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1903 in London, United Kingdom

Sometimes, always, never or how to button a jacket

Story - told by Philip Dainton

Your first job and nothing to wear? How fabulous would it be to always feel confident when you dress for the occasion and know it? The first rule on breaking a rule is to know everything about the rule. Therefore, let us learn about the rule of “sometimes, always, never”.

Legend states that the “sometimes, always, never” rule for three-button jackets goes back to Edward VII ruler of Britain. Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, was social and outgoing, very liked by his people. As many popular individuals, he inspired and initiated trends in fashion. He even enjoyed his wining and dining. One of the trends started off because he grew too large for his suit. He couldn’t button the second button.

His court, not wanting to embarrass him, copied. The trend was widely adapted and the tradition stuck.


Rule established by court etiquette was on a two-button jacket, you should always use the top button and never use the second. With a three-button jacket, you should sometimes button the top button, always button the middle one and never use the last button. 

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