Conventional wisdom states that you always button your suit jacket. This is good advice: a buttoned suit jacket is more slimming than an unbuttoned one. What’s more, it shows off the cut of the suit itself to the best possible effect. When in doubt, you should always fasten your suit jacket. However, there are no rules in men’s fashion that can’t be bent or broken on occasion to produce a better look. There are circumstances where wearing your suit open is an astute stylistic choice. But what are these circumstances and how can you take advantage of them?
First of all, you must consider your build. If you are especially slim, you may not need to worry about using your suit jacket to flatter your figure. This may also be the case if you are powerfully built with very well-defined muscles. Utilising a suit jacket to slim down your profile is only really necessary if you have an average or heavier build.
However, even if you have a slim or muscular physique, you still need to consider whether leaving your suit unbuttoned adds anything to your look. There are two major reasons why you might want to leave a suit jacket undone: to give your look a sense of rebelliousness or (for more traditional gentlemen) to show off a waistcoat. If you’re going to leave your suit unfastened for the former reason, it’s best to ensure that your suit has a modern cut and appears less formal overall. One-button, slim-fit suits are your best bet for creating the desired informal effect. You should also avoid shawl and peak lapels and opt for more casual notched lapels. Conversely, if you want to leave your suit unbuttoned to show off a waistcoat, the rest of the suit should be fairly formal, in order to complement the waistcoat.
Regardless of your motives for wearing a suit jacket unbuttoned, you must still confront the problem that most suits are designed to be worn closed and show off their cut best when buttoned. If you’re buying an off-the-rack suit, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth sacrificing the visual advantage of having it buttoned. However, you can circumvent the problem altogether by using bespoke tailoring. Simply put, you can ask your tailor to make the suit specifically to be worn unbuttoned.
As we stated at the beginning, there are no rules in men’s fashion that can’t be bent or broken. By following these guidelines you’ll find it far easier to pull off a magnificent, unbuttoned look.