If you didn’t already notice, we’re big fans of James Bond here at Scotch and Rich and he never fails to impress when it comes to suiting. It’s for this reason that we’re going to take a page out of Bond’s book on how you should button your suit jackets.
As you may be aware, not all suits are created equal and there are proper and improper ways to button both a single-breasted suit jacket and our favourite the double-breasted jacket. This is the same no matter what type of jacket it is, whether a suit jacket, blazer, sports coat or dinner jacket. The rules are based on the cuts of the jackets rather than the style and we’ll cover each one of them in turn.
Firstly, jackets have been designed to be buttoned. This allows the wearer to take the most advantage of the cut of the jacket giving the person wearing it the best possible lines to the body. This is especially important for those of us that have less than idea waistlines, keeping certain parts of the body contained as well as simpler reasons such as keeping the tie in place when not wearing a waistcoat or tie clip.
Let’s start with double-breasted jackets.
The simple rule with double-breasted jackets is that they must stay buttoned at all times, both when standing and sitting. Yes, we’re aware for the eagle eyed of you that Pierce Brosnan breaks this rule in GoldenEye.
Due to the overlap in the design of a double-breasted jacket, when worn open it looks sloppy and flops around. Furthermore, due to the hidden anchor button (also known as jigger button) it would involve unbuttoning both outer and inner buttons when unfastening it to sit down making the whole affair rather cumbersome.
Now let’s look at the different double-breasted jacket styles and how to button them.
Our favourite and the most common and classic double-breasted style, the button two who three (6x2) has multiple ways to button up. The standard is to fasten only the top button however you can also opt to fasten only the bottom button or indeed both buttons.
Our beloved Roger Moore, let him rest in peace, wears this style in his first five Bond films and fastens only the top button to emphasise his waist and give him freedom of movement.
On the other hand, Prince Charles prefers to fasten both the buttons when he dons a double-double-breasted suit, most likely due to the military influence. Although this can be less comfortable, having double vents at the back can provide a bit of relief.
Moving back to Bond, we find that Bill Tanner in For Your Eyes Only tends to fasten his double-breasted suit jackets only by the bottom button. This is only possible if you have a soft canvas and also is dependant on the button stance. Too low and the jacket will become unbalanced.
The next style of double-breasted suit that we look at is the button three, show three (6x3) style that follows the naval reefer style that it comes from. When wearing this style of double-breasted suit, like both Roger Moore and George Lazenby wear as navy blazers should be worn with all three buttons fastened. This is to keep in with tradition of the navy and it’s how you’d expect Bond to wear it as a navy man.
Now lets move onto Single-Breasted Jackets.
The most common style you’ll find today is the two button jacket. When wearing this you should only ever fasten the top button when standing and never ever fasten the bottom button. This is not a rule that was created out of thin air but is linked back to the design of the coat and how it is cut. The reason for this is that in a two button single-breasted jacket, the foreparts are curved away below the top button, and thus the lower button does not meet up with its corresponding button hole meaning that if it were fastened, it’d cause the shape of the jacket to become distorted and pull across the hips. Unfortunately even Mr. Bond makes this error in both Dr, No, From Russia with Love and Diamonds are Forever. You should know better Sean Connery.
On a two button jacket, the jacket may either stay buttoned whilst sitting or may be unbuttoned for comfort. When wearing a tailored jacket, the button ideally sits at the body’s natural waist, allowing the jacket to be comfortably buttoned whilst seated. If the button is placed either too low or high, the jacket will need to be unbuttoned. We’ll leave it up to you to decided on this in the situation.
One button suits
It’s very simple when wearing a one button suit. You should always have it buttoned whist standing and may choose to unbutton it or not when seated. Simples.
When wearing a three piece suit you are permitted to wear the jacket open at all times in oder to show off the waistcoat. The waistcoat acts as a cover to the waist and also holds in the tie however wearing the jacket open is still optional. If closed the rules above apply.
Finally, when wearing a jacket without a tie, you are able to forge the buttoning of your jacket. This however means that the benefits of wearing a fitted jacket are lost. When wearing a beautifully cut suit, its still recommended to button your jacket to take full advantage of the lines.