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20. February 2020

Debates at Mogg Towers: Some thoughts on single-breasted button stance


Bob The wardrobe builder

One thing that everybody notices about the Maximillian Mogg house style is that it is very much centred around the lovely double-breasted suits that Max is seen in most days. A couple of weeks ago, however, Max and I were having a discussion about single-breasted suits (which I mostly wear), and what some of the finer details of the SB jacket should be. After our discussion, Herr Mogg was even threatening to go down the SB route for some of his personal wardrobe, and that indeed Mogg (the tailoring house) should develop a since-breasted “house style” to accompany the signature double-breasted offerings. Please bear in mind that what you are about to read is the opinion of BtWB and Max, not necessarily of the broader group at Mogg Towers (many of whom disagree on some of the finer points made below).

The first place to start when discussing SB jackets is the number of buttons, and the stance of those buttons. My view is that you can have one or three buttons on a SB jacket, but never two (or more than three). Why? More than three buttons look silly — it just does! You look like you’re trying too hard. And, the ubiquitous two button, in addition to being so conservative and orthodox, has an extra button (and buttonhole) that does nothing. It’s superfluous, and just looks less clean.

So, that’s what we don’t like in a single-breasted jacket. Let’s explain in more detail what we like in our SB jackets.

Well, one- or three-button fastening, we think looks smartest in a SB style. They are elegant, classic and quite unique as we start the 2020s. Let’s break down each style individually.

The one-button jackets that we like best are those that have a high-button stance (think of one of those two-button jackets we dismissed above, and just lop off the second, lower button and remove its accompanying buttonhole). That would mean a very high, single button, about three or four fingers above the navel for somebody about 180cm tall. While there is an argument that a lower button stance can be quite flattering in that it elongates a shorter-man, my issue with it is that it is hard to keep your tie tucked underneath your jacket as it easily pops out over top of the button. This is massively annoying! Having your single button just that little bit higher solves that problem, and looks very smart. It is also unconventional and not seen very often, which means you have a look that is unlike most others out there.

We also like the classic three-button jacket that was poplar in the mid/late 1990s and earlier in the 20th century. Again, the button stance is high, and the “three roll two” style is not one we like because then it just looks like the two button jackets we aren’t partial to. For us, the ideal button stance for a three button is the middle button being three or four fingers above the navel (sound familiar?), with the top button three or four fingers above the middle one, and the bottom button the same distance below. It’s clean, it’s classic, it’s elegant, and when you button that middle button, your tie doesn’t poke out above the fastening.

Those are our preferred button stances for a single breasted one- or three-button jacket. Before closing, a quick word on lapels. Given the look of our double-breasted offering you’ll not be surprised to know that we like a capacious lapel with our single-breasted jackets, too. Some of the team don’t mind a peaked lapel with a SB style (and suggest a lower button stance with this style), while others of us (me included) only want a notched lapel on a single-breasted lounge suit. Lapel width that is generous, yet not too wide, looks best to us, and will work well with the one- or three-button styles we’ve advocated for.

Keep an eye out for Mogg single-breasted jackets in the coming months. They’ll be very different from our double-breasted offering, but equally as distinctive! BTWB/MM