You just have to look at old pictures of the legendary actor Steve McQueen to see that he inhabited a different sartorial age. The handsome star of The Great Escape nearly always favoured double-breasted jackets and three-piece suits and was rarely spotted in today’s ubiquitous two-button, two piece suit. However, the specific style of his suits clearly anticipates today’s preference for slim-fitting, double-breasted jackets with a shorter length. Looking for a fresher way to style the double-breasted suit for the modern age, designers have generally chosen to skip over the stuffy, heavy-handed cuts of the ‘80s, looking instead to McQueen’s era for something tight and chic. One thing that’s immediately apparent from pictures of McQueen’s double-breasted jackets (below) is the slim fitting waist and trousers, something that marks him out as a clear antecedent of today’s fashion.
Modern trend-setters such as the British actor Douglas Booth have worn designer, double-breasted suits featuring 6 x 2 buttons, meaning that the jacket features 6 buttons but only 2 of the buttons fasten. More often that not, McQueen wore 6 x 3 jackets (see above), a look, derived from military uniforms, that was all the rage in the ‘60s but is rarely seen today. In my opinion, the look lends itself well to today’s stylings because it cuts back on the stuffiness of the top 2 “show” buttons while producing a slimmer, more vertical silhouette. Whichever you prefer, shirts and ties, it also lends itself to more ornate paisley ties and patterned shirts.