Informal dress code especially for coats

In a tuxedo, I’m a star. 
In regular clothes, I’m

 Dean Martin

Coat…If standing up….uppermost button

Sitting ….Coat buttons opened.

Saya John Hla Khaing (Anatomist) taught me while I was in Anatomy Dept., 1981. So when I watch BBC, CNN, used to look at world leaders… Sitting or standing ….most of them R following that rule. 

Once I was watching the news of ASEAN dinner in Singapore on BBC. Current PM of Singapore was the host & he put on and off the button repeatedly according to the above rule. May be former coloneal countries’ leaders & people R more British than British! (My opinion only) Or his father Senior Minister disciplined him strictly.

Ideally, three-button suits aren’t supposed to have the top button fastened, either; leaving it undone balances the look and permits the lapel to roll closer to the waist, where it should be. In fact, the two-button suit takes care of this …nicely by removing the offending button altogether. It is possible, if inadvisable, to button the top button without violating fashion rules.
The custom of leaving the bottom button on a waistcoat (‘vest,” in American English) undone comes from the early 20th century. King Edward VII was too rotund to fasten his bottom button and the custom came from his imitators. Read more: here
You should always unbutton your sports coat when sitting, according to Men’s Wearhouse, the fashion retailer. Unbuttoning your coat will prevent wrinkles and allow you to seem more relaxed. Read more: here

Q:  Which is more acceptable for business two or three-button single breasted suits and which buttons do you button?

A:  They are the same in status and projection of “serious business”. 

Double-breasted suits were the standard until the rationing of cloth* during WWII put an end to double-breasted suits.  During and after the war the single breasted suit came into popularity. 

The three-button Ivy League suit was the business standard until John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1961.  Kennedy wore a hip/back brace and needed to look longer and bigger in the chest to hide the brace.  His image consultants thought that the two-button suit style hid the brace better.  Like English Royalty, JFK’s lead made the three-button obsolete as every man in America rushed to buy the popular two-button.

The three-button tends to elongate your image, which is great if you’re on the short side, but not so good if you are tall and thin.  

First they reintroduced the three-button suit.  Recently they are pushing the two-button.   Both styles are perfectly acceptable for business, but the style of the moment is the two-button!

With two button jackets only the top button is fastened.

With three button jackets, you can close the middle, or middle and top button.  Some suits are made so that the lapels roll to the middle button.  On those suits you leave the top button unfastened.  Some East Coast hipsters fasten only the top of three buttons!

Men’s jackets are not designed to have the bottom button closed.  Why never button the bottom button of your suit, sports jacket, vest or Cardigan sweater?  

King Edward VII, “Bertie”, son of Victoria (1841 – 1910, King 1901 – 1910) was so heavy that he could not get the bottom button fastened on his vest or to be more historically kind, maybe he just forgot.  His subjects taking it as a fashion statement followed his lead and today most men’s suits, sports jackets or vests are not designed to button the bottom button. 

The tradition of not buttoning the bottom button may have also come from the early waistcoats, which were very long.  It may have been out of necessity of being able to walk that the bottom buttons were left undone.

 Q: Which buttons should be buttoned on a double-breasted suit?


The 6 or 8 button models with all the buttons designed to fasten are primarily Navy uniforms or old Edwardian styles. Most DB jackets will have two functioning buttons.

If you have a DB jacket that has two buttons that function you can close 1) the top working button, 2) both the buttons, like the very conservative Prince Charles, or 3) follow the innovative style of a 1920s Duke of Kent and close only the lower button. This Duke of Kent style presents a longer line to the front of the jacket giving you a long, lean look.

Double-breasted suits are sold in different button configurations, usually indicated at “6 to 2” (meaning six buttons, two to be buttoned) or “6 to 1” (only one button to be closed) or “4 to 1”, etc.  Q: Which buttons should be buttoned on a double-breasted suit? Double-breasted suits are sold in different button configurations, usually indicated at “6 to 2” (meaning six buttons, two to be buttoned) or “6 to 1” (only one button to be closed) or “4 to 1”, etc. Source: Cracking the Dress Code

INVITATION TERMINOLOGY When the invitation reads Black Tie“, “Black Tie Preferred”, “Le Smoking“, or “Smoking” for an evening semi-formal event or “White Tie” or “Full Dress” for an evening formal event, then your host is providing an elegant affair and expects you to dress according to fit the decor and ambiance of the evening.

When your invitation reads “Black Tie Optional”, or “Black Tie Invited”, the host is leaving the final decision up to you. Most men will be wearing tuxedos, however if you don’t have one you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable in a dark suit.

The big confusion with “Casual” on an invitation, comes from the fact that there are varying degrees of casual and just one word doesn’t cover it! Often the inviter has something in mind that isn’t properly communicated. “Informal” may mean “casual” to the inviter, but it is not!


What gentlemen wear depends upon the time of day and the occasion.  


A recent innovation of some wedding consultants to have the bridegroom wear one style of formal wear while the groomsmen and/or ushers wear another is a social blunder. (This is in reference to long jackets called Strollers or Walking coats). If you like, you can vary the look through different neckwear or boutonnieres. 

DAY FORMAL: (Very formal diplomatic receptions) Black or Gray tailcoat, with matching trousers, gray double breasted vest, long gray tie, gray gloves, white boutonniere, gray homburg hat, pearl cufflinks and studs.

DAY SEMI-FORMAL: (weddings) Gray morning coat (cutaway), black or gray striped trousers, gray double breasted vest, gray long tie or pinned ascot, gray gloves, white boutonniere, gray top hat, spats, pearl cufflinks and studs.

EVENING FORMAL: (The Opera, charity ball) White tie and tails (black tailcoat), black trousers with two satin seams on the outside leg, white pique vest, white bow tie, white kid gloves, white boutonniere, black top hat, white silk scarf, black or gold cufflinks and studs.

EVENING SEMI-FORMAL: (weddings, theatre opening nights) Black dinner jacket or white in summer (tuxedo), black trousers with one satin seam on the outside leg, black vest or cummerbund, black bow tie, white silk scarf, black or gold cufflinks and studs.

DAY or EVENING INFORMAL (Don’t think casual!) also COCKTAIL, or BUSINESS ATTIRE: This requires a business suit, necktie, lace-up shoes, and for evening occasions a non-button-down collar dress shirt. Make certain that the person sending out the invitations really means informal and not casual since this is a common misconception!


Dress code From Wikipedia 


Dress code is the written rule of clothing (which may vary in different societies although Western style is commonly accepted as valid) as an aspect of human physical appearance. Clothing like other aspects of human physical appearance has social significance.

The dress code has built in rules or signals indicating the message being given by a person’s clothing and how it is worn. This message may include indications of the person’s gender, income, occupation and social class, political, ethnic and religious affiliation, attitude and attitude towards comfort, fashion, traditions, gender expression, marital status, sexual availability and sexual orientation, etc. Clothes convey other social messages including the stating or claiming personal or cultural identity, the establishing, maintaining, or defying social group norms, and appreciating comfort and functionality.

For example, wearing expensive clothes can communicate wealth, the image of wealth, or cheaper access to quality clothing. All factors apply inversely to the wearing of inexpensive clothing and similar goods.The observer sees the resultant, expensive clothes, but may incorrectly perceive the extent to which these factors apply to the person observed. (cf. conspicuous consumption). Clothing can convey a social message, even if none is intended.[citation needed]

If the receiver’s code of interpretation differs from the sender’s code of communication, misinterpretation follows. In every culture, current fashion governs the manner of consciously constructing, assembling, and wearing clothing to convey a social message. The rate of change of fashion varies, and so modifies the style in wearing clothes and its accessories within months or days, especially in small social groups or in communications media-influenced modern societies. More extensive changes, requiring more time, money, and effort to effect, may span generations. When fashion changes, the messages communicated by clothing change.


The 6 or 8 button models with all the buttons designed to fasten are primarily Navy uniforms or old Edwardian styles. Most DB jackets will have two functioning buttons.

If you have a DB jacket that has two buttons that function you can close 1) the top working button, 2) both the buttons, like the very conservative Prince Charles, or 3) follow the innovative style of a 1920s Duke of Kent and close only the lower button. This Duke of Kent style presents a longer line to the front of the jacket giving you a long, lean look.

Men’s coats from Wikipedia 
Frock Coat April 1904.jpg
Frock coat, a kneelength men’s coat of the nineteenth century
Morning dress 1901.jpg
Morning coat or cutaway, a dress coat still worn as formal wear
Mens evening wear costumes parisiens 1912.jpg
Tailcoat (dress coat in tailor’s parlance), a late eighteenth century men’s coat preserved in today’s white tie and tails
John F Kennedy Official Portrait.jpg
Lounge coat or sack coat, a coat which is also a jacket
Duke and Hitoshi Narita 2002.jpg
Dinner jacket, a men’s semi-formal evening lounge coat.
  Smoking jacket, a men’s jacket worn informally with black tie
Justacorps, a knee-length coat fitted to the waist with flared skirts

 blazer is a type of jacket, worn as smart casual dress. The term blazer occasionally is synonymous with boating jacket and sports jacket, two different garments. A blazer resembles a suit coat cut more casually — sometimes with flap-less patch pockets and metal buttons. A blazer’s cloth is usually durable (14oz.), because it is an outdoor sports jacket. Stylistically, blazers often are uniform garments, e.g. for airline, school, and yachting, and rowing clubs.

A blazer is generally distinguised from a sports jacket as a more formal garment and tailored from solid color fabrics. Blazers are often made with naval-style metal buttons, reflecting their historic boating club association, but this is not a defining feature. 

Blazers are worn with wide variety of other clothes, ranging from a shirt and tie, to an open-necked polo shirt. They are seen with trousers of all colours, from the classic white cotton or linen, to grey flannel, to brown or beige chinos as well as jeans.

A fitted, classically-cut, double-breasted navy blue blazer with navy-style buttons is a popular design and sometimes referred to as “reefer” blazer. Particularly in North America and the United Kingdom, it is now frequently used in business casual and business informal wear and by some as suitable attire for any situation.

A Cambridge Rifle Association (1st VIII/1st IV) half-blue blazer. Blazers of many colleges with less-suitable colours, or University blazers, have this standard neutral cream body, and the shooting badge is clearly seen on the breast pocket.

Blazers are worn as part of school uniform by many schools across the Commonwealth, and in a wide range of colours is still daily wear for most uniformed pupils in Britain and Australia. These are blazers in the traditional sense, single breasted often of bright colours or with piping. This style is also worn by some boat clubs, such as those in Cambridge or Oxford, with the piped version only on special occasions such as a boat club dinner. In this case, the piping is in college colours, and college buttons are worn. This traditional style can be seen in many films set in the Edwardian era, such as Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Where the blazer is part of the dress of a school, college, sports club, or armed service veterans’ association, it is normal for a badge to be sewn to the breast pocket. In schools, this may vary according to the student’s standing in the school; whether a member of the junior or senior school, being a prefect or having been awarded colours, in recognition of particular achievement in some academic or sporting field. In the Commonwealth, many regimental associations (veterans’ organisations) wear ‘regimental blazers’ which also sport a similar badge on the breast pocket, usually in the form of a wire badge, and sometimes also regimental blazer buttons. In the British army officers do not normally wear badges on their blazers (or boating jackets). Any two regimental blazers will very rarely be the same, as they are made up from different civilian sources and are not issued by any authority. This has come to be representative of the fact that the members of the association are now civilians, but retain the bond that the badge represents. The standard colour is navy blue, although in some associations different colours are worn, such as rifle green for the associations of rifle regiments.

Blazers, once commonly worn playing or attending traditional ‘gentlemen’s sports’, persist in only some games now, such as occasional use by tennis players, or cricket, where in professional matches, such as international test matches, it is considered customary for the captain to wear a blazer with the team’s logo or national coat of arms on the breast pocket, at least during the coin toss at the beginning of the match.

Two sporting events where blazers signify victory are the Congressional Cup Regatta at the Long Beach Yacht Club, and the Masters Golf tournament, held in Augusta, Georgia. The former event awards a crimson blazer to the winner of several flights of match race sailing of the highest international caliber, while the latter awards a green blazer to the top masters golfer in the USA.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: