Manolo for the Men Fashion and Lifestyle Advice for Men

August 20, 2007

Going for Bespoke

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Suits,Tailoring,Trousers — Izzy @ 4:44 pm

Michael Idov

New York magazine journalist has written about his first foray into bespoke tailoring, even though he was apparently ignorant of the subject.  Not only does at first think it’s OK to button all of jacket’s buttons, from the wrinkles on his trousers, it looks like he chose his fabric poorly.


  1. Izzy – I claim ignorance and request information. Why is it unacceptable for a man to button all of the buttons on his suit jacket?

    Comment by mywhimsey — August 20, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

  2. From the position of his hands, I can’t tell whether the bottom button is open or not.

    Comment by mkb — August 20, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  3. I just bought my first-ever suit at age 23. It was from Filene’s Basement in Boston, they’re having a closeout sale. Supposedly the store’s undergoing renovation for a year or thereabouts.

    I can’t wait till I can get an actual bespoke suit. It’s hard enough getting a ready to wear one tailored to fit.

    Comment by Seth — August 21, 2007 @ 3:25 am

  4. @ mywhimsey

    The rule with buttoning up suit jackets?
    1st button “Always”
    2nd button “Sometimes”
    3rd button “Never”

    I’m not sure where the rule came from, but it’s a well known rule in the suit world. You can’t really sit down with all three buttons done up and it can quite often create a paunch across your stomach if the suit is a little small. If the back of the jacket has a split, it can also make the back of the suit jacket sit strangely. Hope that helped a little!

    Comment by Mark The Shirt Guy — August 21, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  5. Generally you never want to button the bottom button on a suit jacket or sport coat. You can’t sit down that way and they are often tailored so the bottom button makes the suit hang badly.

    That said I often use the top two buttons on my suit. It fits fine and spreads the load out. If I just use one, the button thread tends to wear quickly. You do not want a button popping off at an inopportune time.

    Comment by Jeff the Baptist — August 21, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  6. Jeff hit it on the head – with most modern jackets, it totally screws with the balance of the way the coat is cut. A jacket is not supposed to wrap around you like a tortilla, its designed, cut and made to flatter your figure. That means giving you (for most guys) slightly broader shoulders and a more narrow waist. It’s all about making you look proportioned. That’s why you don’t button all of the buttons.

    Plus it plain looks funny. Especially 3 button coats – makes you look kinda like a condom.

    Comment by Trey — August 21, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  7. Mark, Jeff and Trey –
    Thanks for indulging my curiosity – that was extremely informative. I feel like the end of a GI Joe cartoon: “Now I know. And knowing’s half the battle.”

    Comment by mywhimsey — August 21, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

  8. 1st button “Always”
    2nd button “Sometimes”
    3rd button “Never”

    I’m afraid that you’ve been sent by someone down a primrose path with that “rule”.

    The balance point of all jackets is the waist button. On single button numbers that button is the balance. For two buttons it’s the top. For three button jackets it’s the center or middle one (and for well-made models of these never the top as it’s part of the lapel’s roll).


    1st button “Sure, if you really like the movie Rainman”
    2nd button “Always”
    3rd button “Not unless you’re JFK”

    Comment by desk jockey — September 1, 2007 @ 1:09 am

  9. If you’re going to plunk down $3k for a bespoke suit, how about at least getting a nice shirt and tie. With a blue suit, a sharp white shirt would have been perfect.

    Comment by qtlaw — September 13, 2007 @ 12:12 am

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