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I think a lot of folks here are familiar with that "rule." This evening I was watching Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), in which Joseph Cotton very clearly wears a button-down collar with a double-breasted suit (it's the scene where he confronts Teresa Wright in the bar). I also remember somebody here posting a photo of Cary Grant from around the same time, also wearing the "forbidden" combination.

My question is, what is the origin of this rule? Having seen a couple of examples, I can't say there is anything inherently strange looking about a double-breasted suit with a button down collar and tie. I admit, an OCBD would be a bit weird, but a regular broadcloth or poplin one it seems to look ok.
 

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I watched Shadow of a Doubt recently and thought Joseph Cotton looked good in the DB suit with button down. I wasn't aware of the "rule" so had no untoward thoughts. Maybe a "rule" that has been demoted? However, can't add anything to its origin.
 

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It's one of those rules that doesn't take into account that it can and has been done tastefully. The picture you probably refer to is this:



I've used it often to demonstrate that it looks FINE if it has the right shape and overall attitude. I believe Untilted wore a 4x2 double breasted with a BD earlier this year and it looked great. The collar on Grant's is slightly more spread and the points are longer than most -- though that was fairly common for BD shirts then. Note the double cuffs. I'm sure the fabric is more formal than oxford, too. Maybe pinpoint or twill?

Just my opinion.
 

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I think a lot of folks here are familiar with that "rule." This evening I was watching Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), in which Joseph Cotton very clearly wears a button-down collar with a double-breasted suit (it's the scene where he confronts Teresa Wright in the bar). I also remember somebody here posting a photo of Cary Grant from around the same time, also wearing the "forbidden" combination.

My question is, what is the origin of this rule? Having seen a couple of examples, I can't say there is anything inherently strange looking about a double-breasted suit with a button down collar and tie. I admit, an OCBD would be a bit weird, but a regular broadcloth or poplin one it seems to look ok.
The rule is the result of some guy saying it's a rule. As depicted in Jovan's CG photo, it can look very good. Depends on the collar, the suit and tie, and the guy who is wearing it. But if you've got an ugly collar, and poorly cut DB, it can look pretty awful.

Viewing Jovan's post and photo again, I feel inspired, so I'll add -

CG's collar looks something of a masterpiece. It has a bit of the look and dimension of a spread collar. If I once again magically had the services of a good shirtmaker and tailor, I'd commission an ensemble. I'd have my tailor do a DB in a hefty tan gabardine. Broad natural shoulders, slightly nipped waist, but no darts, and unflapped, welted patch pockets. My shirtmaker would produce a shirt, perhaps in royal oxford, with a similar collar, and heck, I might even put double cuffs on it too! I'd like a striped tie with it and a silk paisley pocket square. Reverse calf chocolate brown bluchers in a city cut.

Oh, and of course, merino wool socks with clocks in a color from my tie!
 

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I think the origin is that button-down collars were supposedly developed to prevent the collars from flapping in the faces of guys playing pole. Hence, it's a sport shirt, not a dress shirt. Hence, what they did back in England in some previous century is the rule for us in the United States in 2009.

Buy it? Me, neither.
 

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Iff you are Cary Grant or Fred Astaire....

The BD collar is the nadir of collars that can be worn with a tie in terms of formality, whereas a DB suit is almost the height of formality in a lounge suit.
Also note that ole Cary Grant is sporting a french-cuffed button-down collar. If you feel you can pull this off, it's your call. I'll err on the side of caution and say strong formality conflict.
 

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The rule is the result of some guy saying it's a rule.
Buy it? Me, neither.
Gee, when I say things like that they try to run me out on a rail. :icon_smile_big:

Actually I don't think that a buttondown collar looks very good with a double breasted suit, even if there wasn't a rule; but I do think they look fine with single breasted suits.

Cruiser
 

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Gee, when I say things like that they try to run me out on a rail. :icon_smile_big:
Well, there is that! :icon_smile_big:

But as both Jovan and I pointed out, it doesn't necessarily look good with just any BD & DB. And there are some other things I just don't care for, so, they're my rules! The USAF taught me that flip-flops are properly termed shower clogs. I refer to them as such when my wife wears them. As is self-evident, I am a glutton for punishment.
 

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BD with double breasted

The buttondown worn by Cary Grant looks great with the DB. But as pointed out, it is not the typical Bdown sold in stores. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a french cuff buttondown. Also, after reading a bio about Cary Grant, I understand that his movie wardrobes were all custom made. So this shirt may have been one of a kind. The typical BD is oxford or oxford pinpoint with a roll type collar, which at least to me, does not measure up to the formal appearance of the double breasted... but thats just my thought.
 
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