If you wear collared shirts without a tie, I'd venture to guess that you don't button all of your buttons. Not to say that it can't look good, I think you just have to have a certain panache to pull it off.
Sidebar: Once I was on my way to a circus-themed party dressed as an old-tyme magician. I buttoned the top button of the white shirt I was wearing on the car ride over so that the pinpoint collar wouldn't be less splayed out to the sides when I arrived. I unknowingly left the top button done upon entering the party and with the suspenders and beard I was wearing everyone thought I had come dressed as an Amish man.
Anyway, it seems almost second nature to undo the top button of a casual shirt while not wearing a tie. But what if the second button is a bit high? You don't want to look like you live with your mother, do you? Depending on the shirt (naturally), I find myself more often than not in the summer undoing the top two buttons on my shirts. It may seem like a minor detail or some kind of contrivance but I always say that the devil is in the details.
Reasons for leaving two buttons undone are plentiful:
  1. The more pronounced "V" formed by the two halves of the shirt better frames the face in lieu of a tie and jacket. 
  2. The larger opening allows for more airflow and better cooling properties.
  3. It is an excuse to be manly and show more chest hair (if you have it).
So how do you wear your buttons? Rico Suave vs. Poindexter. Is it even worth talking about?


  1. I fully support your three reasons for leaving the top two buttons undone, as this is what I typically do between April and whenever it gets cold.

  2. I think it is actually worth talking about. I'm in the same camp as you: 1 in the colder months, 2 throughout the summer.

    Gotta get that ventilation going!

  3. Great topic. I tend to go with whether I'm feeling more sexy or intellectual that day. Although with the impending heatwave approaching I don't think I can afford to act too smart.

  4. The guys over at Ledbury lowered the second button to create what they call "the perfect V".

  5. There are definitely times when two buttons are justified. I certainly wouldn't wear it to work, but it's fine casually.

  6. I go with weather of the day route combined with whatever my self-confidence may be. The lower spot on my neck wont tan and if I wear a really dark shirt it looks weird, so I need to be careful.

  7. Mentioning the shirt buttoned all the way up reminded me of Glenn O'Brien in GQ a few years ago (found here - http://www.gq.com/style/style-guy/suiting/200011/button-up-collar ). I remember because I tried it a few times. It looks better if you have a sport coat on. Google David Lynch and there's the look.