What to do with jacket? Button or unbutton?19.05.2022
Recently, a reader criticized me for not having my jacket buttoned. While I can understand your feelings, I want to emphasize that it does not necessarily mean you should follow it blindly.
It seemed like the perfect candidate for our ‘Rules & How to Break Them’ series. There are currently 11 chapters. This series is based on the argument that rules are more like conventions, which are ways of being behaved that exist for a reason. Although they don’t need to be followed, it is helpful to understand the reasoning so that you can know what you are giving up if you break them.
Okay, first of all, why is it better to keep your jacket buttoned than open?
Because everything about how the jacket is cut and constructed assumes it is. It has been designed so that you will look great from the shoulder to the chest and down into the skirt.
This button acts as a fulcrum. The fronts flow downwards around your hips and the lapels run up towards your shoulders. It emphasizes width at the top, but slimness in the middle.
The shirt is also framed by the lapels, or shirt-and-tie, which reinforces the V shape of the chest. They conceal the sometimes puffy shirt and create a continuous line from the waist through the long, straight legs.
A lot of the jacket falls off once it is unbuttoned. The jacket opens at the flap. The jacket’s carefully designed shape is gone, especially in the bottom.
No matter what you think about Tony Blair, ex-Prime Minister (and please do not tell me what your thoughts are), he was a great example of this. Blair would always button his suit jacket immediately he got out the car. He even learned the one-handed technique of raising one hand to greet the press.
This made him appear better and also gave him authority.
There are clear arguments for both sides.
You must remove your jacket when you sit down. You can also take off your jacket if you are full from a generous lunch with a client.
It’s okay to unbutton your jacket if you feel hot after a long walk in the streets of New York. Others, such as not falling asleep on the sidewalk or appearing comfortable, are even more important.
Comfort is the key. It is a common mistake for men to appear strained, fussy or uncomfortable. Elegance is all about ease.
If you find it uncomfortable to button your jacket, there are good reasons not to. Keep in mind what you are giving up and then button it again once you return to an air-conditioned workplace. You can also have it taken out to make it easier to wear.
Unbuttoned jackets are controversial because they look more casual and can be worn with casual items.
This has something for you. Neapolitan jackets often look better unbuttoned that English ones, which can make the edges of the jackets appear a bit awkward. It is usually made from a canvas that restricts its flow.
It’s true that casual tailoring can be more appropriate than formal in other ways, such as hairy tweed instead of worsted wool or sports jacket instead of suit. Sometimes the jacket should even be left open.
A Neapolitan jacket, on the other hand, may need that anchor at the waist less, as it has less to hold it in place. It will always look more flattering when buttoned.
This is more about your priorities, I believe.
An alternative argument is that a jacket without buttons can be worn with casual trousers such as jeans.
A buttoned jacket can look great with denim. It is easier to do this if your jacket is more open than a cardigan. The jacket’s shape is likely to be less important, especially if your trousers are not straight or sharp anymore.
Readers often choose the jacket-and-jeans look, although not always (to my mind). It’s worth leaving the jacket off-the-shoulder and not allowing anyone to nag you in your head.
Many men who work in suits in offices don’t wear jackets unless it is cold.
You should make more effort, I would say to them. You’ll feel better if you button your jacket every time you get up from the desk. You can conceal your incipient pockmarks by wearing it.
There are a few men who, more likely than not, know that you should always have your jacket buttoned. That’s why a jacket is important.
They’re correct, but I would say that you are wrong. Style is not about what clothes you buy, but how you wear them. Men who are admired for their style can show it by exposing their collars to the wind. Relaxation is as important as being able to draw lines and fulcrums.