We’re sure that you don’t spend all your time scrutinising every detail in your clothing, but sometimes there is that one little thing that catches your eye and makes you think “why is that like that?” Take a moment to look closely at the buttonholes on your shirt, for instance.
While most of them are vertical, you may find that the bottommost one switches direction to horizontal. This subtle, functional trait shows a true understanding of how your shirt works and is just one of the tell-tale signs of an expertise in tailoring history.
At this point in the shirt where it stretches over your hips, the material is being pulled sideways and so if the buttonhole was vertical like on the rest of the body, the chance of it accidentally coming undone increases. A horizontal opening means more flexibility, which is why you’ll also find it on the topmost button on the collar.
The need for extra strength is where the different stitching comes in as well. The thicker, coloured thread, usually in contrasting blue or red, provides another layer of security so you can stretch, and move, and go about your day without any worry of your buttons popping open at the most inconvenient time.
“You’ll find this quirky feature on our casual shirts, which are usually worn untucked,” says Anthony Procopi, Director of Formal Menswear at T.M.Lewin. “The last button is on display so it gives you the opportunity to show off your style with this hint of colour.”
This thoughtful design has become a symbol of high-quality shirts and, so even though it’s not strictly necessary, the aesthetic touch given to the last button shows the care and attention in the shirt as a whole.
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