasted suits vs. single-breasted suits slightly differ from one another, this slight difference can alter the overall style statement of a person. Currently, the double-breasted suit is considered to be classic, vintage and elegant, whereas single-breasted suits are more stylish, sleek and a little bit more fashion forward. Now there isn’t an event where you cannot wear either of the styles, there are some fundamental aspects of double-breasted vs. single breasted suits that you should know.

What is a Single-Breasted Suit?

The single-breasted suits have become popular throughout the world since World War I. The panels of a single-breasted suit do not overlap and the buttons are aligned in a single row. A single-breasted suit varies from a double-breasted suit in its lapel style, buttons and overall fit.  

Front Panel Lapel

Single-breasted jackets’ front panels have minimal overlap, only about an inch at the buttoning point. Hence, they do not overlap. They can have shawl, notch or peak lapel.


Single-breasted jackets are aligned in a single row and are usually one, two and three in number. Customized single-breasted coats usually have two buttons, but up to one-, three-, and even four buttons can be added.

Overall Fit

A classic, two-button single-breasted jacket distinguishes vertical lines, thus lending the wearer a slimmer silhouette. 

What is a Double-Breasted Suit?

A double-breasted blazer is more formal than a single-breasted blazer. They have two rows of buttons with wide overlapping lapels.

Front Lapel

Double-breasted coats’ front panels are the total opposite of single-breasted coats. In order to achieve that finished look they must overlap. This overlapping effect adds another layer to your front, which is one of the reasons that double-breasted jackets are preferred for winter suits and overcoats. The overlapping design demands that the double-breasted jackets must stay buttoned if you want to look stylish and sleek, especially when you’re standing.


Double-breasted jackets typically come with four or six front buttons, with either one or two of them being functional. The lapel roll of your double-breasted jacket is directly connected with the number of the buttons your jacket has; for instance:

·                 A six on two double-breasted jacket has a total six buttons, two of which are functional. The Lapel of your coat thus rolls to the top left button.

·                 A four on two jacket has a total four buttons, only two of which are functional. The Lapel of this style rolls to the top left button.

·                 A four on one has a total four buttons, only one of which is functional. This style is also referred to as a “Kent” model, named and popularized by the Duke of Kent in the early-to-mid-twentieth century.

Overall Fit

Modern double-breasted Jackets are narrower at the waist and usually longer than a single-breasted jacket. The style focuses more on the upper part of the jacket and usually comes with peak or shawl lapels which helps draw the attention to the shoulders of the wearer. Due to this feature, double-breasted jackets are usually worn by tall, athletic individuals.  

Pros and Cons of Single-Breasted Suits

Both single-breasted and double-breasted suits are equally stylish, however, before making a choice it is essential to know the pros and cons of both types. Let’s start with the pros and cons of single-breasted suits.

Like any other garment, the single-breasted suit should fit you correctly. You can measure the fitting of your jacket by measuring the shoulder area. The length of the sleeves can be slightly altered according to the wearer’s size, however, the shoulder fitting must not be compromised. In case of a single-breasted suit, thin, tall, and athletic men are usually advised to go for the Italian suits, a style that is more tapered at the waist and therefore emphasizes the wearer’s body type. Bigger men on the other hand are better off wearing the “American” cut, a style that is less tapered and hangs straight down camouflaging the wearer’s belly.

Popularity and versatility

Single-breasted suits are currently far more popular than the double-breasted suits. The extraordinary popularity of single-breasted vs, double-breasted suits is due to the versatility that these minimum overlapping jackets offer. A single-breasted jacket can be worn over a pair of jeans as well as can be adorned with a more formal business suit.  Whether you button or unbutton your single-breasted jacket, you can always get a sleek and comfy look.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Double-Breasted Jacket

Double-breasted suits are more formal and should not be worn without a proper black-tie attire. This style is perfect for a formal occasion and can be accessorized with a tie, bow or handkerchief. With the overall fashion industry adopting vintage and classic fashion styles, double-breasted jackets are coming back in the fashion game. The jackets are expected to get even more popular in coming years, dominating the world of formal events.

Popularity and Versatility:

 Double-breasted suits were one of the most popular garments from the 1920s to 1950s. The popularity ebbed down around the 1980s until early 2000s. Now once again the fashion world is choosing double-breasted suits. It offers a polished and powerful look, making bold statements on all the special occasions and formal events.  

How to Button a Double-Breasted Suit

A double-breasted suit must always be buttoned. They usually have a row of 3 buttons on either side of the jacket. Here is how you can carry your double-breasted suit:

·                 Unbutton the jacket when you are sitting down, this will allow you to move freely and comfortably.

·                 When you put on your suit jacket, button the middle button and leave the top and bottom buttons open.

How to Wear a Double-Breasted Suit

Double-breasted suits are a style statement. From choosing the color of the suit to adding accessories, you can create a style that is timeless and truly yours. Here are some tips on styling your double-breasted suit.

·                 Style your double-breasted jacket in the simplest way possible. Double-breasted jackets are statement pieces, adding loud colored shirts or accessories will only create a noise and kill the graceful style of your suit.

·                 Pick a lighter fabric, which will make the blazer stand out.

·                 Double-breasted suit is a statement piece, it is more suitable for occasions such as weddings, formal dinners, balls etc.

·                 It can also be worn as a smart-casual, pair it with a chinos or a dark denim to create a more easy-going semi-formal look.

·                 You can accessorize your double-breasted suit with a tie, bow tie, and pocket square. A watch and sunglasses can complete the look.

The choice between double-breasted vs. single-breasted suits is really a personal choice. While single-breasted suits are more versatile and are more popular today, double-breasted suits offer you a robust and powerful attire that stands out in a crowd. Double-breasted suits are making a grand comeback not just in the private events but also on the red carpets and fashion ramps. We encourage you to personalize your double-breasted suit in such a way that your dressing and style exuberates power and comfort. Have a look at different styles in double-breasted suits and curate one that best suits your personality.  

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.