Have you ever wondered why some very stylish men of the early to mid XX C kept their bottom button of their coats (jackets) done up? If you are like me and geek over loads of old pictures of well dressed Gentlemen, this keeps popping up, and it is baffling how this sartorial faux pas could be committed by such Style icons.
I have not come upon any text referring to this, never mind giving any reason, so here is my tuppence worth.
I have noticed that most of the jackets worn fully buttoned would be styles from the early/mid 20’s or even late teens, when the waist of the garment was higher up (remember the ‘Jazz Suit’ for example). The lower button (usually a 2 or 3 button closure) would therefor be quite high up, and the trousers being high waist, would mean that if buttoned up the jacket would not ‘pull’ on the lower end simply because it was still relatively on the narrow end of the body (belly), and in those days men were quite slim and didn’t have the bulging bellies seen in later years.
From the late 20s and 30’s onward, men’s jacket styles changed and so did their natural waist line, being thus centered at the natural waist, and this mean that the lower button started being positioned where it has been ever since: either aligned with the pockets or directly below these. If it were thus kept buttoned up, it would create the awkward ‘pull’ and look nasty.
This does not mean that some people – however elegant – kept buttoning it up regardless of the cut of the jacket, but you know how old habits are hard to die.
Think about it and speak up if you know differently.