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Top Button on Three Button Suit

bumphrey hogart

One of the Regulars
Messages
159
Location
cornwall,England
I grew up in the early to mid-'60s watching single-breasted, two-button jackets on all the male leads on TV, and I still can't get into the 3-button look. Maybe the ones I see belong to people who don't know what they're doing, but buttoning the top 2 on a 3-button suit or jacket makes them resemble sausages stuffed into casings. It looks hot and uncomfortable.

:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap,:eusa_clap.
 

carldelo

One Too Many
Messages
1,568
Location
Astoria, NYC
I grew up in the early to mid-'60s watching single-breasted, two-button jackets on all the male leads on TV, and I still can't get into the 3-button look. Maybe the ones I see belong to people who don't know what they're doing, but buttoning the top 2 on a 3-button suit or jacket makes them resemble sausages stuffed into casings. It looks hot and uncomfortable.

If a 3-button looks that bad with the top button done up, that doesn't mean it's a general sartorial error, it means the suit jacket doesn't fit correctly. Or it's one of those jackets designed to be "three-button rolling to two" as mentioned by Torpedo above. I was in J. Press a couple of weeks ago looking for a three-button sport jacket, and they were very specific that their jackets, which are ALL three-button, are intended to be worn with the center button only done up. I tried the top button on one, and it indeed looked terrible.

I've been looking through a bunch of the sticky threads of catalog scans of suits - without fail, every two-button, single-breasted jacket has only the top button done up - everyone seems to agree on that point.

The three-button single-breasted jackets depicted have either center-only or both of the top two buttons done up. The center-only buttoned jackets are generally the sporty, tweedy, outdoorsy types, while the top-two buttoned jackets tend to look more business-like. This is only a loose generalization, however. But there are plenty of 3-buttons shown with the top two buttons done up, which confirms to me that this is a proper way to wear one, which is good, because that's how I wear them. On that note, living in NYC I see a large number of extremely well-dressed men in my travels, and it is quite common to see the top button closed on a three-button suit.

PS edited to remove a snarky comment after re-reading. BTW, many of my travels are in the NY art world, and I do see a large number of skinny art-world types wearing black suits with peg-leg pants, sleeves that are way too short and tight-fitting jackets with all the buttons done up. It's become a cliche, and is very unpleasant-looking on most.
 
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Matt_the_chap

One of the Regulars
Messages
129
Location
Sheffield, England
I've always considered it to be Sometimes, Always, Never as a general rule. The cut of the suit, my location (indoors, outdoors, walking, lounging about and so on) all play a part but sticking to that rule has done me no harm so far and looks right on those suits cut for the top to be fastened.

As regards DB, they're either always done up or taken off. There's no middle-ground and that's how I like it with DBs.
 

Philalethes

A-List Customer
Messages
466
Location
Southern New Jersey, on a Farm
I meant to thank you earlier for all of the great pics.

19911_Cary-Grant-Box-Set-20.JPG


10-p23.jpg



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Philalethes

A-List Customer
Messages
466
Location
Southern New Jersey, on a Farm
I'm sure even Cary got fed up of being elegant all the time, and when forced to go and meet another bloody studio execs son, for another bloody photo, there was a bit of devilment with, 'I'm going to put my shirt collar over my jacket and just do the bottom button up,that'll show'em'.

That is one plausible explanation. I also wonder if he broke the rules not simply to be contrarian but because he thought it looked good. It makes me think, for example, of a musician who learns music theory but decides to break the rules to make "incorrect" yet still aesthetically pleasing music.
 

Fifty150

One Too Many
Messages
1,407
Location
The Barbary Coast
Unlike Cary Grant, I don't get to stand around to pose for too many pictures. My coat conceals my firearm. Any and all buttons get in the way if I need to draw my weapon. If I'm not carrying a gun, then it all depends on the weather. If it is cold, then I button up. You don't know how many cold days I've gone out, with a top coat, rain coat, or trench coat, only to have to leave it open "just in case".
 

Philalethes

A-List Customer
Messages
466
Location
Southern New Jersey, on a Farm
How Not to Button a 3-Piece Suit

badsuit004.jpg

By philalethes at 2011-02-18

badsuit002.jpg

By Philalethes at 2011-02-18

Perhaps it does not show well in the pictures, but that is not merely a bulge in the fabric: that is Russ Tamblyn's gut...

I took these stills from the movie War of the Gargantuas, a Japanese Godzilla-like film about two giant warring creatures spawned from the cells of a giant Frankenstein monster (yes, it is that good). This scene has the camera follow Tamblyn and another actor down a corridor for a few seconds - although it feels like an eternity of looking at this bad suit.

(BTW, this is the same Russ Tamblyn from West Side Story...)
 

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