Originally Posted by CrimsonSox
I think that's right. JFK used to wear a "paddock coat" that is meant to have its two front buttons fastened: http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/paddock-suit/
In Cameron's case, I'm not sure either what he's doing. His jacket doesn't appear to be a paddock coat. He might be fastening the bottom button because his jacket might be tight, if he's gained some weight. This causes the bottom button to swing away from the buttonhole, potentially exposing the tie, shirt, and trouser waistband. So to cover those up, he could have chosen to fasten the bottom button. Either that, or he's ignoring (or forgetting) the rule to button only the top button of a 2B.
The paddock coat thing is mostly an internet myth. It started as speculation with somebody trying to explain why, Kennedy, being generally a snappy dresser, was breaking such a basic rule. They couldn't find an explanation, so they dug up something obscure about the coat itself to explain it. But his coats don't look special to my eye (you'll notice that paddock suit link shows a suit that's essentially a 3 button without the bottom button, which Kennedy's decidedly is not), they just have the somewhat higher buttoning points popular in the 50s and 60's. Look at this picture, where his coat looks to be cut exactly the same as those his brothers are wearing:
Truth is, it wasn't always a basic rule, and took longer to be accepted here in America than it did in Britain, where it started to flatter a King (forget which one) who got too fat to button the bottom button of his coats. Despite common perception, most coats are still cut to allow that bottom button to close, even though pretty much everybody adopted the current practice in the 60's. Well, in the US/Britain. You still see bottom buttons buttoned in other countries.
Of course, it has been standard to leave the bottom button undone for a while now in both Britain and North America, so I have no explanation for why Cameron isn't following the rule.Edited by cptjeff - 8/21/13 at 7:42pm