26 October 2007

The Importance of Buttonholes

As you know, I am not a big fan of three-button, undarted sack suits. Why? They look too boxy, too square, too American on me. The presence of darts on a suit jacket simply does not cause me to lose sleep. I find a traditional two-button, darted jacket in an English cut provides a nice frame for my broad chest and athletic build. However, there is something about the look of a traditional three-button jacket that I like, especially after I have consumed a glass of Glenfiddich or three and thoughts turn to rainy mornings, cold autumn days, and stone fireplaces set in country cottages in Connecticut. For me, the key is the placement of the top buttonhole on the roll of the lapel.Note how the top buttonhole on this three-button Southwick sack suit above is partly obscured by the high lapel roll. In fact, it is barely visible. This Southwick jacket, therefore, to my mind, is rendered indistinguishable from any number of common three-button monstrosities found in mall stores, and would look entirely appropriate with a stripey shirt and a pair of Kenneth Cole square-toed shoes.
The top buttonhole on this three-button, flannel Samuelsohn suit jacket above is distinctive and bold. The traditional lapel, rolled to the second button, exposes the top buttonhole and allows it to shine in all its glory. And yet, we should remind ourselves, it is superfluous, which is not a bad thing. I happen to like this look, to the extent that I am considering acquiring a three-button suit, blazer, or odd jacket with a similar buttonhole arrangement.

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