How To Button Your Suit Jacket

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Knowing how to button your suit jacket is of paramount importance. In this guide, we cover how to button various single and double breasted suit jackets!

You’ve managed to purchase that all elusive suit, and you’re feeling as giddy as a kid in a candy store. Or a Red Sox Fan after the 2004 World Series. Yes, that long awaited anticipation has paid off. Finally, you think to yourself. All that meticulous planning and attention to detail has resulted in the perfect purchase.

Until, of course, you strut it at your next wedding reception, and unbridled joy morphs into uncomfortable confusion, as you walk through that wedding hall and can’t quite figure out if you’ve appropriately buttoned your suit jacket. Should it be the first button only? Or the second as well? Wait, what if it’s a three buttoned jacket instead? Suddenly, something as innocuous as jacket buttoning fills you with unease as dread starts to creep in.  

Suit Jacket Buttons | How To Button A Suit Jacket

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Fret not! In this succinct guide, we will cover the essentials of jacket buttoning, so you are always looking dapper and in line with norms, as opposed to standing on the outside looking in at that oh so elusive suit wearing fraternity.

Before we delve into suit button details (yes, that is in fact, a thing) – why bother at all? What are the reasons to button a suit appropriately?

  • Sends a signal that you pay attention to detail. It also helps separate you from the casual suit wearer who may not be aware of the details that truly matter
  • A buttoned suit, especially when standing, creates a clean, sleek silhouette
  • Suits are created on the basis that you will not button your jackets when sitting down. Contemporary suit manufacturers devise suits that crease when you sit down with a buttoned jacket.
  • And most importantly – prevent those buttons from popping! Especially if you’ve rocked a chipotle burrito immediately prior (hey – this is a judgement free blog!).

Single Breasted Suits

Suits are largely delineated between single and double breasted suits. A single breasted suit comprises of one column of buttons , with a narrow overlap at the front. Single breasted jackets are typically accompanied by either two or three buttons, with the occasional single breasted jacket being finished with one button only!

How To Button A Suit Jacket

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How To Button A One Button Single Breasted Jacket

How To Button A Suit Jacket

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Single Button, Single Breasted Jackets, given that their history is steeped in evening wear, are typically created with a longer form silhouette. The single button should always be closed when standing up. Unbutton the jacket with sitting down to avoid creasing.

How To Button A Two Button Single Breasted Suit

How To Button A Suit Jacket

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Single Breasted Two button suits have become the defacto single breasted suit of choice globally. The traditional way to button a two button jacket is to fasten the top button and leave the lower button undone.

Fastening the bottom button will create the impression that you don’t know how to dress. Moreover, it will break the vertical line created by the suit, and add extra perceived weight by creating fabric billowing.

There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule:

  • Men who prefer very long lapels sometimes button down the lower button and fold the lapel down past the top buttonhole.
  • Very tall men many need to use the lower button rather than keep the upper button closed to keep the jacket from spreading out above the waist, and hence exposing the trouser front and belt buckle.
  • If your jacket has a high stance, indicating that the suit buttons are placed closer to your collar

How To Button A Suit Jacket

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Buttoning rules for three button suit jackets

How To Button A Suit Jacket

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When strutting a three button suit jacket, fastening the middle button is imperative. While securing the bottom button is a definite no-no, the top button can be optional!

As with other single breasted jackets, all buttons should be unfastened while sitting down.

It is worth noting that on some three button jackets, the top button sits behind the jackets lapel. If fastening the top button impedes the lapels natural flow, the top button should be left undone.

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How To Button A Double Breasted Suit

How To Button A Suit Jacket

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The double breasted jacket was popularized by the Duke Of Kent. These jackets are considered more stylish and more cutting edge, given that few people can find one, and that an even smaller number of people can successfully pull one off with the requisite level of confidence.

Double Breasted Jackets are often the defacto choice for a gentleman who is opting for a broad shouldered look along with a proportioned waist.

It is against this backdrop the most (if not all) buttons of a double breasted suit jacket should be fastened, so as to maintain that desired v-shaped aesthetic, and to prevent the excess fabric from showing through!

A double breasted jacket is typically characterized by two numbers e. g 4 x 2, with the first number indicating the total number of buttons, and the second number indicating the number of functional buttons. As such, the number of button holes in a double breasted suit jacket is always less than the actual number of buttons.

With a double breasted jacket, all buttons (with the exception of the optional bottom button), should be closed.

While the bottom button is optional, it is usually left open for men looking for an elongated torso look.

How To Button A Suit Jacket


All functional buttons should be fastened, except the bottom button which is optional. In the case of the 4x1 double breasted suit, the bottom button has to be fastened given that it is the only functional button (last number indicates number of functional buttons). Courtesy of


As with anything ‘rules’ based, here is a quick recap of how to button your suits!

  1. Single Buttoned Single Breasted Suits should always be fastened when standing up, and left open when sitting down.
  2. Two Buttoned Single Breasted Jackets should always have the top button fastened while standing, and the bottom one left open. Keep both buttons unfastened when sitting down.
  3. Exceptions to the bottom button rule for two button suits include higher buttons on your jacket, extra tall men needing to close the button so that their belt buckle isn’t exposed and for men who prefer very long lapels.
  4. With A Three Button Single Breasted Jacket, buttoning the middle button while standing up is imperative, while the top button is optional. The bottom button should never be secured. Keep all buttons open when seated.
  5. With a Double Breasted Suit, secure all functional buttons except the optional bottom button (which is sometimes left undone to create the optics of a longer torso).

And that's a wrap for this one! We hope that you have found this blog post both informative & enjoyable to read.

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