Double Breasted Blazers ARE Ivy If You Do Them Right

Editor’s Note:  The Featured Image is from a 1910’s Brooks catalog.

If you are not a member of the Facebook Group, and you participate in social media, you are really missing something.

We settled the debate over double breasted blazers the other day, for example, with this image from our own Marc Chevalier, from the pre-heyday late 1930’s.

There’s a lot here. For example, these guys are apparently twins. Amazingly well dressed twins. Next week we can go into wearing a blazer with shorts, but for today, enjoy.

 

Have a great weekend – JB

19 Comments on "Double Breasted Blazers ARE Ivy If You Do Them Right"

  1. Those two in the illustration would make George Hamilton jealous. Yikes.

    I’ve always wanted to try a double-breasted, but was always afraid it would look like what my grandmother called a “zoot suit”. And I’d always read they look best on big, barrel-chested men (which I am not).

    • I think that’s right about DBs and a big chest. I’m not big, but big enough that a little more drape is comfortable. I also like a closed skirt.

    • Though neither big nor barrel-chested, I “outgrew,” shall we say, my beloved double-breasted blazer over the past couple of years. I think it looks great on most any frame. The peak lapels and higher brass content turn up the dial on the drama and élan, and (as the article says) if it’s paired right, it looks tasteful at the same time.
      The search is on for a new one, though I’m scouring eBay and the like, as the current RL offering costs a pretty penny.

  2. What a great illustration!

    I just noticed that the man’s hat hand has the same colors as his shirt and blazer.

    It’s a very “Dressing the Man”, Alan Flusser (I know JB hates that name, haha) look that is becoming increasingly rare outside niche menswear blogs and Polo ads.

  3. Meant to say “hat band”.

  4. Charlottesville | August 12, 2022 at 11:45 am | Reply

    If availability from Brooks Brothers and J. Press in the mid 20th century is the standard for Ivy, then DB is certainly Ivy “within the meaning of the act,” as lawyers used to say. I would guess that the photo on the homepage is from a BB catalog of 1930s or possibly 40s vintage. Is that correct? I know that Press offered undarted DB blazers, and Brooks probably did as well. A DB sack certainly seems Ivy.

    Ivy or not, I like the look of a well-tailored DB suit or blazer, and have a couple of the latter from Polo Ralph Lauren, and a navy doeskin flannel blazer that I had custom made about 15 or 20 years ago, all darted. I even have a double-breasted seersucker suit. However, I confess to feeling self-conscious wearing them around town locally. For some reason it seems more of a city (e.g., Manhattan) look, and simply wearing a coat and tie, as I do most days, makes one stand out a bit around here. However, I do see one or two DB blazers around town occasionally, and may need to trot mine out when the weather turns a bit cooler.

    As for the proper build, I think Hugh Laurie’s Bertie Wooster looked great in his double breasted suits; he is hardly barrel-chested, and neither am I. Old Polo ads certainly show double-breasted suits on trim gents. I say go for it if you like the look.

  5. Ah, yes– Apparel Arts (magazine) images. Some great stuff in those old rags.

    I’ve joined with a few other guys in sending images of worsteds, woolens, and tweeds featured in AA to a weaver in Scotland — for weaving(s). I guess I’m lucky in that not only am I expected to dress well for my work, it’s an enormous plus if I look really good. I still think I chose my profession in part because this expectation.

    The gents in the AA sketches always looked tan, healthy (strong, athletic), optimistic. Can-do and GIDBG (“Get it done, by God”) types. Compare/contrast with modern day corporate execs– pasty/pale, flabby, double-chinned, and almost always bespectacled. What a fat, nerdy bunch.

    Three cheers for a DB when the shoulders are soft and the tracing through the middle is just right. Fox Bros. serge please.

  6. Addendum:
    A working theory about the Apparel Arts crowd is that they were inspired mostly by Prince Philip and Lord Mountatten. I’d add Tommy Hitchcock.

    Anybody else tired of celebrity CEOs with bad hair (if any), bulging eyes (that have stared too long at equations), washed-out skin, and a paunch?

    No wonder Baltzell warned us that when our aristocrats fail us, it’ll all go to hell. Shees.

  7. I once had DB suit and found it didn’t look good unbuttoned and the extra cloth up front was too warm. I also felt like I looked like a cartoon gangster looking for his fedora.

  8. I personally own and enjoy a few DBs but view them in this context as something heyday-ers were rebelling against. I recently watched the first film version of “Father of the Bride” from 1950 and you could very much see the sartorial dichotomy between the “adults” and the “young adults” at the time.

  9. DBs are excellent and frankly I don’t understand the fuss. I still miss my custom DB from the mid 1990s when they were more in vogue, and before the moths carried it away in bits & pieces.

    As for body type and DBs, I think I’ve heard everything. There is the “not for big guys because it’s too large a swath of fabric draped across the front” camp and apparently also the “not for skinny guys” camp, because ….. why exactly? I say anyone can wear one, as long as the fit is right.

  10. Whether Ivy or not, I have a weak spot for a nice double breasted blazer, particularly if it has brass buttons.

  11. OK, I have misstated my understanding of DBs, having never worn one. To clarify, I do not believe that they “look “best” on big, barrel chested men”. I do think that a DB MAY be the more top heavy man’s best alternative for elegant fit, given the “skinny suit” debacle to which we have all been subjected over the past ten years or so. The one depicted in the sketch is idealized of course, but I like it. Good luck finding one like that! Sherman Hensley wore them in that TV show “Amen” in the late 80s, and there was one in particular that I think looked terrific on him.

  12. Note Dick Press’ remembrances of yesteryear Squeeze DB blazers, including the famous Reefer Twill.

  13. William C Kazak | August 14, 2022 at 12:44 am | Reply

    I like the double breasted navy blazer. Paired with cream colored trousers it has the nautical spectrum. The blazer does not need bright brass buttons to look great. With other colored metal buttons the blazer can become suitable for many events, not just nautical events.

  14. The “Put This On” blog has a post on shirt collars worn over blazers and features the exact illustration from Apparel Arts featured above:

    https://putthison.com/shirt-collars-worn-over-lapels/

  15. Yes! I own, wear, and enjoy a couple of DB navy blazers in cooler weather (as well as a several such suits in wool flannel). Not necessarily ivy. And maybe straying in the direction of cinematic crooks of the 1930s-1950s (You doity rat! Yeah! Ya killed my brother! You’re gonna pay! See?”). And definitely unusual in my little corner of the world, but I love ’em.

    Kind Regards,

    H-U

  16. I have a Hickey Freeman navy tropical weight DB blazer, peak lapels & six buttons. Wear it with the typical trousers one wears with a navy blazer. DBs are hard to dress down, but can be done. Almost always wear the blazer with tab collar shirts. I always get positive comments from both sexes.
    I disagree one needs a barrel chest to wear a DB. I’ve known size 40 men that look top drawer wearing them. Have some balls. 😉

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