With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Sunday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in May 2013.
A few years ago, we published a guest post on suit buttons, and one of the best things I got out of the comments it received was a handy way to remember the right way to button a three-button suit jacket. It’s called the “sometimes, always, never” button rule. Starting with the top button and working your way down: it’s sometimes appropriate to have the top button buttoned along with the middle one (a stylistic decision — if the lapel is flat, it can look good to button it; if the lapel rolls over and hides the top button, only button the middle one); it’s always appropriate to have the middle button buttoned (the middle button pulls the jacket together at your natural waist and lets the bottom naturally flare out around your hips); and you should never button the last button (doing so messes up the intended tailoring and flare offered by the middle button). Sometimes, always, never. Easy.