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Single-breasted, one-button suit coat

Chilli padi

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It's been a while since this topic was last discussed.

I am in the market for a new bespoke suit.  I am doing some preparation before I do the rounds at Savile Row and surrounding environs.

For my new suit, I have in mind a single-breasted coat but I'm not sure about the number of buttons.  I have three other suits, all with single-breasted, three-button coats.  I also have a single-breasted, one-button blazer that I bought from Kilgour French Stanbury and like very much.  I am inclined to go for a one-button coat for my new suit, in the style of (but hopefully for less money than) Huntsman.  The look I am after is classic Savile Row, elegant, not too fussy or flashy (e.g. no ticket pockets or gimmicky lining).

What do you think about one-button suits?  If it helps, I am tall and thin with a full chest (some Savile Row tailors have called it a "high" chest but I don't really know what that means) and an "athletic" drop.
 

Keith T

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I think a one-button suit can be great, if the lone button is in just the right place. That is where it gets tricky. You don't want to look too "Miami Vice" with the button too low. I am sure that most forum members would advise you to go with two or three buttons, and they would be "correct" in the sense that these are the classic configurations. If you are going bespoke, a good tailor should be able to accomodate your wishes and cut the jacket in a way that flatters your build, regardless of the number of buttons.
 

General Koskov

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One button is perfect (if, as Keith points out, the placement is correct), especially if you wear a vest. This will keep the coat more open, rather like a morning coat (which are often one button nowadays) which I think is a good look.
 

imageWIS

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Interesting you brought this up; I have recently toyed with the idea of a single button 3-piece suit with either peaked or notched lapels, and with a high gorge vest (possibly 6-8 buttons) with matching lapels. The single button would be relatively high enough that I don't get too much of the low-ball power suit look, but at the same time not high enough that it looks odd. Also, I was thinking of getting the ends of the jacket to slightly cutaway, in homage to the style it is based on. With your height and slenderness (I am 5-9 and 130 lbs, so probably a bit smaller, but about the same size ratio, prospectively), a pair of single reverse pleat of trousers would be best, double forward pleats and reverse pleats are just too large around the hips for the single button suit style. If you do get the suit MTM / Bespoke I would recommend that you use cuffs with 4 working buttons and leave the first one undone, so you will leave 3 of the buttons showing.
Jon.
 

Chilli padi

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Thanks for your input.   I have now been measured up and will report back.  First fitting will be towards the end of this month.  The coat will have four buttons (two of which will be "working") on each sleeve, but I'm one of those people who thinks it's ostentatious to leave the first sleeve button undone.  Different people have different views about this of course.
 

matadorpoeta

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one of my first posts on this board was in a thread concerning double button collars. i mentioned then that i prefer one-button jackets for warm weather and three-button jackets for colder weather. (i think that's what i said.) that's the way i look at it. the bottom button on a two-button jacket is useless so why have it?

chilli, why have only two working buttons on the sleeve?

imagewis, that jacket looks very formal to me (something to get married in). do you plan to wear this as an everday look?
 

Chilli padi

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Why have only two working buttons on the sleeve?

My answer is that while working sleeve buttons are a nice bespoke touch, if the sleeve length is correct and has four buttons why have any of the buttons working at all?  I don't intend to leave any of them undone.  Also, based on my discussions with various Savile Row tailors over the past week or so, it's fairly normal that only two of the four sleeve buttons are "working".  The customer can ask for four "working" slleve buttons if he prefers, but I don't see the point, personally.
 

imageWIS

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one of my first posts on this board was in a thread concerning double button collars. i mentioned then that i prefer one-button jackets for warm weather and three-button jackets for colder weather. (i think that's what i said.) that's the way i look at it. the bottom button on a two-button jacket is useless so why have it? chilli, why have only two working buttons on the sleeve? imagewis, that jacket looks very formal to me (something to get married in). do you plan to wear this as an everday look?
Well, the jacket themselves are not formal, just that the vests make them look much more formal, I was merely showing the pictures for the look; but just imagine the jacket with a white cutaway shirt and a nice tie in a double Windsor knot. If you are going to get married, it should be in this:
Jon.
 

matadorpoeta

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imagewis, i'd rather get married in one of the other coats.

if the sleeve length is correct and has four buttons why have any of the buttons working at all?
chillipadi, the sleeve buttons don't serve any functional purpose anymore. it's no longer taboo for a gentleman to take off his jacket in public. so the question is, why have sleeve buttons at all? for looks? for tradition? i would say have the suit made without sleeve buttons if form follows function in your book. if not, you may as well have all four buttons functioning. it's better to have the real thing than to have something that looks like the real thing. go all the way or don't do it at all. why half ass it?
 

matadorpoeta

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i have no idea what the royal enclosure at ascot is. that morning coat just isn't my style.

i do like the white ensemble though. it would look cool at a goth night club where everyone else is in black.
 

General Koskov

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chillipadi, the sleeve buttons don't serve any functional purpose anymore. it's no longer taboo for a gentleman to take off his jacket in public. so the question is, why have sleeve buttons at all? for looks? for tradition? i would say have the suit made without sleeve buttons if form follows function in your book. if not, you may as well have all four buttons functioning. it's better to have the real thing than to have something that looks like the real thing. go all the way or don't do it at all. why half ass it?
I completely agree. Although I would add that sleeve buttons can be tailored to allow one's sleeve to roll up for an actual purpose. Admittedly, the times one must roll up one's coat sleeve are few and far between but since they are aesthetically pleasing anyway (I think) I'd have buttons put in. I remember rolling up my sleeve to have my blood pressure taken. As far as I know, the wad of wool around my upper arm did not adversely effect my blood pressure.

Actually, the buttons were originally not for rolling up one's sleeves but to allow coats with very small diameter cuffs to be worn (much like a shirt cuff will not allow the hand through unless it is unbuttoned).

But why only two working buttons? Why not three? Or one? Or one at each end?
 

Chilli padi

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Guys I can't give you a reason why only two working buttons on the sleeves, but what I can tell you, having spent a significant amount of time on Savile Row over the past couple of weeks, is that it is not at all unusual on a Savile Row suit for only two of the four sleeve buttons to be "working".  A customer can have four working buttons on each sleeve of his coat if he likes, but this is not important to me.
 

General Koskov

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Oh, I see. That's rather strange. I suppose most Savile row establishments realise that men usually only want the working buttons for the sole purpose of unbuttoning the bottom one.
 

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