Social Rules For Men’s Suits
Do you know all the rules that apply when buttoning a suit? Or why there are even rules at all? Luckily – they’re pretty easy to learn. Read on to find out why we do this for each type of jacket, and why we should actually pay close attention to suit buttoning etiquette.
Why do we button our suits?
1) It sends a signal that you pay attention to the details.
The vast majority of men who violate these rules tend to do so because they do not wear a suit very often. These small, attention-to-detail rules are used by “those in the know” to identify other men “in the know”. Consider it a secret head nod to the stylish gentleman to your right.
2) In most situations, this makes a suit look better on a man.
A buttoned suit when standing cuts a cleaner silhouette. When seated, unbuttoning allows you to sit more comfortably and prevent wrinkles and button stress/popping. In addition – many 3 button suits are not made to be buttoned at the top (called 2 1/2 suits), and the lower button is almost always in a position where it restricts movement (and provides no added silhouette forming features vs. single button buttoned).
It’s important to note that we’re talking about SUITS here. Sports jackets are usually buttoned the same way, but the rules are much more relaxed because it’s a more casual look.
Most modern suits have a single-breasted jacket. Buttoning depends on two factors: the number of buttons the jacket has and where the buttons are in relation to your waist.
A jacket with a high stance has buttons at and above the natural waist, while a jacket with a low stance (more common these days) has buttons at and below the waist.
Single-breasted one-button jackets are becoming more common (and the classic choice for Black Tie). These should always be buttoned when standing. You may unbutton when seated.
The conventional way to button a two-button jacket is to secure the top button and leave the lower undone. A few possible exceptions:
– Men who like a very long lapel sometimes button the lower and fold the lapel all the way down past the top buttonhole.
– An unusually high-stance jacket might look more proportional buttoned at the lower button.
– Very tall men may need to use the lower button rather than the upper to keep the jacket from spreading out above their waist and exposing the trouser-front and belt buckle (looks unsightly with a buttoned jacket).
The conventional method is to always button the middle button and to button the top if desired, while always leaving the bottom one undone.
Fastening all three buttons at once looks stiff – avoid at all costs!
Double-breasted jackets are almost always worn buttoned. It’s very unusual to unbutton one.
Double-breasted jackets are described with the total number of buttons on the suit front, followed by the number of working buttons — so a “six-on-four” jacket has six buttons but only four buttonholes.
Generally speaking, you want to button all that have working buttonholes.
If you plan to leave some buttons undone, it is most traditional to fasten the top one. However, men who prefer a longer line have been leaving the lowest button undone instead for quite a few years now. Members of the British royal family do so, so you’re probably safe either way.
Finally – if you see a man violating these rules, do not correct him in front of others. Judge the situation and perhaps in private, mention these rules and why they matter… especially if you know he is new to wearing a suit. The mark of a true gentleman is that he always treats others with respect and never makes another man feel inferior by his words or actions. – Source
Are these rules good to go or antiquated/useless? Let us know what your thoughts are and leave a comment in the box below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and like us on our Facebook Page. Thank you for dropping by!
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