What Suit Buttons Should You Button in 2023?

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what suit buttons do you button

1. The Purpose of Buttoning Suit Buttons

Buttoning suit buttons serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Functionally, buttons help to keep the jacket closed and maintain its shape. They also provide support for the fabric, ensuring that the jacket hangs properly on the body.

Aesthetically, buttoning suit buttons can enhance the overall appearance of the outfit. It creates a more polished and put-together look, adding structure to the silhouette and defining the waistline. Properly buttoned suit buttons can also create a balanced and symmetrical appearance.


  • Keeps the jacket closed
  • Maintains the shape of the jacket
  • Provides support for the fabric


  • Enhances overall appearance
  • Adds structure to silhouette
  • Defines waistline
  • Creates balanced and symmetrical look

2. Typical Number of Buttons on a Suit Jacket

The number of buttons on a suit jacket can vary depending on its style and design. However, there are three common configurations: single-button, two-button, and three-button jackets.

a) Single-Button Jacket:

A single-button jacket has only one button at the front, typically positioned at or slightly above your natural waistline. This style is often associated with tuxedos or formal evening wear.

b) Two-Button Jacket:

A two-button jacket is a classic choice and considered more versatile than other styles. The top button is positioned higher than the bottom button, and you should always button the top button while leaving the bottom one undone.

c) Three-Button Jacket:

A three-button jacket is less common but still seen in certain formal or traditional settings. The middle button is positioned at your natural waistline, and the general rule is to sometimes button the top button, always button the middle one, and leave the bottom button undone.

3. Which Button(s) to Button on a Single-Breasted Suit Jacket

Buttoning the Top Button

When it comes to buttoning a single-breasted suit jacket, the general rule is to always button the top button. This is considered the standard and most formal way of wearing a suit jacket. By fastening the top button, you create a more polished and put-together look. It helps to define your waistline and gives structure to your overall appearance.

Leaving the Bottom Button Unbuttoned

On the other hand, it is important to leave the bottom button unbuttoned on a single-breasted suit jacket. This is not just a matter of style, but also practicality. Leaving the bottom button undone allows for ease of movement and prevents any strain or pulling on the fabric when sitting or moving around. It also helps maintain the proper drape of the jacket.


– When standing, always button up your single-breasted suit jacket.
– Remember to unbutton your jacket before sitting down.
– Before leaving home, make sure all buttons are securely fastened for a neat appearance.

4. Should You Always Button the Top Button on a Double-Breasted Suit Jacket?

The General Rule: Always Button Both Buttons

Unlike single-breasted jackets, double-breasted suit jackets are designed with two parallel rows of buttons. The general rule for double-breasted jackets is to always button both buttons when standing or walking around. This creates a symmetrical and formal look that complements the structured design of these jackets.

Unbuttoning When Sitting Down

However, when sitting down, it is customary to unbutton both buttons on a double-breasted suit jacket. This allows for more comfort and freedom of movement while seated. It also prevents any strain on the buttons or fabric when sitting for extended periods.


– When standing, always button both buttons on your double-breasted suit jacket.
– Remember to unbutton both buttons before sitting down.
– Double-check that all buttons are securely fastened before leaving home for a polished appearance.

5. Specific Rules for Buttoning Suit Buttons Based on Occasion or Dress Code

Formal Occasions: Button All Buttons

For formal occasions, such as black-tie events or weddings, it is customary to button all the buttons on your suit jacket. This includes both single-breasted and double-breasted jackets. By buttoning all the buttons, you adhere to traditional dress codes and present a more elegant and refined look.

Semi-Formal or Business Casual: Leave Bottom Button Unbuttoned

In semi-formal or business casual settings, such as office meetings or social gatherings, it is acceptable to leave the bottom button unbuttoned on your single-breasted suit jacket. This creates a more relaxed and modern appearance without compromising professionalism.


– Understand the dress code of the occasion before deciding how many buttons to button.
– When in doubt, it is better to err on the side of formality by buttoning all buttons.
– Adapt your buttoning style based on the level of formality required by the event or dress code.

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6. Unbuttoning Your Suit Jacket: Sitting Down Etiquette

Why is it important to unbutton your suit jacket when sitting down?

When it comes to sitting down while wearing a suit, it is generally considered proper etiquette to unbutton your suit jacket. This is because the act of sitting naturally causes the fabric of the jacket to bunch up and pull at the buttons, which can create an unflattering and uncomfortable appearance. By unbuttoning your suit jacket before sitting down, you allow for more freedom of movement and prevent any strain on the buttons or fabric.

Tips for unbuttoning your suit jacket:

  • Before sitting down, stand up straight and use both hands to gently unbutton your jacket from bottom to top.
  • Avoid forcefully pulling or tugging at the buttons, as this can damage them or cause the fabric to stretch.
  • If you are wearing a three-button suit jacket, leave the top button fastened while unbuttoning the bottom two buttons.

7. Leaving the Bottom Button Unbuttoned on a Three-Button Suit Jacket: Appropriate or Not?

The tradition of leaving the bottom button unbuttoned on a three-button suit jacket has been widely accepted as appropriate in modern fashion. This practice originated from King Edward VII, who supposedly found it difficult to fasten his bottom button due to his expanding waistline. As a result, he started leaving it undone, and others followed suit.

Leaving the bottom button unfastened not only allows for more comfort and ease of movement but also helps maintain a better fit and drape of the jacket. When all three buttons are fastened, it can create tension around the midsection, causing the jacket to pull and wrinkle. By leaving the bottom button undone, the jacket retains its intended shape and silhouette.

8. Exceptions to Traditional Rules of Buttoning in Modern Fashion

In modern fashion, there are some exceptions to the traditional rules of buttoning a suit jacket. One exception is the “one-button” suit jacket style, which only has a single button at the front. With this style, it is customary to always keep the button fastened when standing or sitting.

Another exception is the “double-breasted” suit jacket style, which typically features two parallel rows of buttons. The bottom row of buttons on a double-breasted jacket should always remain fastened, while the top row may be left unbuttoned if desired.

These exceptions reflect how fashion has evolved over time and how personal style choices can influence traditional rules.

9. Unique Customs Regarding Suit Buttoning in Different Cultures or Regions

The customs regarding suit buttoning can vary across different cultures and regions. In British and American traditions, it is generally accepted to leave the bottom button unfastened on a three-button suit jacket. However, in Italian fashion culture, it is more common to fasten all three buttons for a more formal look.

In some Asian cultures, such as Japan and South Korea, there is a preference for leaving both the top and bottom buttons unfastened on a two-button suit jacket. This style choice aims to create a relaxed and effortless appearance.

These cultural differences highlight how fashion etiquette can be influenced by various factors such as history, climate, and societal norms.

10. How Improper Buttoning Affects the Appearance and Fit of a Suit

The impact of improper buttoning on the appearance:

Improper buttoning of a suit jacket can significantly affect its overall appearance. When all buttons are fastened, it can create an overly tight and strained look, causing wrinkles and pulling at the fabric. On the other hand, leaving all buttons unfastened can give a sloppy and ill-fitting impression.

The impact of improper buttoning on the fit:

Buttoning a suit jacket incorrectly can also affect its fit. If too many buttons are fastened, it restricts movement and can lead to discomfort. Conversely, leaving too many buttons undone may result in a loose and baggy fit that fails to accentuate the wearer’s shape.

Proper buttoning ensures that the suit fits well, allowing for ease of movement while maintaining a polished and tailored appearance.

In conclusion, understanding which suit buttons to button is essential for achieving a polished and stylish look. By following the general rule of leaving the bottom button undone and fastening all other buttons, individuals can enhance their overall appearance and make a positive impression in formal settings.

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