Why are half of the buttonholes on my blazer's sleeves unopened?
September 30, 2013 9:53 PM   Subscribe

A new blazer I purchased has 4 buttons on each sleeve, and 2 functional buttonholes, 2--towards the end--which are unopened--why?

It makes sense to me that this could be a tailoring thing, in case the sleeves need shortening. Any other ideas? This isn't some weird fashion thing, is it? ' Cause my inclination is to get a tailor to open these up.

View the mystery here.
posted by millions to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
If you folded back the sleeve and made a cuff sort of like a chef's jacket, would the buttons fit with the two rear buttons?
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:58 PM on September 30, 2013

Point being, those two unopened holes wold be extremely stylistic and a different style of wear for the same coat if you did that. I've got a jacket like that where you can make some stylistic conversions into a bit more of a hunting jacket, but yeah, it involves opening up a few button holes at the breast as well. The unopened button holes, if opened would lay funny if I opened them up and had no intention of wearing the jacket like that.
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:02 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Functional button holes on the sleeves have always denoted a bespoke jacket. I have a friend who has his blazers tailored specifically for him - and the tailor always leaves one of the sleeve buttons unbuttoned (all of his sleeve buttons are funtional).

Not sure if you got your jacket made specially for you - or if this is a bit of 'nod' on the manufacturers part.
posted by helmutdog at 11:20 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Surgeon's cuffs, or a modern approximation of such. More history and details.
posted by hydatius at 11:55 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding helmutdog - it's mimicking a bespoke blazer.

And people who can afford bespoke blazers don't generally leave the buttons undone.
posted by digitalprimate at 3:12 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you aren't getting a bespoke jacket, functional buttons are actually a drawback, because you'll probably have to have the sleeves altered. A bespoke jacket, naturally, fits your arm-length exactly; an off-the-rack one needs to be altered to fit, and not only are functional buttonholes a waste in this case, they actually make the alteration trickier. Current snob-menswear opinion is that non-bespoke jackets are actually better without functional buttons, since it's not a useful detail. I'd leave them alone were I you (and if you don't need sleeve alterations, lucky you!)
posted by Frowner at 6:16 AM on October 1, 2013

A gentleman was never to take his jacket off. For surgeons and other gentlemen who worked with their hands, they added buttons that allowed one to roll up the sleeves.

Bespoke jackets are made the original way and that's why they have it.

What I don't get is the mixture of the two.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:54 AM on October 1, 2013

@Ironmouth, I think it's so that you can unbutton the top one or two buttons and look (ish) like you're wearing a bespoke jacket.
posted by katrielalex at 7:04 AM on October 1, 2013

Response by poster: Nanukthedog, I hadn't thought of that, but I gave it a shot: doesn't seem to be the intent.

helmutdog: It's definitely not tailor made for me, but the idea of this being a nod to bespoke jackets crossed my mind. Except I figure if that was the idea, they'd probably just leave the one buttonhole closed, no? And have the other buttons non-functioning?

snickerdoodle: The buttons line up pretty good and so do the buttonholes, but now that you mention it I will definitely consult with a good tailor to make sure that I'm not ruining the blazer if I have the holes opened.

Frowner: I'm still of the mind that the bottom buttonholes were left closed quite purposely so that the sleeves can be shortened without being limited by the holes. At least I hope so, because the idea that this was done to achieve a "look" is a little silly to me.

After some consideration, I'll go so far as to say that if it makes a jacket easier to alter, leaving a couple of potentially functional buttonholes closed is actually a pretty good idea, no matter why it was done. I'm not a surgeon, but I really like being able to roll up my sleeves now and again.

Thanks everybody for the responses! I might just go straight to the source and e-mail the label's website, though I would be surprised if anyone on the customer service end had any idea, or would be bothered to find me something like an official answer.
posted by millions at 8:52 PM on October 1, 2013

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