Every fashion-conscious guy knows that details matter. From briefs versus boxers to the art of tucked or untucked shirt, our style is paramount. So what’s to be said for one the biggest fashion conundrums of all: how many buttons to button on a shirt? Truthfully, the ratio of buttoned to unbuttoned matters; at least, it does depending on the occasion. Let’s talk buttons.
If you’re working in the upper ranks of the corporate world, you should button all the buttons on your shirt, right up to the collar. If it’s a forward point collar and the wings have buttons, those should be buttoned too.
These rules can be slightly loosened if your work environment is also looser. Maybe you’re a marketer for Uber or a bartender; then here, you can leave the first button unbuttoned-- without visible chest fuzz (inappropriate).
Lounges & restaurants
For a night out, it’s time to unwind. This relaxed atmosphere calls for a couple more opened buttons, starting from the collar, not the bottom-- wait until you're home to unleash your food belly!
And if the mood feels right, perhaps there’s cool music and cocktails involved, go ahead and leave three buttons unbuttoned, but only if the shirt is slim-fit and tucked into your belt. If you dare to unbutton four, take your cues from Colin Farrell who’s always rocking this handomsley ruffled look. Just keep in mind, this style can be presented much better if you’re wearing a necklace; otherwise, you still risk looking kind of disheveled.
To impress your lady, you need good button manners. Here, you’re probably wearing a shirt with an abbreviated spread collar, a looser style where you can easily leave one or two buttons opened from the collar. Anything more and you’ll enter sketchy territory.
For a grill-out with your buds, the standard rule of thumb is two to three buttons undone from the collar. But you also get more leeway for the lower buttons at the hem. This looseness is only acceptable if your shirt is half-tucked and in this case, you may unbutton the last two buttons. You’ll then pull out one side of your shirt, letting it drape over your belt, while the tucked-in side sits snug under your belt. Yup, that’s stylish.
Here and only here, may you leave all your shirt buttons undone. Whether your chest is bare or grizzly, it doesn’t matter. Just soak up all that vitamin D and you’re golden!
Familiarize yourself with these rules so you’ll never need to ask, “how many buttons to button on a shirt?”. And if you ever witness your buddy getting it wrong, be a good fashion-friend and help him avoid bad button etiquette. Pay it forward, right?