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Buttonhole on lapel

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Why is this non-functioning buttonhole present? History? Dan
post #2 of 20
What buttonhole? The one I think you are refering to is for putting a flower on your lapel. Edit: and you will also notice that on the underside of the lapel on high quality suits, there is a boutonniere loop, which holds the stem in place.
post #3 of 20
I can't remember where I read this, and I can't find it again, but apparently the (folk?) history of the buttonhole in the lapel is that a certain English king was presented a flower by his wife or fiancee, and had no place to put it, so whipped out a penknife and stabbed a hole through his lapel to stick it through. However, AFAIK the true origin of the lapel buttonhole, at least on double-breasted jackets, is that the jackets from which the DB was adapted did actually button all the way up when the lapel was folded over all the way. If you have a good peacoat, there should be buttons usually hidden by the collar that are for buttoning the top of the lapel to in very cold or windy weather. See also the recent thread about non functional buttonholes, if you haven't already. (Try not to be bored to tears with my embarrassing carrying on about them, btw.)
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Edit: and you will also notice that on the underside of the lapel on high quality suits, there is a boutonniere loop, which holds the stem in place.
You're dead on. Both my Oxxfords have them. A very nice touch indeed.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
However, AFAIK the true origin of the lapel buttonhole, at least on double-breasted jackets, is that the jackets from which the DB was adapted did actually button all the way up when the lapel was folded over all the way. If you have a good peacoat, there should be buttons usually hidden by the collar that are for buttoning the top of the lapel to in very cold or windy weather.
This is correct.  The modern SB coat is derived from the ghillie collar coat, a sporting coat worn mostly in the country.  The ghillie collar looks sort of like a shirt collar.  The coat buttoned at the neck, right under the center of the collar.  Men increasingly left the top button unbuttoned, and wore neckties with the coat.  It wasn't long before they simply folded the upper coat edges back.  The gap between the ghillie collar and the top of the coat front became the notch in a notched lapel.  Hardy Amies' book The Englishman's Suit has photo that show this evolution quite clearly. Anyway, the buttonhole is a relic of when the lapel didn't fold back over the front of the coat, and wasn't really a lapel at all, but was simply the front of coat that buttoned all the way to the throat. The DB story is similar, but a little different.  The modern DB coat is derived from the frock coat, which derived as a sort of hybrid from the riding coat and the military tunic.  These coats had a front flap that overlapped accross the chest.  The military tunic buttoned all the way up.  Lapels are derived from folding back the front flaps.  The buttonhole remains from the days when the coat closed all the way up.
post #6 of 20
Damn, this is the first interesting question that I would have been able to actually answer and you guys beat me to it. What I don't quite understand is why add a button under the lapel if you are going to put a different fabric under it also? I would love to mix things up and actually button the lapel to the top, but the fabric under the lapel stops me from doing so... Eric
post #7 of 20
Damn, this is the first interesting question that I would have been able to actually answer and you guys beat me to it. What I don't quite understand is why add a button under the lapel if you are going to put a different fabric under it also? I would love to mix things up and actually button the lapel to the top, but the fabric under the lapel stops me from doing so... Eric
post #8 of 20
Quote:
What I don't quite understand is why add a button under the lapel if you are going to put a different fabric under it also?  I would love to mix things up and actually button the lapel to the top, but the fabric under the lapel stops me from doing so...
I don't think I understand the question.
post #9 of 20
The underside of the lapel has a different fabric lining it. I don't think the blazer/coat would look very good with the lapel button all the way up if the lining fabric is different from the rest of the garment. Eric
post #10 of 20
The underside of all my coats, and of every coat I've ever seen, is faced with the same fabric as the rest of the coat.
post #11 of 20
I own two blazers with a pad/fuzzy sort of lining on the underside of the lapels, and I have a camel colored cashmere DB overcoat with the same lining on the underside of the lapel. One of the blazers with the lining is a more casual corduroy two button. Its also the only one I would consider actually buttoning the lapels up, but the lining on the underside of the lapel keeps me from doing so. I'm not crazy I promise, I would say that perhaps the lining is common for more low quality items, seeing as I don't own much high end stuff, but the cashmere overcoat is not of low quality and it includes the under lapel lining. Eric
post #12 of 20
Heres an example of what I'm talking about... Eric
post #13 of 20
That's a felt undercollar. Actually very common -- required, really -- on all good coats. I think you are confusing the collar with the lapels.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
That's a felt undercollar.  Actually very common -- required, really -- on all good coats.
Felt is the traditional material used for undercollars. The advantage of felt (over woven materials) is that it doesn't fray. There is no need to fold over the edges (to prevent fraying), you can stitch it -either by machine or, in better garments, by hand-with the cut edge. This prevents bulk and allows a flatter and neater collar. Far from being the preserve of cheap items, on the contrary, a felt undercollar for a tailored garment is actually one of the signs of a quality item.
post #15 of 20
Well, I've very wrong for awhile now. What is a lapel then? Thanks. Eric
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