You probably know by now that one should always leave the bottom button of a suit undone, but have you ever thought to wonder why this is? Well, legend has it that King Edwards VII, who ruled in the early 1900's, started this trend. What the story says is that he got so round around his belly that he was not able to close the bottom button of his suit jacket. In order to not offend the king, his employees started to leave their bottom button unbuttoned as well. This ‘trend’ then gradually spread from the UK to the rest of the world…and here we are today!
Regardless if the sleeve buttons fill a function or not, a suit jacket will have one to four buttons on the sleeve. Since the sleeve buttons have no real function, some prefer 'fake holes' as these look better. Others argue the only, or the best, way to see (read show off) a tailored suit is by looking at the sleeve buttons, as a tailored suit rarely has fake sleeve buttons.
One sleeve button is casual, four buttons are formal. Choose the number of buttons according to when, and to what occasion(s), you will use the suit.
Regarding the space between the buttons, a general rule is that the buttons should touch. You don’t want a gap between the buttons, but you also don’t want them to overlap each other. When the buttons are so close that they touch without overlapping each other, then you have it right. Remember; this has a lot to do with taste and preference. Some prefer when the buttons overlap each other, whereas others like a bigger gap between each button. You decide!
Suit Jacket Buttons
Top button: should sometimes be buttoned
Middle button: should always be buttoned
Lower button: should never be buttoned
A single breasted suit jacket has either one, two or three buttons at the front.
One buttoned jacket are flattering for slim men, and often worn to black tie events (Tuxedos).
HOW TO WEAR IT: Buttoned when standing, unbuttoned when sitting.
Two buttoned jacket is one of the more classic looks, as it looks good on most (dare I say all?) body types.
HOW TO WEAR IT: Top button buttoned when standing, unbuttoned when sitting, bottom button never buttoned.
Three buttoned jacket suits are great for taller men because of the buttons alignment.
HOW TO WEAR IT: Top button optional to button or not, middle button is buttoned (even when sitting), bottom button unbuttoned.
A double breasted jacket has usually has four, six, or eight buttons, and it’s considered more formal than the single breasted one.
Real Vs Fake Button Holes
One of the easiest ways of telling a tailor made suit from a off the rack bought suit is looking at the sleeve- and lapel buttonholes.
A tailor made suit is likely to have real sleeve and lapel buttonholes, where as an off the rack suit will always have fake ones. However, remember that a tailored suit can also have fake button holes. It's about your taste and preference.
So why do you need real button holes, you may ask?
Back in the days you needed real sleeve button holes to be able to roll up your sleeves for work, hence the name work and surgeon sleeves. This has changed, and now a day it’s more about style than anything else. Some stylists say you should, as with the suit jacket, leave one button unbuttoned. This is truly a matter of taste; some like the style, some do it to show the world they have a tailored made suit, and others think its unnecessary and a way of "bragging". If you were to leave one button unbuttoned, it should be the button closest to the hand.
Do you still have questions? Leave us a question in the comment field!