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Working button holes

imageWIS

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I look to the clothing greats, such as the Duke, Astaire, Gary Cooper, and Adolphe Menjou. None of them left open a sleeve button. A few contemporary guys that I respect keep all buttons closed. I saw Cary Grant in "People Will Talk" hold a telephone receiver which showed that the second button was left undone. I sometimes see some gents in the 57th St. area with two undone buttons. This is the sign of a show-off who typically is a salesman at one of the better stores.
Yes, I have noticed this in Manhattans better shops as well. I distinctly recall a salesman at Gucci (what? they have smaller sizes when it comes to their driving loafers...they are made by Sergio Rossi, at least that's something, right? Right?) that wore a black suit (please don't start) had 3 buttons undone. It's a nifty look, but not endearing. Jon.
 

Thracozaag

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The sound of plastic (or horn, heh) clicking against ivory (hopefully) or wood is somewhat annoying.

koji
 

Thracozaag

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Not at all...I picked up a tuxedo jacket a while back that has working buttonholes. (Thought this was QUITE taboo with regard to formal-wear) Haven't played in it yet, though.

koji
 

uriahheep

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The only reason I have buttons and functional holes sewn on the sleeves is that I can't stand useless details, in this case buttons that can't be undone. I never undo the buttons, though, except when I press the jacket. After pressing I'll button them right away. I'll often tell those who undo buttons, "Looks like you've got a couple buttons which need buttoning." The reaction is usually to do them up.
 

Manton

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Thought this was QUITE taboo with regard to formal-wear
Not at all. Where did you hear that?
 

Manton

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I'm curious, if everyone agrees that it's tacky to have open buttons, why are working buttonholes a "feature" on RTW and why do the manufacturers bother. Is it an empty boast or is there another reason?
Manufacturers do it because it makes the product seem more exclusive. Clothing addicts like them out of principle: nothing on a suit should be phony. Pockets should open, and buttons should work. Plus, it's a nice old-world touch.
 

Thracozaag

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(Thracozaag @ Feb. 15 2005,17:39) Thought this was QUITE taboo with regard to formal-wear
Not at all. Â Where did you hear that?
I've actually never encountered tuxes with working buttonholes, so I assumed they were some crime against sartorial nature. My mistake. koji
 

pejsek

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I used to be guilty of this, but I've since cleaned up my act. I was younger and it was fun, but not really defensible. It's probably not quite so much fun now that it's a mass-market ploy (but, hey, they probably need the working buttons on those jackets to keep the sleeves from covering the whole hand).
The discussion, however, leads me to a corrolary question about button etiquette. It seems to me that the purist approach to a four-button sleeve is to have the lower two working and the upper two cut cut through but not functional. I've seen this most often on Anderson & Sheppard, but I'm quite sure other SR tailors sometimes follow suit. On the other hand, I've never seen a Hong Kong tailor do this (and I can't remember what Flusser does). Is their a functional explanation? Or is this just one of the more subtle details of a certain approach to tailoring (obvious only to those with an obsessive eye for detail)?
 

Manton

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It seems to me that the purist approach to a four-button sleeve is to have the lower two working and the upper two cut cut through but not functional.
No, the purist approach is all four cut through. And, by the way, when two function and two don't, the upper two are not cut through. The silk twist thread is sewn into the outer layer of cloth to make it look like a real buttonhole.

I've seen this most often on Anderson & Sheppard, but I'm quite sure other SR tailors sometimes follow suit.
Actually, the default A&S way is no sleeve buttonholes at all, but they will do anything you ask for. Most of the rest of Savile Row does do two and two, however.

(and I can't remember what Flusser does)
All four cut through, always.

Is their a functional explanation?
It allows a sleeve to be lengthened from the bottom edge, something that is otherwise impossible.
 

jester

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I look forward to Manton's response to this, but: I once had another Savile Row tailor look at my A&S coat, and say, "They don't make all the buttonholes working because they're lazy and know you're never going to undo them. I will make them all functional because that's the way it's supposed to be done."
 

Manton

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I look forward to Manton's response to this, but: I once had another Savile Row tailor look at my A&S coat, and say, "They don't make all the buttonholes working because they're lazy and know you're never going to undo them. I will make them all functional because that's the way it's supposed to be done."
Well, who knows what their motives are, but that explanation at least has the virtue of being both simple and plausible. And I agree that four cut through is the way it is supposed to be done, at least with bespoke tailoring. Cut buttonholes, not corners.
 

johnapril

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The typical dickhead look at the Chicago Giorgio Armani is the impeccably tailored, $1000-overpriced suit with the disheveled shirt, loosened tie. At Prada it's all neat and crisp and tied up...with tennis shoes. Whatareyagunnado?
 

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