Suit Button Rules: Sometimes, Always, Never


Something that tends to pop up again and again on photoshoots is a banter between myself and the male model (sometimes even between myself and the client) about how to properly button a mens suit jacket.

You may be thinking “What could you possibly argue about?  They are buttons.  Either button or don’t button them”.

Ah, if only it were that simple.


In order to wear a suit properly there is one steadfast cardinal rule of sartorial dressing to follow and it seems most gents didn’t get the memo.   The rule of thumb is easy to remember: Sometimes, Always, Never.

It is optional to button the top button, always button the middle button and never button the bottom button.

Guys, you NEVER, EVER, EVER button the bottom button on your suit jacket!

This rule applies to more than just three-button suits, in fact the rule applies to any jacket, coat, sweater or vest. even if you’re wearing a Steampunk inspired jacket with a gazillion buttons–top sometimes (optional), middle button or buttons always, bottom never.  When wearing a two button suit just cut out the sometimes and it becomes- top always, bottom never.

Suit jackets are not designed to have the bottom button closed, it causes unattractive pulling, tension in the fabric and restricts movement.  It is just not flattering on the overall silhouette.  This is a Stylist and Fashion Designers pet-peeve.  His Royal Highness of suiting, Tom Ford, has even been  known to go around and unbutton improperly buttoned mens jackets at parties!

So, if you are at a photoshoot or an event and you see me giving your jacket the stink eye, please double check your buttoning technique.

Sometimes, Always, Never.

Now that you are buttoned up properly, make sure to cut the stitches on the back vent of your jacket before leaving the house!  Another of my sartorial pet-peeves!

Suit up!

(opening photo from Vegas Player Magazine.  Photographer: Robert John Kley, Stylist: Christie Moeller, Grooming and MU: Krystal Randall)

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