Buttons on a Suit: Picking the Perfect One for You

April 23, 2019

One of the most important decisions you could make when you’re buying a suit is the number of buttons on the suit. Two button and three button suits are both very standard.

If you want something unusual, you can find suits that only have one button or even four or five buttons. What does each kind of suit mean? Which suit should you choose? Here’s everything you need to know about selecting the perfect number of buttons for your suit.

The Two-Button Suit

This is the most common look today in men’s professional fashion. The two-button suit gives you a slender, powerful and competent look. The way these suits are designed to make the wearer appear taller and sharper. Generally you want to select a two-button suit if you have a shorter to average height.

If you’re looking to just get one or two suits for work, then going with a two-button suit is a fantastic choice. It works great as a stable staple of your wardrobe. On the other hand, if you’re looking to really build up a fantastic wardrobe, then you’ll still definitely want to have one or two high-quality two-button suits.

The Three-Button Suit

The three-button suit isn’t as common as the two-button suit. If you wear it right, you can really stand out and make a great impression. The three-button suit is perfect for taller men, as tall men often find that two button suits leave the lower torso looking a bit strange or bare.

Your three button suit can be worn to work, to formal events or even to casual minglers. It looks great in just about any occasion.

If you’re trying to blend in, you should probably avoid the three button. If you want to draw a little more attention or if you’re taller than most people, then the three button suit could be just right.

Four and Five Button Suits

These kinds of suits are extremely rare today. You might find professionals like ship captains or flight crews wearing four or five button double-breasted suits today. By and large, however, you won’t find these kinds of suits in everyday professional settings.

If you flip through a few celebrity magazines, you might find someone like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise wearing a four or five button suit. That’s because they’re trying to appear different or draw the attention of photographers. If you’re looking to just make a strong professional impression, you should probably avoid these kinds of suits.

The Single Button Suit

The single button suit is perfect for skinnier guys in non-professional environments. Think of it more like a blazer jacket than as a professional suit.

The single button should be kept buttoned up when you’re standing up. Your suit should hug your figure tightly. It should be wide enough to fit your shoulders comfortably then taper down in your torso, giving you a nice sleek look.

It’s perfect for going out to high-class night clubs, to classy mixers or professional networking events. It shouldn’t be used for meeting new clients or work events where you’re expected to be in formal attire.

If you’re looking to only own one or two suits, you probably don’t want to go with the one-button suit. On the other hand, if you love looking classy and want something a little different and sexier, you can definitely use the one-button to round out your collection.

Etiquette for Suit Buttons

The bottom button should always be undone. This started when King Edward VII got so round that he couldn’t button his suits all the way. This became a fashion trend and today it’s common knowledge that the bottom button on suits should be undone on two and three button suits. The single-button suit, of course, remains buttoned up.

Generally speaking. You want to keep your suit buttoned up while you’re standing and unbutton it when you’re sitting. That helps give you an air of professionalism while standing and prevents your jacket from “flaring out” when you’re sitting.

Look at yourself in the mirror after wearing your suit for an hour or two. How do you look? Do you look sharp and professional? Or do you look sweaty and disheveled? Use this “two-hour-mirror” image to determine whether or not to purchase a summer suit.

That’s everything you need to know about suits and suit buttons. Selecting the right number of buttons is a subtle skill that makes a big difference in your overall look.