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The Rules of Buttons

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Friday, January 29th, 2010 in Q&As

Settle a debate for me: how do you properly button a vest? How about a peacoat?

Here are the basic rules to follow.

First off, a vest should be buttoned all the way, with the exception of the very bottom button. The history of this is rather antiquated and possibly pointless, but nowadays it serves a much more utilitarian purpose: vests are usually tailored in such a way where bottoming the lowest button would mess up the tailoring, essentially making it something of an accent moreso than an actual button to be used. Vests should never never never be unbuttoned unless you are taking them off: do not walk around with them hanging off your shoulders like some actor in a White House thriller pretending to be a fat analyst or something.

The same applies to single breasted suits as well. If you have a two button jacket, button only the top. If you have a three button jacket, button only the top two. Like the aforementioned, buttoning the bottom can make the tailoring look awkward.

As for anything double-breasted, it should always be buttoned. Do not, under any circumstances, walk around with your peacoat open- that’s not the style, it looks awkward and indicates someone without knowledge of how to wear the garment.

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