In the 1970s J. Press two-button model in their NY store accommodated forward Ivy and moved with the wind.
Comment by Two Button Trad — February 3, 2013 @ 10:35 am
The two-button jacket is the best thing that ever happened to Ivy. That absurd, functionless top button and that ludicrous reversed top button hole on 3-button jackets forced many of us to have the lapels ironed in such a fashion as to make the top button buttonable in order to look proper.
Comment by Christian — February 3, 2013 @ 10:41 am
The times, they were a changin’. I understand. Just interesting that the advertisement represents a not-quite-Heyday take on the style. I guessed a wink-wink flippancy is at work. I’m all for cleverness.
Two button Trad:
If usefelness is the criteria we’re using, then why not declare the bottom button (never or rarely buttoned) as equally absurd/ludicrous/functionless? According to your take on the look, a one-button cost is the way to go. Or do I misinterpret your logic?
When I think of the 3-rolled-to-2 look, Brooks comes to mind. It’s as though they trademarked that particular nuance of natural shoulder style.
Comment by A.E.W. Mason — February 3, 2013 @ 8:09 pm
In re the “third button.” I agree that if you apply the concept of utility to its logical conclusion you would be left with a one button jacket; I suppose you would also eliminate the upper left lapel button hole, which I think is a vestige of being able to button up to the neck for warmth. Of course, if you can pull of a Bertie Wooster with a flower I guess you keep it.
That third button has moved all over the place. Looking at period photographs, generally, it seems to me that before WW I a 3-button coat (or even 4) was fully functional and had a very high button stance. Yet looking at Brooks Brothers, Generations of Style, you can see at page 46 that by the 1920’s Brooks had already rendered the third button non-functioning, but the button stance was still very high; in the picture the button hole is at the top of the breast pocket. I think Brooks was still making coats like this into the 1950’s. To me, the higher stance suggests greater formality—almost a military style “correctness.” Personally, I prefer it; and O’Connell’s website points out certain coats where the lapel is cut so that it “rolls over the third (or top) button.” I’m sure some have seen references to the “3/2.5 roll” which is, I’m guessing, this kind of roll over or at the third button. After WW II, again generally, it seems to me that Brooks and others did start to drop the button stance somewhat and show more shirt and tie. For me, a good example of this cut is Cary Grant’s suit in North by Northwest. I think it was made by Kilgour. Although I think even today most Savile Row tailors cut a fully functioning 3 button suit.
What I don’t like, and it’s just taste, is a true, contemporary 2 button coat with a third button slapped on. The last two suits and two sport coats I purchased at J. Press—made in Canada I think—are all of this type. They’re also cut on a trimmer pattern generally. Looking at its website, it seems to me J. Press no longer carries 3 button suits with the old higher button stance.