Oh, buttons! They grace so many parts of a formal suit but seem to cause lots of confusion. How to button a suit (and all its parts!) is the question of the day. Should buttons be buttoned or unbuttoned? Are they just decoration or useful? Let’s button up these common questions once and for all.
The Jacket: Buttoned or Unbuttoned?
As a general rule of formal wear etiquette, a jacket should be buttoned when standing and unbuttoned when seated. Of course, there are additional rules too.
On a two-button jacket, only use the top one when it’s time to button up. Have three buttons? You just gained options! When buttoning, always use the middle button. The top is optional, and the bottom button is decorative. Don’t button it!
A double-breasted jacket has rules all of its own. It can be fully buttoned (like royalty!) when both seated and standing. Be sure your tailor fits it this way so it’s not too tight when bending to sit. For a more casual approach, button all the buttons except the bottom row.
What About A Dress Shirt?
Under your jacket, you probably have a button-up dress shirt. Here, we like to observe two rules: with and without a tie. If you’re sporting a Windsor knot or bow tie, button your shirt all the way to the top.
If you’re going without a tie, it’s appropriate to leave the top two buttons open. Take note that your undershirt isn’t visible. If so, button back up or choose a low-scoop neck undershirt.
Do I Button The Vest?
Much like a jacket, leave the bottom button undone and close the vest whether you’re seated or standing. It would look awkward to leave a vest open with a suit, so button it up!
Why is There a Button Inside My Waistband?
If your dress pants have a hook and clasp closure at the front, you probably have a small interior button on the waistband. Button it. It’s there to help with the drape and fit of your pants across the front of the groin.
Now that you’re comfortable with the rules of buttoning your suit and shirt, it’s time to find the perfect suit or tux for your formal event! Jim’s Formal Wear has the hottest seasonal trends ready to browse. Check out our online gallery today!