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Contrasting buttonholes: ostentatious?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm having my first nice bespoke suit made (at WW Chan), in black Zegna wool. I want the suit to be rather flexible in use: appropriate for business, weddings, etc., the jacket perhaps usable on its own with nice jeans, etc.

My main question is essentially whether it is tacky to have the buttonholes -- specifically, the lapel buttonhole and the first (of four) buttonholes on each sleeve -- sewn with light grey thread to match the lining. I assume the contrast would be fairly noticeable given the darkness of the fabric. Is this subtly playful or does it just scream that I'm an arriviste jackass who wants everyone to know my clothing is custom? I need to let them soon, so any thoughts are appreciated.

I went with 3 buttons but am undecided as to whether to roll the lapel. If so, I'm thinking 2.5. Any ideas on how that would look with the slim lapels I requested?

post #2 of 12
I don't care for contrasting buttonholes in general, but please, not on the lapel. There's nothing discreet about that.

A slim lapel would look fine rolled to 2.5. It's very mid-century American.
post #3 of 12
Yeah, the contrast would be arriviste jackass. (ArrJack?) I could see maybe doing just the backside (not visible) stitching of the lapel buttonhole with red, or something very subtle/secret like that. But if you're doing it custom why not get a more interesting lining color instead?

Definitely have the lapel rolled past the top button - 2.5, they seem to be pretty good at.

Welcome to the forum.
post #4 of 12
Yipes! On a suit that you want to use for business occasions? Just step away.

Contrasting buttonholes might look okay on a casual/fun dress shirt - but please don't do it on a suit.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for smacking some sense into me. Really don't know what I was thinking. No jack-arr contrasts for me.

I was hoping for an interesting lining , though I doubted they'd have fabric with an Etro/Paul Smith-level of flash. But basically they said, we used Zegna linings with Zegna fabric; here is the spectacularly boring range of plain colors you may choose.
post #6 of 12
I ran into a colleague of mine at a function, wearing a three button navy chalkstripe suit, with a keyhole on the lapel, and working buttonholes on the sleeves, the latter with not one but two contrasting colours of stitching (red and pale blue, iirc).

I may, in retrospect, have offended him a little when I greeted him with "nice suit, what is that - Paul Smith?" Kilgour MTM, it turns out.

To be honest though, I feel that the mistake was his fault, not mine!

Addressing more directly the original post, I feel that slight variation in shades of grey or brown (as against the cloth) on stitching can be handsome, and on patterned jackets or especially sportscoats, it is easier to do (ie, a deep brown on a lightish brown Donegal tweed or herringbone). On black, just say no...
post #7 of 12
I'll be the voice of dissent here.

I like the idea of a slightly contrasting button hole on the first sleeve button. I wouldn't do the lapel button though (but I love J's idea of a high contrast on the back). For example, with a gray chalk stripe, I might pick up the stripe color for the first button hole.

Personally, I like details that are a little different so long as they're not garish.

I'd also go for the 2.5, but that's only because I think they look better on me than a 3.
post #8 of 12
Patrick, Chan's travelling representative, wears at least one suit with contrasting stitching at the buttonholes. I made a passing comment about this and he quickly countered that this touch was exceptional. I gathered he wanted to blunt any desire I might have had for such a detail.
post #9 of 12
(delete repeated entry)
post #10 of 12
very tacky imo, whether on shirts or suits.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
OK, survey says: kill the contrast. I think I'm going to add a vest to give the suit greater formal flexibility, so I guess the idea is even worse now than before. Thanks again for the advice.
post #12 of 12

If one chooses to bow to the tyranny of the masses there is always Walmart.

Honestly, it's probably the best choice for most. I think quirky is something that you have to grow into.
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