This past weekend, I decided to challenge my self and wear a Double Breasted jacket every day. Most guys don’t like to wear double breasted suits and blazers since they think it’s too old school or it never fits right. Well, I’m here to prove you wrong; the double breasted jacket is awesome and is a definite great addition to your sartorial wardrobe. To add to the fun, I also decided to take the opportunity and craft outfits for three of my favorite styles!
Polo Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is one of the biggest brand names in fashion. Under his name, he has crafted numerous sub-brands including my favorites like Purple Label (which focuses on high end menswear) and RRL and Co. (which focuses on vintage-inspired pieces). Polo Ralph Lauren is one of the classic brands that the company started with and has made some of the best classic menswear pieces that I’ve seen. Most people associate this sub-brand with those brightly colored polos with the giant logo but I see it with pinstripe suits, contrast collar shirts, and repp ties. You could argue that Polo Ralph Lauren suiting and style calls back to the classic university days; it even reminds me a bit of the 1930′s. While this brand doesn’t do bespoke (just MTM), Off-The-Rack suits do cost more than $900. I did get a Polo RL suit from eBay for $100 though!
My version of the outfit was very simple. Instead of the full suit, I decided to break it up into separates: a DB jacket and navy pants. It may be hard to pair a pinstripe jacket with normal trousers, but blue and grey typically work well. In retrospect, I definitely would’ve gone with cream trousers to add a better contrast between jacket and pant.
I will admit that this shirt is from H&M and has a very tiny collar. Thanks to the very thin nature of 1930’s ties (which this one is), the knot works well! With a collar bar, it looks pretty close to how guys would wear it in the 1960s. While it looks good here, I’d always recommend going with a bigger collar, since ties tend to vary in terms of thickness or lining. A larger knot with a tiny collar never looks good.
I can’t stress the importance of thrifting, eBay, and buying vintage. This jacket is a Nordstrom house model, from the 1970s or 80s due to the labeling; the lower buttonstance and shape of the lapels is also a dead giveaway. It’s an amazing piece and I found it at a thrift store near my house for $12! The shoes were from eBay and copped for $20. I’m not an expert on shoes, but they’re Johnston Murphy and I trust them over the other models I found online (which are mainly Florsheim). I’d suggest getting Allen Edmonds for better quality though. Lastly, we have my tie that was purchased for $10 from a friend. Unlined ties today are very expensive, as it’s a handmade detail. Brands like Drakes or Shibumi have similar weight ties (either unlined or have thin lining) but can cost more that $100 at times. Just go vintage!
Vintage Nordstrom’s Jacket: $12 (thrifted)
H&M Contrast Collar Shirt: $14
BR Flannel Pants: $50
1930’s Unlined tie: $10
Johnston Murphy Wingtips: $20 (eBay)
Total: $106 + $20 (Tailoring pants)
English Country Suiting
English country or hunting style has been one of my oldest inspirations. Filled with tweeds and heavy wools in herringbones, houndstooths and plaids, these garments hardly seem like what you’d wear to go hunting. Here in America, you wear camo and caution orange to avoid being shot; the English have their suit shoulders and arms reinforced with leather (or suede, in some cases) to prevent ruining the suit. To the British, hunting (or simple shooting) seems like a “gentleman’s occasion” instead of something overtly rugged or masculine. This style is all about earth tones, featuring heavy use of browns, green, and reds in a multitude of patterns. Eventually, this style was co-opted to become the “English style”, with patterned-filled looks like this or this particularly hipster look. I don’t have a particular price for this style, but a good hunting suit can cost hundreds if bespoke; you can find a few on eBay though!
My Indochino DB suit isn’t made of a heavy wool, but it definitely has the same color theme! I would literally die in this heat wearing tweed. This suit is a light olive/brown in a micro houndsooth pattern which calls back to its English inspiration. Note that double breasted jackets weren’t normally used in hunting and gentlemen mainly favored single breasted jackets or norfolk ones.
Instead of a critter tie, I went with a very light weight red polka dotted brocade tie. With a blue striped shirt, its definitely looks less costume-y and more refined and tailored. I always recommend pairing at least two patterns together, since it shows mastery over style and makes things just a bit more interesting to look at. In this outfit, I went ham and matched four patterns together! Houndsooth (jacket), stripes (shirt), polka dot (tie), paisley (pocket square). Thanks to scaling, it’s not an eyesore!
This entire outfit is more on the pricier side, since this suit was custom made at Indochino. They are the only people who make a DB that I like along with being able to produce high rise pants! Whenever you spend that much on a suit, you better be sure that you can wear it more than once! I’ve worn it multiple times since then but I’ve favored the trousers more since they are high-rise with side adjusters! In contrast, the tie and shoes were thrifted (Goodwill and eBay) to keep the costs down. I’m telling you, ebay is the best place to buy shoes.
Indochino Suit: $350 (before tax)
Custom Spearpoint Collar Shirt: $30
Tie from Goodwill: $2
Allen Edmond Captoes: $50
This man is my sartorial idol. Mr. Jake Grantham, one of the original buyers for the Armoury, is pictured here wearing a pinstripe Orazio Luciano suit, pink spread collar shirt, and black knit tie. You can see the soft construction in the natural (but extended) shoulder, exuding the comfort/natural focus of Italian tailoring. Compared to the previous inspirations, this outfit has the least amount of patterns, using the plain shirt and tie to emphasize the pattern of the suit. My only gripe with this suit is the narrow button positioning; I believe a classic double breasted jacket should have buttons that are spaced out. If you’re wondering, Orazio Luciano is a bespoke tailor so his services cost thousands; his OTR pieces cost between $1-2k.
I took this opportunity to wear my first ever commission from Indochino: a pure linen pinstripe suit. The formal pattern combined with the casual and lightweight summer fabric is a good match for the outfit worn my Jake.
Yes, my shirt (like the previous one) is a spearpoint collar, custom made for me by Natty Shirts. I realize that these are not en vogue but I love this style. Most guys today wear standard point collars or spread collars (like Jake wears in the picture). I love the 1930’s and this style of shirt was the shirt to wear back then. It sets my style apart from the typical #menswear outfits and allows me to show off my appreciate for vintage style and design. You don’t always have to fall into the trap of modern trends.
Overall, I think I got the outfit down pat, from the pinstripes to the pink shirt and black knit tie. I will admit that this pinstripe suit is much harder to wear than the brown houndstooth number from the previous outfit due to the fabric and pattern. If you ever get your hands on one, I’d recommend wearing the jacket with contrast trousers (a la the first outfit) or saving the suit for special events! Pinstripe isn’t a beginners piece, but it can definitely be a wardrobe favorite.
Indochino Pinstripe Linen suit: $350 (before tax)
Pink Spearpoint Shirt: $30
J. Crew Black Knit tie: $50
Johnston Murphy Wingtips: $20
Total: $450 (before tailoring)
I hope you enjoyed this latest edition of “Inspiration for Less”! Like with the previous Inspiration article, the point to take away here is that it does cost money to get the details that you want. There aren’t many retailers who stock double breasted suits, let alone ones who make true high rise trousers. I only went with Indochino because they were cheap and because they assured me that they could make high rise pants! Having them in these cool patterns was a bonus, since (again) most retailers don’t stock pinstripes or houndstooths.
While the suits may be the costliest piece of your outfit, you don’t need to spend the same on accessories. Since I collect vintage clothing, I am totally fine with wearing used clothes! eBay and thrifting can be your friend, since they can lead to some fantastic ties, shirts, and shoes for a lot less money than retail. You could also get lucky like I did and find an amazing double breasted jacket!
Keep in mind that inspiration should be inspiration; you don’t need to copy an outfit exactly. With my outfits, you can see some of the themes and vibes that I was going for, but I kept it grounded in my “vintage meets modern” style. Don’t be afraid to try out new patterns or to even change your shirt collar style! Just make sure that you’re comfortable in it and that it fits your style! Confidence will follow.
Your friend in tailoring and thrifting,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by David W.