Tradition dictates that a suit jacket should always be buttoned up until you sit down, at which point you should unbutton the suit to prevent it from creasing and to make you feel more comfortable. But fashion shouldn’t always be bound by tradition. Choosing to leave your suit jacket unbuttoned can be a wise style choice, whether it’s to flatter your figure or to make a fashion statement.
Traditional Buttoning Rules
If tradition is important to you, be sure to the understand buttoning rules for various different types of suits.
- Single-breasted suits with a single button should always be buttoned. Single-breasted suits with two buttons should always have the top button fastened and the bottom button unfastened.
- Single-breasted suits with three buttons should always have the middle button fastened. Fastening the top button is optional, and the bottom button should never be fastened.
- Double-breasted jackets should almost always be fully buttoned because when left unbuttoned the suit hangs in an awkward position. Usually, all the working buttons are fastened except for the bottom one which can be left unfastened if you wish.
Button to Flatter the Figure
A buttoned suit jacket has a slimming effect on the figure which is appealing for those with heavier builds. Buttoning up emphasizes the shoulders and elongates the body to create the illusion of a svelte frame. For those who are particularly slim or athletic, this figure-flattering technique may not be a priority. It might be easier for those who are slim to get away with a more casual unbuttoned look provided that the suit fits them well and isn’t too big in the back, in which case there is a risk of an unbuttoned suit looking boxy.
Unbutton to Make a Style Statement
Leaving a suit unbuttoned can give your look a rebellious, modern edge and set you apart as someone who likes to break from tradition. Unbuttoned suits are also great for smart-casual events, but in these cases, it is best to opt for a single-breasted, single-button suit in a modern cut. Unbuttoning is also a popular choice when wearing a waistcoat underneath the suit jacket. After all, if you’re going to the effort of wearing an extra garment you might as well show it off. Just be sure that your waistcoat and suit are a good match and a really great fit.
Button to Showcase Your Suit’s Tailoring
The main reason why buttoning up is the preferable choice is because it shows off the cut of the suit in the best possible way. If you’re working with a suit that has been custom-made or tailored to fit you perfectly, buttoning the jacket truly showcases the suit’s high quality and fit. However, if you’re working with a jacket that’s a little too small or too large, buttoning it up could emphasize the poor fit. Unbuttoned can be a handy way to hide the sins of an ill-fitting suit, but the real solution, in this case, is to have the suit properly tailored.