When shopping for your summer jacket this season, Mansel Fletcher strongly suggests you consider a double-breasted number.
New this season, Drake’s is introducing a navy-blue double-breasted blazer made from a light-weight mix of silk and linen. While single-breasted jackets remain the default setting for most men, double-breasted versions are regarded by many tailoring aficionados as the more stylish option. Taste is always a personal matter but the physical impression a garment makes is less subjective, and a DB (double-breasted) jacket should flatter the wearer by accentuating the breadth of his shoulders and chest, while appearing to shrink his waist.
If the physical impression made by a good DB blazer is positive, so are the cultural associations. Whether your IG feed is clogged with classic images of the Duke of Windsor, Gianni Agnelli and Sir Roger Moore as 007, or more contemporary shots of those well-put-together Japanese guys who look so sharp at the Pitti Uomo trade-show in Florence, double-breasted jackets have long been loved by the world’s best-dressed men. Who among us doesn’t want to follow in their sartorial footsteps?
Of course, you might be wondering whose footsteps your style icons followed? The origins of the double-breasted blazer are widely believed to be nautical, and relate to the dress jackets worn by naval officers on ceremonial occasions. However, the Drake’s jacket has six discreet horn buttons rather than eight brass buttons, and has them arranged in a keyhole pattern, with the top two positioned wider than the lower four (this helps to give the appearance of waist suppression). Combine this configuration with the light-weight silk-linen fabric and its appealing texture, the soft shoulders and the patch-pockets on the hips, and you have something comfortable, flattering and stylish. It’s a potent combination, especially as in the best sense of the word the jacket is unremarkable - its appeal isn’t reliant on an eye-catching pattern, or the kind of eccentric details that inevitably limit how often a garment can be worn.
Its elegant simplicity makes the navy-blue blazer the most useful tailored garment in the masculine wardrobe, and it can be worn in many different ways. The Drake’s version can be dressed up with grey tropical-wool trousers, grey socks, black loafers, a poplin shirt and a foulard tie if you need to toe the corporate line for a formal meeting. However, the idea of wearing it with a faded pair of jeans, a white oxford-cotton button-down shirt and soft suede loafers, or even old tennis shoes, is far more appealing - feel free to add a knitted tie as necessary. Or dial down the formality even further with a pair of shorts or linen draw-string trousers, espadrilles and a white t-shirt. Depending on how your wear it this jacket would look as appropriate for a martini in a London hotel bar (as you may know, we like Dukes in St James’s) as it would for an aperitivo at a Sardinian beach club. However you wear it, wherever you wear it, this jacket may quickly start to seem indispensable.