a button’s story

To a suit novice, the world of suits may seem rather monolithic. Dark, solid colours dominate, and almost everything looks the same- ‘one good suit is enough to suffice for all relevant events.’

When you dive deeper, however, you will see how beautifully intricate and complex the world of suits is, and how much thought goes into the smallest of details in the construction of a suit.

One such detail is buttons, and a lay person would be surprised at the huge difference button choices make in the overall functionality and aesthetic of a suit.

double breasted

The classic double breasted is mostly worn with a 6 on 2 button arrangement (a total of 6 buttons, of which only 2 can be used). Due to the large flaps, ample lapels, and excess fabric, this suit is always worn buttoned up, even when inside and sitting down.

The 6-button structure helps accentuate the horizontal plane, enlarging the shoulder line. This feature makes it ideal for taller and leaner gents and is commonplace amongst military men. Meanwhile, shorter or wider gents may want to tread with care, as the emphasis on horizontal lines may highlight thickness.

Long story short, on most double breasted suits you will find two buttons which can be closed, and it must always be worn buttoned up.

single breasted two-piece

The most worn suit today, the single-breasted two-piece suit is very fashionable and versatile, making it the most viable option for modern times.

The 3 on 2 button layout in this case, is much more flexible than its double-breasted counterpart. It is worn with two buttons done when in town and one button done for evening events. The third button is inserted in the lapel roll, making for a better ‘soft’ roll rather than a flat one. 

The suit is left unbuttoned when sitting down but can also be left unbuttoned when indoors or when it is hot outside. Traditionally, suits were designed with European weather in mind, but given the rise in popularity of this classic garment amongst developing countries where temperatures vary drastically, some rules of formal wear have needed respective retuning. This makes the single-breasted two-piece suit the most malleable option.

single breast three-piece

Reserved for the most formal occasions, the single-breast three-piece adds the very fashionable waistcoat to your look. 

The waistcoat itself can be single or double breasted but can only be worn under single breasted jacket. The waistcoat, in this case, must always remain buttoned up. The rules for a single-breasted two-piece apply for the jacket in the three-piece, making it moderately versatile.

As is evident, the art of tailoring is intricate and complicated, and very thoughtful at the same time. Just as an artist must consider each stroke on their masterpiece and a Michelin star chef must think about each little ingredient they add to a broth, a tailor considers the functional and aesthetic value of every element they stitch into a suit. 

Well Gents! That concludes our deep-dive into the world of men’s fashion. To ensure that information described above is one that you remember refer to it frequently. Make sure to stay-tuned to our Gentleman 101 series for everything and more on living a lifestyle of chivalry. If you derived any entertainment or education from this piece, please share the post with others who you think may enjoy such content. Till next time gents, stay chivalrous!