Sean Connery’s tailoring in his Bond films is often admired for its clean, simple lines and limited colour scheme. But wearing suits didn’t come naturally to Connery, and on four occasions he makes the mistake of buttoning the bottom button on his suit jackets. The first time is on the dark grey flannel suit in Dr. No, when wearing tailored clothing was still very new to him, and presumably director Terence Young did not catch the brief mistake. It happens a second time in Dr. No when both of the buttons on Bond’s blazer are fastened when he watches the Three Blind Mice’s hearse fall off the cliff. The third time is in From Russia with Love when Bond enters his hotel room in Istanbul and suddenly the bottom button on his grey silk suit is fastened, even though it was not when he entered the lift. This is not only a style error, it’s also a continuity error. The fourth time came in Diamonds Are Forever. On none of Connery’s suit jackets is the bottom button ever meant be fastened.
It’s typically advised that only the top button on a button-two jacket should be fastened. This is not just an arbitrary style tip but it is advice that follows how the suit jacket is cut. This is because the foreparts are curved away below the top button, and the lower button doesn’t meet up with the buttonhole. Thus, fastening the lower button causes the jacket to pull across the hips, and it makes a mess of the jacket as seen in the screen capture from Dr. No at the top. Closing the bottom button disrupts the clean lines Connery’s suits are known for having.
Why is a suit designed for the foreparts to be cutaway below the waist? Visually, this cutaway balances the open space above the waist and gives the jacket a dynamic and more flattering look. A jacket that buttons high—such as the button-four jacket of an army uniform—does not need to be cutaway to look balanced, but modern button-two and button-three jackets look bottom-heavy if not cut away. The cutaway also makes one look taller from the front by extending the trouser line up above the bottom of the jacket. Practically, a jacket that closes over the hips restricts restricts movement when walking and makes it difficult to sit. The skirt of a jacket would need to be unflattering wide to be comfortable if fastened shut in front. This practical aspect of the modern lounge coat’s design has its origins from horseback riding. There are, however, some button-two jackets designed to have both buttons fastened.
On a paddock-cut button-two jacket, both buttons are meant to fasten. The button stance is raised, usually placing the two buttons equidistant above and below the waist. Placing both buttons higher means that the bottom button can be fastened without restricting movement. The front on a paddock cut is only cutaway below the bottom button. British politician Anthony Eden and the Duke of Windsor are known for wearing this cut. In his later years, the Duke of Windsor only fastened the bottom button on his paddock-cut jackets for a longer lapel line. Roger Moore wears a couple button-three jackets with a high button placement in The Persuaders! that are similar to the paddock cut, but they have an additional button at the top.