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Button hole question

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by PeterMetro, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Senior member

    Messages:
    796
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    Jul 9, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    I've noticed on many of my nicer dress shirts that the bottom button hole is cut horizontally, rather than vertically.

    Does anyone know why this is?
     
  2. BjornH

    BjornH Senior member

    Messages:
    503
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2002
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    This is sometimes done on the small button on your sleeve as well.

    There may be an obscure practical reason for this but the main reason is that it's harder to line up the button and the buttonhole and therefore more costly. The manufacturer is therefore telling you that an extra effort has been put into the making of this shirt.

    I would be interested in knowing the original reason for this practice - does anyone know ?

    Bjorn
     
  3. Joe G

    Joe G Senior member

    Messages:
    404
    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    Location:
    Brussels
    I always thought that shirts had that horizontal bottom buttonhole because one may have a hangover and have trouble lining up the buttons otherwise.

    Peace,

    JG
     
  4. ulf

    ulf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Location:
    Milan
    Horizontal buttonholes make sure the parts that are joined are lined up correctly and stay that way, they also look better (and keep things more securely fastened) under strain. Only the top button on a shirt front really needs to be horizontal for those reasons, obviously.

    Still, maybe the lower horizontal one is there for the same reason, as a kind of semi-useful (overkill?) way of trying to keep things lined up?
     
  5. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
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    Mar 23, 2002
    Location:
    London, UK
    I always thought, and I can be wrong, that this horizontal buttonhole near the waist, is a leftover from previous times. In the old days, shirts would have a buttonhole on the left hand side with a loop of folded fabric attached to the right hand side. You pulled the loop through the buttonhole and buttoned the whole caboodle into the waistband of the trousers; thus preventing the shirt from riding up. Today some evening shirts still have this arrangement.

    I remember, some years ago, seeing  the shirts some London shirt maker (forgot who it was) had made for the then Prince of Wales (Edward). Some fifty years later when the wardrobe of the Duke of Windsor was auctioned in New York, they bought their own stuff back. They were beautifully made and all these shirts had the buttonhole/loop arrangement as described.
     
  6. ulf

    ulf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Location:
    Milan
    The buttonhole/loop arrangement seems like a good explanation.

    A long time ago, shirts could be kept in place by buttoning the front to the tail, between the legs. That's why traditional shirt have that curved hemline, higher at the sides.
     

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