Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yay or nay: One button too many?

I know that some fellows avoid three-button sport coats and suits like the plague, but I have a full three pieces in my collection with three buttons that I wear, and one of them has become almost a staple over the course of the past couple months (more on it below). While I certainly prefer a 3 roll 2 style, and I'd certainly never go above 3, to my eyes a three-button doesn't look so bad at all (especially on someone with an extra-long torso).

3 button 1

It could be, however, that I'm just trying to make excuses to justify wearing this great micro-houndstooth sport coat that I picked up on the cheap. Made by Hickey Freeman out of 100% cashmere, it has the softest touch of just about anything in my wardrobe, and fits like it was tailored for me without any alterations.

3 button mid-section

I've mentioned it before, and I'll say it again that it is incredibly rare that I find something that fits just so, and my judgement may be impaired here. In terms of checkpoints, it fills all three (great maker, great fabric, great fit) nicely, but sometimes I feel like the extra button looks a bit dorky.

3 button full

It's been cold (near record, actually) here, hence the extra sweater layer between shirt and coat. The forecast looks to trend upward soon, and so I must ask myself if I need to store this sport coat for the summer or try to find it a new home forever. What say you?


  1. Don't over-think this. What say me? I say that -- like myself -- you are sometimes overtaken by the confidently declaimed dogma of the amateur fashion blogosphere to the point of questioning your own judgment, which, by the way, is fine.

    You like the jacket? Does it fit fine? Keep it, my good man. Three buttons sans roll is a perfectly acceptable interpretation on Western menswear, bending more Continental than trad. Odd jackets and suits like that are the very reason for the very old rule "sometimes, always, never." That's a top to bottom endorsement of the legitimacy of three-button jackets.

    Some of my favorite jackets are threes. You enjoy them because the length of your torso accommodates the long vertical line a higher stance creates. I like the higher stance because the sharper angle on the lapels permits the body of the jacket to conform to my drop-9/10 shape without looking pinched, and accentuates the breadth of my shoulders to visually balance heavy thighs.

    From the photos, it looks like your jacket might fit better w/out the sweater underneath. But I go back to my first point: if it fits well and you like it, let others' dogmatic views of convention be damned. Wear it in good health.

    For the record, I like it.

  2. Nothing wrong with a 3 button jacket unless one is very short. You are definitely tall enough to pull off the 3 button. I say go for it.

    I am 6'2" and have a nice mix of 3 button and 2 button sports coats - both look good and give you the chance to mix it up.

  3. A cashmere jacket that fits? Keep it.

    Some deride the true three-button jacket as flattering to no one. With the top button buttoned, they make tall men look even taller, and short men even shorter. (This may be more true for suits than for odd jackets.)

    Or so goes one opinion.

    I think a true three-button jacket... depends. They don't work so well for me, but I'm not you. It's a beautiful jacket, and since it fits (probably better without the sweater, as mentioned), you should keep it. Does it look OK with just the middle button closed, too? Try it one way one day and the other another, and see what you like best. I've had my dry cleaner press my three button jackets to a 3/2 or 3/2.5 roll, and that works—for me. YMMV.

    P.S.: Do I recognize that tie?

  4. I wouldn't button the top button, but I'd definitely keep the jacket. Good find!

  5. Thanks for the comments all. I think the reason it looks like the jacket is tugging a bit is because my arm is swung up and out to the side in order to take the picture. I swear it actually fits great, even with the cardigan underneath. :)

    I think that I'll keep this one around, as it's simply too hard to find stuff in my size that fits this well. Eventually, the weather is going to warm up and I'll put it into storage for a couple months, but I might try to break it out one more time before the oddly cold temps leave our area.

  6. Oh, and Mr. Readerston... yeah, I wear that tie almost once a week. Instant classic in my collection, so many thanks for sending it my way.

  7. Wow! I'm happy you like it so well.