Why I Like It: The Double Breasted Blazer
The coat I can’t seem to kick
I go through these phases that my friend Rosie calls peanut butter syndrome: I love a garment so much that I refuse to take it off until I can’t look at it anymore. She calls it peanut butter syndrome because it’s kind of like sticking a spoon into a jar of PB and eating and eating and eating and eating until inevitably, your body revolts and you’re forced to throw up.
When I started wearing double breasted jackets, I was sure the enthusiasm was fleeting. A classic case of peanut butter syndrome was well underway but then one year passed, two years passed, three years past and yet our relationship remains akin to that of Heidi Montag’s relationship with plastic surgery, which is to say: Never Enough!
I’d like to think this has been true of my inclination (though I can’t speak for hers) since before Dries Van Noten or Stella McCartney or Phoebe Philo made it so, but those chances are slim. Still, their re-appropriations have to come from somewhere, right? So when did double-breasting start and why do I like it so damn much?
In consulting Wikipedia, it appears the jacket style became popular in the 1930s. Then it fell into a coma and returned to popular culture in the early 1980s, when lapels were still wide-as-fuck (care of the 70s) and everyone wanted to look like John Travolta — flexible hip and all.
Then in 2011 I walked into Brooks Brothers, located a size 14 wool jacket for boys, draped it over my shoulders and have been annoying figure-flatterers with my concealed upper body ever since.
From an aesthetic point of view, I appreciate their boxiness. The jacket falls nicely over a woman’s body when it isn’t buttoned, revealing a slight sliver of her shape but masking the greater portion of it. Some are short but most are long, covering an ass completely, which I stand behind. I also enjoy the jacket-to-body ratio of negative space as only evidenced from a profile angle.
Intrinsically, I like the idea of wearing a garment that has, until recently, been male-centric but currently appeals almost exclusively to women. (When I asked my partner-in-sex why he didn’t wear double breasted jackets, he threw back his head like he was an evil oligarch and I had just suggested that he give socialism a chance.)
But why don’t more men wear double breasted jackets anymore?
The pictured jacket, by Céline, is one of the best I’ve met. It is smart. Square as a cardboard box yet softer than a llama’s elbow, its masculine shape isn’t compromised in spite of it being for women. And femininity is not jeopardized either. The six pearl buttons stand as an insouciant hat-off to being a woman — a badge of honor that initiates you and your comrades, excluding the you-know-whos.
…All the while making you want to dance a little dance. Ya di ya da.
So whatever, if men don’t want it — consider the double breasted blazer now our thing. We’ll take that jar of peanut butter, too.