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Navigating the minefield of fashion etiquette

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Button up or not?A hot debate raged in the office recently regarding blazer button etiquette. It all started when I saw this graphic and couldn’t figure out what it was telling me. I enlisted Paul’s help and it turns out it illustrates the “rules” for blazer buttons, i.e. never do up the bottom button. I’d never heard this. Nor has anyone else, but the internet was insistent. Paul phoned one of our agents who agreed – “otherwise you look like you’re wearing a strait jacket”. Dee phoned her partner (works in tailoring) who confirmed – to the satisfaction of most of us – that it’s nonsense.

The question resurfaced this week and we consulted an etiquette expert (@williamhanson) who sided with the button undone gang (and he practices what he preaches – all his photos do indeed show the button undone) and a little internet based research suggested the tradition dates back to Edward VII, though I’m not sure I believe that. The internet even goes so far as to suggest that blazers are specifically made to fit best with the bottom button undone – well I’d like to see the evidence that every single brand designs with this in mind because we certainly don’t. Ultimately how it fits best will be down to your individual shape, which you guessed it, is different for everyone. So that’s settled then… sort of.

Of course we all know not to believe everything you read on the internet, but it can still be quietly disturbing to discover you’ve potentially been doing (or wearing) something wrong your entire life. Mind you, where fashion is concerned it’s a problem that pre-dates the internet: every season you should ritually throw out and burn last season’s style advice, because you can be dead sure that each season will present a direct contradiction to the last and you need to be seriously on the ball to keep up. I can’t think of a single fashion “rule” that I’ve not subsequently been told you break – can you? Double denim is now allowed and it turns out it’s actually horizontal stripes that make you look thinner – which is good because they’ve always been cooler (in my humble opinion – that’s not another rule).

At Jiggler we don’t really have rules – “wear what works best for you but don’t be afraid to try new things” is about as authoritarian as it gets. Button or unbutton as you please. Tie and suit protocol is completely up to you. When in doubt, keep it simple and don’t try too hard (because it inevitably shows). The only real rule we like to stick to is Dee’s favourite – “you buy cheap, you buy twice” – spend that bit extra on a quality product and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come. But when it comes down to it – rules are made to be broken aren’t they?

 

 

2 comments

  • Jiggler Lord Berlue: April 20, 2015

    Hi Barry,

    I’m not sure from your comment whether you’re a fan of going tieless or not?

    Our shirts have a variety of different collars (button down, pointed, chisel, cut away), some of which will work with a tie and others (especially those with more trim detail) work better without. We tend to see more people wearing them open, without a tie.

    Hope this helps,

    JLB

  • Barry Gardiner: April 19, 2015

    Good morning.

    I am unsure where to start with this so please bear with me as I go off one one..

    It’s about this whole tie-less thing.. how has it been allowed to go on for so long?

    One has a wardrobe of nice suits, shirts, and ties all evolved and designed over the course of Goodness Knows how long to complement each other and it seemingly becomes ‘acceptable’ to dispense with the tie and leave the collar open – would one do the same with one’s fly? I think/hope not…

    Could the Jiggler not come up with a revised/evolved collar design that would complement the wearing of a suit jacket without a tie?

    Please do not think that I am at all suggesting a ‘Nehru’-type style but, for instance, some kind of crossover, a collar twist, a collar-less high neck with cavalry-type deco?

    Your thoughts/comments are highly anticipated..

    Regards,

    Barry

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