This topic may seem a bit silly, but it is something that I run into often. A surprising number of gentlemen that I see are not aware of the basic rules when buttoning a suit jacket. I hear this question all the time as a wedding photographer. One thing that stays true is that you never button the bottom, ever.
The majority of men’s fashion designers tailor the fabric of suit jackets and waistcoats to be more flattering with the bottom button loose. This is men’s fashion 101. It does seem a bit off that designers would put the bottom there if you’re not supposed to use it. Why is?
This trend goes back to King Edward VII who ruled from 1901 to 1910. Often, people think this is a myth, but it is based in fact and here’s how it went down…
Some fashion blogs and magazines mention the story of King Edward VII when he was the Prince of Wales and suit were becoming popular. It was at this time the king became too fat to button his waistcoat, therefore he left it unbuttoned.
Out of respect for the king by the British court they stopped buttoning their bottom button too. The rest of the people living in England and British colonies would soon follow suit (fun with puns). And that’s how it became a rule for men’s fashion all over the world today.
The Two-Button Jacket
The top button is all you need. The two-button jacket should never be buttoned completely.
The Three-Button Jacket
The three-button suit, like others, comes with a simple rule: "sometimes, always, never." This means you should sometimes fasten the top button (if you want to), always fasten the middle button, and never fasten the bottom.