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How To Style A Double Breasted Leather Jacket

October 30, 2020

How To Style A Double Breasted Leather Jacket

by Joanna Smykowski

Joanna does quite a few things in life, but writing has been her favorite by far. She is a city girl who has moved to a beach town, and second to writing, will never tire of music, travel, and the friendships she makes as a result of both.


The history of double breasted jackets

Double breasted jackets are a distinct, noble type of jacket that has an interesting history. A double breasted is a jacket with wide, overlapping front flaps which have on its front two symmetrical columns of buttons. They differ from their single breasted friends in that single breasted jackets have a narrow overlap and only one column of buttons. Contrary to popular belief, the double breasted jacket has its origins in the early nineteenth century as a casual garment. Back then it was also called the reefer jacket. As it was considered casual, it was worn to countryside and sporting events.

The Duke of Windsor changed all of this. He was considered a trendsetter, and he began wearing double breasted jackets to official engagements and outings. It was worn as a part of a formal two-piece suit, afterward making the double breasted jacket associated with formal wear. Following suit (in both the literal and fashion sense), heads of state around the world began wearing double breasted jackets for official engagements both at home and when visiting other countries.

From the days of the Duke of Windsor, the reputation of the double breasted jacket continued an upward trend. It can be seen in a variety of ways: suits, peacoats, and our favorite - leather. In the 1930s and 1940s, double breasted jackets grew as a sign of wealth and status. Men with high paying valued jobs, such as in banking or politics, wore double breasted jackets to outwardly show this to their circles. By then, they were wearing these jackets in their day to day activities because it was something that they could afford to do.

When it comes to leather, the most infamous double breasted leather jacket came from Irving Schott. You may have heard us talk about him when it came to the history of leather jackets and specifically biker jackets. In 1928, a man named Irving Schott created a jacket that they called the Schott Perfecto. Schott was a Russian immigrant living in Manhattan, and he named the jacket after his favorite cigar. The Schott Perfecto was a new and different type of leather jacket. Previously, leather jackets were used for pilots during the World War. Now, instead of heavy-duty lining and wrapped collars that were meant to protect pilots while flying planes, Schott had created a jacket that was intended for protection, warmth, and comfort while operating another form of transit that left you to the elements - the motorcycle. The jacket had a belted waist, an asymmetrical double breasted front closure, a double layer of material in the front for extra insulation, and zippers instead of buttons for closure.

Irving Schott sold his jacket through Harley Davidson, one of the most well-known American motorcycle companies. They were produced and sold to a limited audience for a few decades until Hollywood stepped in. In 1953, the movie The Wild One came out, starring Marlon Brando. Brando played Johnny Strabler, who was the leader of a motorcycle gang in California. He wore a version of the Perfecto with his name and gang symbol on the back and created something so cool that America took notice. More movies came out in which the asymmetrical double breasted biker jacket played a critical role, and continued on to today, with it making an appearance in shows such as Happy Days and movies such as Grease, The Avengers, and The Terminator. In addition to movies, actors and other celebrities wore the jacket in their everyday lives. The most memorable person to do so was James Dean, an iconic American actor whose bad-boy persona caught the love of both men and women across the country. When he passed away after a car accident at the age of 24, he became a legend, as did his style - biker jacket included.

The Perfecto is different from the double breasted leather jackets you see today. It didn’t have the formal fanfare that we associate with double breasted jackets. The Perfecto, an asymmetrical double breasted jacket, was much more casual and cool. The double breasted jackets you see today very much resemble their suit counterpart - with two rows of buttons going down the front. Double breasted jackets have gone in and out of style, from vintage to current, throughout the decades. However, while there have been some tweaks here and there throughout the years, the double breasted jacket has been here to stay.

Now that we have touched on the history and the entrance of the double breasted jacket into the leather world, let’s dive into how to style and shop for one.

Double breasted leather jacket

Where can I get my own double breasted jacket?

Now that you know the background basics, you may be interested in purchasing a double breasted leather jacket of your own. Where can you find your perfect double breasted leather jacket? We have rounded up a few of our favorites down below:

 

  1. Schott’s NYC - We have to start with the place that started it all. Schott is a company known for the leather biker jacket - Irving and Jack Schott, brothers, created and perfected it. Since then they have expanded to other jackets, including the classic double breasted ones. The Schotts were Russian immigrants living in Manhattan during the World Wars. Irving created the original leather biker jacket, called the Schott Perfecto, and sold it to Harley Davidson. The company grew in success and recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary back in 2013, still owned by the same company. Their jackets come in around $800 - $1000. The one we linked here is $920 at the time of this writing, a men's double breasted black military waxy cowhide leather jacket with metal star buttons and wool twill lining. This jacket is made in the USA and has smooth leather and durable construction the jacket will wear well over time. It is a slim fitting garment, with classic features that ensure it will never go out of style
  2. Soul Revolver - Soul Revolver Ltd began in the business of selling vintage style leather jackets for men and women in 2005. They promise to offer the customer high-end service in many areas. They use Italian nappa leather, which they have found is the perfect leather for their styles. It has been made to a thickness of 0.7mm in Black, Antique Brown, and Red. It is just right for their slim-fitting styles and extremely durable. They have a few double breasted jacket styles, both ones that are longer like an overcoat as well as shorter. Their jackets come in around $400. We liked their Yuma jacket. Loosely influenced by the 3:10 to Yuma double breasted leather jacket, their version features a slim vintage fit, shoulder epaulettes, and antiqued gunmetal buttons. A tailored cut back panel maintains the slim fit that comes with the Soul Revolver name. For a longer jacket, they have styles such as their Butcher jacket. The Butcher is their take on a Victorian style double breasted coat with a subtle Gothic edge. Their signature Italian lambskin leather naturally provides a soft yet durable leather coat giving just the right weight. Complete with custom Soul Revolver logo buttons, shaped double breasted style collar, tailored longer length cut, and a rear split, it provides comfort and ease of movement, all with that 70’s slim fit
  3. Neiman Marcus - For the ladies, the double breasted jacket still exists. Neiman Marcus is an American chain of luxury department stores that is headquartered in Dallas, TX. Founded in 1907 by spouses Carrie and Herbert Marcus and Abraham Neiman, the company began as a clothing company in the state where it is still headquartered. Today, they have women’s, men’s, and kid’s clothing, as well as handbags, accessories, outerwear, and more. Their double breasted jacket is a Veronica Beard "Gaya" lamb leather dickey jacket. Veronica Swanson Beard is an American entrepreneur and fashion designer who co-founded Veronica Beard, a contemporary fashion company, with her sister-in-law Veronica Miele Beard. The jacket on Neiman Marcus is compatible with all Veronica Beard dickeys, which are sold separately. They have peak lapels, a one-button front, long sleeves, and button cuffs. There is a chest welt pocket, side flap pockets, and a cutaway hem. The vented back jacket comes in a bit pricier, at almost $1,400.

PHYSICAL - The Admiral Moto

PHYSICAL - The Suede Double Rider

PHYSICAL - The Technical Bomber


Now that I have my double breasted leather jacket, how do I style it?

The burning question once you get your double breasted leather jacket is how to style it. For men, a long double breasted jacket can be worn as a formal jacket. You can have a suit or slacks underneath it and wear it as the Duke of Windsor meant it to be worn when he set this trend and made it popular. A scarf peeking out can add an extra pop of color or character. If you have a shorter double breasted jacket, you can wear it in a more casual setting, with jeans underneath. Double breasted jackets are known for their closed look so that the buttons line up, so be sure to complete that look by wearing it closed.

For ladies, the double breasted jacket is a different look. It is not as high cut as the men’s jacket, leaving more room for styling and personality to show through. You can wear it with either casual wear or something more formal. A ladies double breasted jacket can have a V-neck T-shirt underneath to mirror the V-cut of the jacket. It can be worn with jeans or can be worn over a skirt and blouse or a dress. Any type of shoe can work with it as well, giving ladies options to pair their jacket and heels (or flats!) with jeans or a skirt, depending on what you are going for.

Remember that double breasted jackets are usually a slimmer fit, so something bulkier will not work as well underneath. Avoid thick sweaters or too many layers, especially for the women.

Can I go custom?

Everyone’s sense of style is different. For those who have shopped around for double breasted leather jackets and have not found one that speaks to them, you may be wondering if you can go custom.

The answer is a resounding yes. Companies that do custom leather jackets will many times let you create the jacket from the ground up, including the style. For others, you may have to pick styles within a certain selection. Be sure to check that the company you are choosing to go with has double breasted leather jackets as an option. Since double breasted leather jackets have fewer standard options than a lot of other types, going custom may be the route you want to take.

Those of us over here at Independence Brothers are always bespoke advocates. There is a list of pros that go along with a custom jacket. The first pro of having a bespoke leather jacket is the custom factor itself. You create this jacket to fit you, your personality, and your style. This is a huge draw for people to express themselves, or make sure that this jacket encompasses everything they want it to.

The second massive pro to having a bespoke leather jacket is that it will fit you in the truest way that a jacket can. If you are ordering from pre-made, pre-designed factory leather jackets, standard sizes are an option. With a slim fitting jacket like double breasted, that can be an issue in making sure you get a jacket that fits just right. Even when you pick a size, there is the possibility that it might not fit as snugly and securely as you would like it to, or conversely, it is too snug. Leather jackets should wear as if you have a second skin, and if you fall in-between sizes, that may not be the case. Sending in your measurements for a custom jacket avoids all of that.

If you do decide you may want to go custom, you can get a double breasted leather jacket right here at Independence Brothers. We are a company that was founded by Scott and Robbie, two brothers who value leather jackets and the way that they make you feel. Based in Philadelphia, Independence Brothers specializes in leather jackets that are made of quality materials, crafted with skill, and fit perfectly. The Independence Brothers jackets are made of lambskin, goatskin, and cowskin leathers so that they are durable, they age well, and they can last for generations. All of our jackets come with free custom measurements and are perfect for petite individuals to make sure they are getting a leather jacket that fits you just right. The Independence Brothers price tag comes in at as low as $380 and up for custom jackets, making it an affordable bespoke option.

Custom made leather jacket

Conclusion

Double breasted jackets are jackets that rose in fame because of royalty and have stuck to that to this day. As do most trends, the double breasted jacket has fallen and risen back up again in popularity, making its comeback. A jacket mostly associated with formalwear, it carved its way into the world of leather and stayed there. Having a leather jacket that you can wear in formal situations is always a plus for us since they are many times seen as more casual outerwear. To us, leather jackets are not just a piece of clothing. They are an embodiment of attitude, personality, and confidence. They have the ability to transform an everyday person into who they want to be. Having a leather jacket for fancier occasions expands your repertoire of leather options. To us, that is always a good thing. The double breasted leather jacket is a classy, classic option for your next purchase. We hope that this article will help guide you when it comes time for that purchase. Remember that those of us at Independence Brothers are here for any questions, comments, or concerns you may have about custom leather jackets, leather jackets in general, and the wonderful, wide world of leather.

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