Ok, I’ve said it before. But it’s worth saying it again. And perhaps once more.

Men are still wearing their suits with the bottom button of the jacket done up. Only the bottom button.

On a two-button jacket this ruins its line, destroying the cut of every panel in the construction – panels that were tailored deliberately to emphasise the contrast between width of shoulder and narrowness of waist. The neckline hangs, ponderously, devoid of tension and meaning. On a three-button jacket it’s even worse: the jacket’s front actually balloons away from the wearer, creating a false stomach that wobbles around in front of him.

It’s bad enough when a man never does up his jacket. Then it hangs loose, but at least it isn’t distorted. It’s a little sad that he doesn’t appreciate the style and point of his jacket: I saw a group of young office workers walking out to get lunch yesterday, all in suits precisely one size too big, all with shirt collars undone and ties lolling dejectedly. And all with their jackets undone.

It’s a little sad, to me at least. Permanent Style was set up to try and explain to men how to take delight in their clothes – to help them appreciate the pleasures of chic fit, singing colour and lasting quality. Not appreciating your clothes is like not appreciating your mind or your body. It is how you express yourself; how everyone expresses themselves, whether they know it or not.

But at least these guys didn’t have the wrong button done up. The number of people I’ve seen recently doing this makes me mad. You might as well do up the first and third buttons – to each other. The line of the suit is equally distorted, pulled, unnatural and perverse.

There are very few steps I can take to correct this. One is to write about it on this site, again. Another is to try and express it vehemently enough that it is mentioned by you, by others, to other people. Like anything I’ve written about, it’s a gradual education for many people. It’s something that is passed around and passed on. Through word of mouth and the miracle linkage of the internet, it’s already something that has grown Permanent Style from nothing to 27,000 readers a month over the past year.

Here’s hoping that one more rant will stop people wearing their damned jackets that way.

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You can try to cure world hunger and poverty, but some people will still choose this path. You can only hope to change the minds of people who are open to it. Best of luck!

Wright's Words

Good morning Mr. Crompton,
Catherine Critton turned me on to your web journal.
While I place higher value on private and personal responses, you wanted me to post my comments and questions here.

I caught today’s “Today Show” on NBC where Avril Graham and Robin Givhan were asked about Mrs. Obama’s style sense and sensibilities; they both mentioned that Europeans have a great sense of and interest in style as a mode of personal expression. I suspect that you have much more insight into this than I. That touches me because Europeans have described my style as European; I’ve been just going by instinct and feeling around “in the dark.” How true is that about European vs. American style? I’ve long been curious about emulating either English style, or French styles, or both. But the magazines flaunt stuff that is either far too bland and banal, or too adventurous and brash for me.

People in the U.S. talk about design houses and their respective virtues and draws for women’s style. Maybe kind of like PBS’ show about “The Secret World of Haute Couture.” I don’t think I’ve heard these words used regarding men’s clothes. Why is that? How important is that? (A part of me is keenly curious about being a style journalist, but…) Are there houses that excel as serving men who successfully rebel against the typical corporate uniform?

Will Wright
WrightsWords at gmail dot com


Hey Simon

I just finished watching the new season of the TV show “Entourage” and I noticed a couple characters have their two button suit fastened, I was wondering if it’s possible for a show based around Hollywood, expensive cars/clothes make such mistakes, especially one character was wearing that way right after his expensive wardrobe makeover, and at the same time he doesn’t look “off” as if the suit was intended to have both button fastened. My question is, are there such suits? and is it a new trend that’s going to start?

(I’m very new and naive in the world of fashion, so go easy on me, lol)



I’ve noticed people in those horrible cheap & trendy short tailed jackets doing this often, because the manufacturers place the top button so high it fastens on the rib cage. In an effort to get some comfort out of it, they button the lower button which – half of the time – sits at their waist.

It’s awful.

j. Luna

I always like to use the seeking of style inspirations as an excuse to re-watch old movies. A favourite of mine, Charade (1963), features Cary Grant opposite Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn’s wardrobe is courtesy of her friend Givenchy, but no credit is given for Grant’s unusual wardrobe of a nylon belt and ‘drip-dry suit’ (there is a charming scene in which he showers while wearing it…) Anyway, throughout the picture, Grant is seen with only the bottom button done up. As it turns out, he is concealing a small holster positioned on the front of his hip and the off-kilter silhouette created by his buckling jacket helps to hide it from his foes — a reasonable infraction I guess?