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Horizontal buttons

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jeep4wdva, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. jeep4wdva

    jeep4wdva Member

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    Recently got a new dress shirt - and a casual shirt - where the last/bottom button is horizontal. I have read here that it can be a sign of quality, etc. etc. But here are my questions:

    Why is it a sign of quality?

    Does it serve an actual purpose?

    From the Far Side of the World,
    Bryan
    jeep4wdav
     
  2. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    It is a sign that the designer went to a quality business school and learned that hype sells.
    Yes. The purpose is so that designer earns a larger profit by selling more shirts. Now, if you had said it was a tuxedo shirt and the last buttonhole on the bosom was horizontal ...
     
  3. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    The horizontal buttonhole keeps the cloth from shifting vertically, albeit slightly, thus maintaining the alignment of shirt's pattern across sides.
     
  4. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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  5. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, guys - that's a nice theory which does not work in practice. The comparative force exerted by your trouser waistband on the left, or outermost, fabric of the center of the shirt by faaarrrrr overwhelms the holding power in a flimsy shirt fabric of one horizontal buttonhole which is usually 8" to 12" below the waistband.
    Again as I intimated previously, if it were the last buttonhole in an interlined (read "strong") tuxedo bosom properly located right at the waistband, it would serve such a purpose.

    Mind you, there's nothing wrong with it. There's just nothing right with it either.
     
  6. johnapril

    johnapril Well-Known Member

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    Not a "theory" but a "hypothesis," yes.

    The horizontal buttons on my Zegna Napoli Couture shirts are located at the waist. I do not have the problem you describe with the waistband.
     
  7. oscarthewild

    oscarthewild Well-Known Member

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    The reason I have been told is that it is the BOTTOM buttonhole that is horizontal. This is so the wearer realizes that he has reached the last button that needed to be buttoned.

    You know, when multitasking, i.e. talking on the phone, looking at your PDA, changing the radio station while driving your car, do you REALLY have eyes to detect that you have now buttoned the lowest available button. Were it not for these horizontal buttonholes, I for one would spend at least a few extra microseconds fumblingly looking for that elusive last buttonhole.

    -
     
  8. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Johnapril - That's where they should be to work properly. Kudos to your maker.

    Oscarthewilde - Whether you dress left or dress right, there should be another more sensitive indicator down there to tell you you've about reached the end of your shirt - even if you are madly PDA'ing while driving.
     
  9. T4phage

    T4phage Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] Mr. Kabbaz welcome back, your wit has been missed. edited for spelling error
     
  10. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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  11. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Well-Known Member

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    i'm nowhere near the expert that others here are, but i wear shirts occasionally, and here's my humble take on the horizontal bottom buttonhole functionality.

    buttonholes provide resistance to unbuttoning in the direction of the slit. hence the top button of a shirt, at the collar, is horizontal. if it were vertical you would have constant problems with the collar unbuttoning and/or distorting in shape. not to mention the risk of destroying the fabric around the buttonhole.

    on long tailed shirts, i have had the same problem with the BOTTOM button, where the two front halves of the shirt split from each other at the crotch. at this point on the shirt placket there is more horizontal stress placed on the button than any of the others (aside from the collar), so much so that i have had this bottom button come undone after, say, sitting down or taking a long stride.

    the horizontal buttonhole resists this problem more effectively than a vertical one. i know this from experience.

    /andrew
     
  12. hermes

    hermes Well-Known Member

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    i've read many a time that the reason for the last buttonhole on the shirt placket being horizontal is a time carried forward tradition when men used to button their shirt to the inside of their pants to prevent it from riding up

    in order for the button to remain buttoned to the inside of the pants, it obviously had to be horizontal

    many shirtmakers continue this tradition but it serves no modern purpose whatsoever other than to show that the shirtmaker has continued a long standing tradition

    i have inexpensive shirts that have this feature and more expensive shirts that do not so it's really not anything that increases the value of the shirt
     
  13. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Well-Known Member

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    i'm not sure i follow the reasoning. seems like if the primary strain on the fastened point is in the vertical direction, one would want the buttonhole to be vertical.
     
  14. hermes

    hermes Well-Known Member

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    i don't know
    that's just what i recall reading many times
     
  15. esquire.

    esquire. Well-Known Member

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    If you go to the Coles website, they have a section which describes their perfect shirt. And, they claim that the purpose of this horizontal buttonhonle allows for movement across hips.

    It was interesting that they didn't mention the need for a horizontal buttonhole on the gauntlet of a shirt.
     
  16. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Esquire -
    That is because they know your hips won't fit in the sleeve. But seriously, guys and gals, the above thread reminds me of Mortimer Levitt's confidential 100 page manual for Custom Shop salespersons. If memory serves, it contained four pages of simple reasons you could tell customers which would explain why their sleeves were too short ... and why too short was correct. The following three pages offered simple explanations for customers as to why their sleeves were too long ... and why too long was correct. The bottom shirt button does have an important purpose. If properly placed, it will assist your shirt in remaining tucked when you raise your arms. That isn't to say any of the carefully thought out 'designer's talking points' above are untruthful. But they don't have to achieve untruthfulness to be hype. Except Faustian whose personal argument has merit.
    The rub here is that you are incorrectly solving a fitting defect by overcoming it with force. In all probability, the rear waist of your shirt is an inch or so too small. This is creating a strain under the circumstances you cite. The correct solution would be to add fabric where necessary. edited for stupid spelling
     
  17. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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  18. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Aw, c'mon. Mortimer sold the company two years ago and the buyer managed to put it out of business in 6 months. That's not outrageous - just funny. Believe me, every retailer has something under their counter they don't want you to see. Except me, of course. [​IMG]
     
  19. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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  20. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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