A: (from WikiAnswers.com)

The tradition of leaving the bottom button of a coat undone started as a fashion choice. Coats are designed to flare away at the bottom, since the hips are (generally) broader than the waist, where a coat should be fastened. Modern suits are all cut with this in mind, and thus the bottom button should never be used, as it throws off the tailoring of the suit, turning a man's silhouette into a cylinder. 

Ideally, three-button suits aren't supposed to have the top button fastened, either; leaving it undone balances the look and permits the lapel to roll closer to the waist, where it should be. In fact, the
two-button suit takes care of this nicely by removing the offending button altogether. It is possible to button the top button without violating fashion rules.

There are a few exceptions. The bottom button on some double-breasted jacket is buttoned. There is also a type of custom jacket called a "paddock coat," where the placement of the buttons is altered and both are buttoned. John F. Kennedy was known to wear such a jacket.

The custom of leaving the bottom button on a waistcoat undone comes from the early 20th century. King Edward VII was too rotund to fasten his bottom button and the custom came from his imitators.

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  • Nice work Stephen. I always wondered about it myself.

    I have to agree with all of you. 3 buttons are the minimum on a jacket and personnaly, I like 4. The thing is, it's hard to come up with details that are universally accepted. Trust me, I have tried to describe the perfect Mod suit on my blog and I've been teased ever since. You try to draw from different sources but you have to take the era, the different scenes and all the cultural influences into consideration. Not an easy task! Especially since in the 60s, details that were considered "in" one week, would be "out" the next.

    For instance, some will thumb their nose at "off the peg" suits and will only wear an expensive bespoke tonic suit while others will be satisfied with a second hand Camden Market vintage jacket. In the end, it's all about personnal taste. As long as you look clean and smart, of course. Well, you be the judge...


  • Every suit I have is 3 buttoned. It's the only look for me.
    • 3 buttons for me 2.thay just look good and feel good. and every one get,s buttoned.
    • Have to agree. I noticed some new Mods wearing 2 button , and it can look smart.
      But for me it has to be at least 3. Top button undone, or bottom one undone.
      I also like several buttons up the sleeve/cuff maybe there's a bit of a skinhead in me
      because I also love a couple of ticket pockets
  • i like all buttons fastend. i feel its more prim. i get my suits tailored to look good fastend. and i like a tie knot nicely shaped and close to the neck. without puckering a shirt neck. after that all i have to do is hold my head high to feel good.
  • Great article Stevie, I see a lot of Mods wearing 2 Button suits or 1 Button, sorry chaps, it ain't Mod, it l, don't care if you have paid, 1000 quid made to measure for it, it ain't Mod, 4 Button, yes , double breasted, yes anything below 3 button is a non starter, I see a lot of Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller clones, be yourself......"I don't wanna be like everyone else, that's why I'm a Mod see??" Would you not rather Mr L and Mr W dressed like you??? Now that would be different.
    • Im with you on that one Charlie,3 or 4 ,no more no less, it just looks smarter.Another wee trait i used to like was getting a small 1 inch vent cut into the bottom of the trouser leg,and a small button ,usually metal edged with a piece of the material in the centre,placed at the top of the vent,or you could have them Butterflied.It wasnt usually done as part of a suit just made to measure trousers ,but looked really smart worn with a Byford or a nice shirt.
      Unfortunately it was picked up by the neds of the early 80s who used to hang about in George sq,and they started doing it to their denims and frenchies.But then again .they say Plagerism is the best form of flattery ha ha.
    • One of my fave suits I had made to measure at Douglas Alexander, 4 covered buttons, butterfly cuffs and hipster trousers with butterfly vents folded back also with a covered button at either side, you can't beat that kind of coolness, I kept that suit right up untill 1996, grew out of it, but still kept it. A certain ex threw it down the rubbish chute while I was in London, missed my suit more than her, selfish?? Nah, just a Mod at heart.
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