The norm is to have the top button of a suit done while the second, or top and bottom if it is a three button, undone. Where did this begin? As all things sartorial are a mixture of history and myth here is the most popular, and entertaining, of the explanations.
Here are two examples of the norm buttoning techniques from two of the best dressed men in The States.
Rumor has it that King Edward VII was the pioneer of the unbuttoned suit. Perhaps because of the decadent lifestyle led by a King, he grew rather round- to be kind. Round enough to where the buttons on his jacket would pull tight when buttoned. It even got to the point where the bottom button, at the fullest point of his protruding belly, could not be buttoned at all.
His loyal followers, the aristocracy of society, began to emulate the King in order to avoid offense. As this was the upper crust of the community the style trickled through the classes and over time became the accepted norm.
Alternatives to this colorful story may be that it is simply more comfortable, quicker, and flattering to keep the last button undone on a two button jacket, even more so on a three button.
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