How many shirt buttons should a man leave undone?

That’s a question every man has asked himself at some point or other; and it’s a very personal choice depending on confidence and style. In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the options available, how each affects the overall look, and how to keep it stylish. 

One button

Timeless and safe, this is the option to go for when wanting to look slightly dressed down but not too casual. Often, it’s the best option for stiffer shirt collars that would otherwise sit floppily with more buttons undone. When in doubt, it’s also your safest bet.

Two buttons 

This is pretty much the limit for undone buttons. It’s definitely a more casual look than the previous option but also gives an air of manliness, that the more conservative one button option doesn’t. Nevertheless, if too much of your chest is visible, then it’s best to button-up – modesty really is key here. I find that this option works best with softer collars, especially the button-down type, which tends to keep the shirt opening just slightly apart. Also, chunky men’s necklaces and uncontrollable chest hair do not go well with this option.

Fastened collar 

Originally a sign of rebellion against the conventional requirement of a tie, it’s a trend that has been made popular again in the UK. Whether worn under a pullover or on its own, it’s my preferred option for that effortless chic look – just not in summer. I find that this option works best on medium to short collars. To soften the look, leave the shirt untucked and roll up the sleeves. Worn under a jacket, I would go for a patterned shirt, as in the case of a plain, formal shirt, it can look as though you’re missing your neckwear.

Open shirt 

This is a look typical of 1990’s boy-bands, whose abs were their best selling point. Nowadays, there’s only one place a man might get away with leaving his shirt unbuttoned – the beach. Elsewhere, a T-Shirt in a complementary colour should be worn underneath. The result is a youthful and athletic look.

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