Every new year brings with it a slew of trends that slowly permeate the menswear scene; they are an unavoidable phenomenon and definitely affect the landscape of the menswear market. Many of these trends can be fun to experiment with, but in the end-of-the year spirit I’ll highlight some that I believe have overstayed their welcome.
Part III: The High Button Stance
I never really understood why this look became popular. Perhaps it is an effect of the cropped Thom Browne silhouette, or maybe it has to do with the resurgence of Italian tailoring that we’re seeing. I don’t really know the genesis of the trend, but whatever the reason, it needs to go.
The button stance is defined as the vertical location of the one suit button that is (or at least should be) closed. This point serves as the fulcrum that gives balance to the upper and lower halves of the jacket. In general terms, the “ideal” button stance should align with one’s natural waist (around the location of your navel), and split the jacket into two equal vertical lengths. Of course, this can be adjusted to accommodate certain body types and styles, but it is a good starting point. When the button stance matches the natural waist it does a few things; first, it aligns the narrowest part of the jacket with the narrowest part of your torso (depending on your physique). Moreover, it creates a long, deep V-shape that helps accentuate the ideal masculine look of broad shoulders and narrow waist.
High button stances tend to give a more hip-heavy appearance (as seen above), which is not particularly flattering on men. Also, they tend to make the torso look shorter and can look strange when paired with the low-rise trousers we often see; that triangle of shirt showing below your jacket button isn’t really supposed to be there.
For some reason, though, this logic has been abandoned and button stances continue to be seen up toward the sternum, in brands at all levels. The prevalence of this trend is disconcerting because it makes shopping for blazers and suits difficult; when options at almost every pricepoint bear the same trend, it becomes challenging to avoid. I have often fallen victim of this trend myself, and find it very hard to find good items that have more traditional button stances. Hopefully the new year brings with it a silhouette that is more in line with the masculine history of this garment. On to 2014!
(photos via Mr. Porter)