Have you ever wondered why that bottom button on a formal waistcoat is so often left undone? Maybe you’ve seen your friends doing it but have been too afraid to ask, so you just go along with it? Have you yourself left that cheeky button undone but you’re still not sure why you feel compelled to do so? We have wondered this too and with our growing collection of Sir Plus Waistcoats, now seems like the perfect time to get to the bottom of peculiar unwritten rule. So, we’ve done a little research of our own and there seems to be many theories on the topic. Some believable and some not quite so believable…
Starting at the beginning, because why not, one theory dates all the way back to Edwardian times. That’s around 1901-1910 to you and me, during the reign of King Edward VII. Now, Ed was famously into his food (just like most of us). It is well documented that he enjoyed the not-so-occasional 8-course lunch followed by a 12-course dinner. This was, naturally, followed by supper because who doesn’t get peckish after a 20-meal day. All of this tucker took its toll on poor Edward as he quickly gained the pounds to match those ridiculous meals. The King’s ballooning waistline brings us to the first theory on why the last button on a waistcoat is left undone. The Prince of Wales became so fat that he was physically unable to fasten the bottom button of his waistcoat. To follow royal suit, his loyal subjects started unbuttoning too until everyone was doing it. Unfortunately Edward has been more remembered for his burgeoning midsection rather than his quite frankly epic trendsetting. But don’t worry, Ed, we’ve all been there. It’s kind of like the modern day equivalent of when you unbutton the top button of your jeans after a relentlessly big portion of pie, mash and liquor. Sometimes, It just has to happen.
The next theory comes from those well-polished gentlemen that we know as the ‘Dandies’. Around during the late 18th Century, a Dandy was a man who placed particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language and leisurely hobbies (just like me and you, then). Always immaculately dressed, you would often find the Dandies wearing two waistcoats simultaneously, one on top of the other. Of course, these flamboyant chaps needed to show both off at once so undid the bottom button of the top waistcoat to reveal the waistcoat underneath (layering game on point). This does sound like a slightly uncomfortable option to us however, but Dandies, we aren’t judging! We prefer a stylish yet comfortable look so that’s why all our waistcoats are designed to allow free movement while fitting you like a glove. Though the bottom button is down to you!
Our final theory, and probably the most practical, comes from the men who unbuttoned the bottom button during physical activity to allow for movement and flexibility. It is also known that having the bottom button undone would stop your waistcoat from riding up whilst horseback riding. Not quite as relatable for todays city dwellers, but a good theory nonetheless. So there you have the theories behind the bottom button. All are very possible and some are admittedly more likely than others. Our favourite though is old King Ed and his infamous gut. We just love the idea of a gluttonous man, kicking back, unbuttoning his waistcoat and in turn creating a worldwide trend that’s lasted over a hundred years. It almost reminds us of ourselves on a Sunday afternoon; now where’s course number 8?
If you’ve now got waistcoats on your mind and we don’t blame you, have a look at our newest styles below.