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Topic of the Day: The Importance of Button Stance

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Every aspect of fashion deserves attention. Even the best casual dressers have a method to their madness. It might be a nitpicker’s issue, but apparently, button stance, the distance between the first and second button of a collar shirt is a subtle nuance that is worthy of discussion.

Personally, I don’t think I have put as much thought into the button stance as much as I should. If it’s a good shirt, I’m just going to work with what I have. I’m not gonna toss a shirt because the distance between the first and second button is too far. Or maybe, I haven’t had a lot of shirts with a dramatically long button stance. The results are not as serious as an overstated deep V-neck (douchebag neck.) But if you’re going for the “perfect look,” you might as well take button stance into account. In my experience, a button stance really changes the way I wear an ascot (yeah, I rock one from time to time.) A lot of the times, the button stance is a little bit higher than I want it to be and the ascot can’t breathe in all its glory. So oops, there goes the first two buttons unbuttoned. At the same time, if I’m going to wear a shirt with the top button unbuttoned, it’s nice to have the second button a little bit higher so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to seduce anyone with my scrawny chest.


NYTimes covers the schools of thought on button stance…

Pants can be hemmed, shirts can be darted. But the way buttons are spaced down the front of a shirt — known in the industry as “stance” — is forever. Frustration with poor button stance is so universal, even Jerry Seinfeld talked about it with George in the final episode of his series. “The second button is the key button,” he said. “It literally makes or breaks the shirt.”

Let’s open Pandora’s box. If that second button is set too high, a shirt appears awkwardly buttoned-up, even with the collar open. Undoing the second button can drop the shirt opening too low. If the second button is too low to begin with, you’ll need a tie. But then, because the first two buttons are so far apart, the shirt will likely gap open between them.

“With the line of work I’m in, my lifestyle, it’s no tie,” said Jim Kloiber, 41, an executive at the public relations firm LaForce & Stevens in New York. “That said, I need to look presentable — not too casual or showing chest hair, so that second button has to be right.”

For Brennan McGrath, 27, an architect at Ryall Porter in New York, modesty is a consideration. “It just looks corny when it goes too low, like you’re begging for attention,” he said. “The whole male cleavage thing.”

[Taken from NYTimes]

A simple solution to the whole button stance is to wear a tie with a tie clip. You don’t have to wonder if the button stance is too low or high or “shirt gaping open” issues and you’ll look more presentable.

I wonder if girls have the same problem with button stance.

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