Have you ever heard of the Golden Rule of Suit Buttons? There has always been an unspoken rule on how you should button your suit jackets. It might sound ridiculous to have a certain way to button up, but it does make an impact on your image as a whole.
Did you realise that many gentlemen undo the buttons of their suit jacket when sitting down, and immediately button it up when they are no longer seated? Or, they only button the top two out of three buttons on their suit jacket? This practice was actually introduced unintentional to be passed down generations to generations.
Let’s go back in time to the 1900s. Many believe that this buttoning practice started from the then King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. King Edward VII was known to have an enormous appetite, which contributed to his huge physique. To compromise his body figure, he wore his suit jackets with bottom buttons undone for comfort. As rumoured, his subjects followed suit in a form of respect, and gradually this trend spread worldwide and continued up till this date.
There are several variations of suits when it comes to buttons. There can be a single-breasted suit with only one button, and there can also be a double-breasted ‘six-on-four’ suit. To make things easier, remember this: “Sometimes, Always, and Never”. Let’s talk about single-breasted suit first.
Suit Jackets with ONE Button:
You only have one button, so that is pretty straightforward. Remember to always button up while standing and undo the button when you are sitting down. If you leave your jacket buttoned when seated, it is going to restrict your motion and it will be very uncomfortable.
Suit Jackets with TWO Buttons:
In recent times, suit jackets with two buttons are becoming more common. One can be easily spotted on any famous celebrities walking down the red carpet. Taking note of their buttons, only the top button is fastened. Always button the top, and never the bottom one. With the bottom button fastened, it will be tight around the hip area. This will affect the silhouette of your body, hence affecting your proportions and aesthetics of your suit.
Suit Jackets with THREE Buttons:
Fully apply the “Sometimes, Always, and Never” here. The middle button should constantly be buttoned up, while you can choose whether the top button should be fastened or undone. Generally, suit jackets with a flat lapel allows buttoning of the top button. However when there is a lapel roll which extends the top button, leaving it undone would be recommended. (Read more about Lapel Gorge here.)
(1st from the right: How it looks like when seated with buttoned suit jacket)
Never ever button all three of the buttons, for the same reason as mentioned for two button suit jackets. Not only it restricts your mobility, the fabric will wrap around the whole area from your waist to hip, and it looks especially unkempt if you do not remember to release the buttons before sitting.
Double-Breasted Suit Jackets:
(A double-breasted vest; yes it works the same for vest as well!)
The most common way of wearing a double-breasted suit jacket would be buttoning all functional buttons. However leaving the bottom button undone works as well. Whether seated or standing, all (except bottom) buttons are expected to be buttoned, or else your jacket would look sloppy due to the extended fabric in front.
Hey, it’s just buttons, why should people care about how I button my suits?
It shows a lot on how much attention you pay on your outfit, and when you wear your buttons correctly, your suit would look a thousand times better. It is true that many are not aware of this buttoning rule, but if you do know, people are going to notice the difference. Educate your friends who are new to suits as well, and they are going to be very thankful for that!
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