Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

how to button your suit. October 15, 2012

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:57 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I didn’t believe it when my husband told me, years ago, that this was the way it is done. However, I’ve just read J. J. Lee’s memoir, and as a tailor’s apprentice and fashion journalist, I bow to his expertise.  Lee says that on a two button suit the rule is,

  • top button ALWAYS buttoned
  • bottom button NEVER buttoned

On a three button suit, the top one is a wild card, dependant on the lie of the lapels and the fit of the man wearing it,

  • top button  SOMETIMES buttoned
  • middle button ALWAYS buttoned
  • bottom button NEVER buttoned

I mentioned this to a student wearing a beautiful pin striped double breasted suit on “Dress up like a gangster” day at school.  He said, “I’m not traditional.”  >>sigh<<  There’s traditional, and then there is just ‘wrong.’  2 plus 2 is traditionally 4, and if you claim it’s 5, you’re just wrong.  I decided to look for some photographic evidence to support this button rule, and I looked back to the days of cool suit wearing, studying photos of the Rat Pack.  They follow the rule.  See?


2 Responses to “how to button your suit.”

  1. Aw, I thought we were going to be treated to some examples of sartorial excellence. I must add that on a frock coat, none of the buttons are fastened. They ( whoever they are ) say that things always go in cycles (bikes?). If that’s the case, when is it men’ s turns to be the peacocks again, an all walk about like Beau Brummel? I’m fed up with black, brown and navy blue now.I want an age of elegance back for me where when one bends down I don’t get to see next week’s washing.

  2. Yes I was familiar with this rule. I wear a uniform for my job and when hired and fitted for our uniforms we are instructed to button the top button and leave the bottom one unbuttoned.

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