Suit Buttons

Many guys ask about the suit buttons.  Which ones to button?  What kind of materials should you get on the replacements? Let's take a look.

Why do you only button the bottom one?  So the legend has it that the reason for this comes from good old King Edward VII of England.  He supposedly got so fat, that he was physically unable to button his bottom spot without tearing his clothes.  After his staffers saw this, they ended up unbuttoning their lower spot as well, and the trend grew.

I’m not sure how much of this is realistic and how much is really myth.  The reality is, most suits are not supposed to have the bottom button done.  Try it out, especially on a three or 4 button and see how it looks and feels.  In most cases, it will make the suit fold unnaturally and it may a little tougher to move around.  Its OK to totally unbutton it, especially when sitting or moving around quickly.

For a double-breasted style, the same guideline applies.  Its not as hard and fast as with the single breasted look though.  Some guys do button it all the way and can look ok doing it.  Since its based off of a jacket design they look and feel a little more acceptable when fully buttoned.  Just remember to keep it buttoned when standing in most cases.

Sometimes, the buttons may wear out, crack, or otherwise need to be replaced.  In these cases the best bet is to replace it with a color that is most similar to the fabric.  If you can’t find a good match and you’re in a pinch go with a darker color.  Getting a loud, bright color or a contrasting hue will only draw attention to your waist.  A lot of guys won’t want that!

As far as materials, you can go with shell materials.  Look out for abalone or agoya.  These are cheaper grade and can tend to crack and look uneven.  Horn is a popular choice by many style gurus.  Mother of pearl is a little too bright for my tastes but some guys like it.