Getting Seated in a Suit

21

Casino-Royale-Unbutton-Jacket

There are three things James Bond does when he sits down in his suits. The first is something often recommended for sitting, and that is unbuttoning the jacket. This only applies to single-breasted jackets since double-breasted jackets should always be left fastened. Seeing that only one of the suit jacket’s buttons should be buttoned anyway—only the top button of two buttons and only the middle button of three buttons—it’s easy to open one button when sitting down. Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds can often be seen unbuttoning their jackets to sit, though other Bonds do it occasionally too. Unbuttoning the jacket makes it more comfortable to sit in, relieves the stress on the button and prevents creases. Notice in the image above, both Bond and Le Chiffre unbutton their dinner jackets when sitting down. Bond also pushes the front of the jacket to the sides to avoid sitting on it, thus avoiding unnecessary creasing and feeling tied down.

On the other hand, James Bond often leaves his suit jackets buttoned when seated, especially in the earlier films. It helps the action between sitting and standing to flow better, and it avoids clumsy fiddling on screen. When Bond opens his suit jacket in Osato’s office in You Only Live Twice, it is done outside the frame. On many occasions when Bond sits with his jacket unbuttoned, he already had unbuttoned it for another reason. And when Bond stands up, he typically fastens his jacket if it wasn’t already fastened. It’s a good habit to have.

Some button three jackets are cut for the top two buttons to fasten, and if you fasten more than one button on your jacket you should leave the buttons fastened when sitting down. When James Bond has two buttons on his button three hacking jacket fastened in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he leaves them both fastened when sitting. Fiddling with more than one button when sitting and standing looks too fussy.

Skyfall-Sitting

The second, and most frequent, thing Bond does when sitting down is give a tug at his trouser legs. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan do this most regularly of all the Bonds. Bond isn’t pulling up his trousers to show off his socks but instead to relieve stress on the trousers. Tugging up the trousers just a little takes stress off the knees to make the trousers more comfortable, to keep the crease sharp and to prevent the knees from wearing out. Even Daniel Craig manages to pull up his tight suit trousers a little in Skyfall. Notice both Bond and Mallory tugging at their trousers legs in the image above.

Brosnan-Sitting

The third part of James Bond’s ritual when getting seated—especially for Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Bonds—is adjust his shirt cuffs and cufflinks. Notice Pierce Brosnan adjusting both his trousers and his cuffs in the image above. Sometimes the shirt cuffs get stuck inside the suit sleeves and need to be pulled out of the jacket sleeve and straightened when sitting down. Cufflinks, however, rarely need to be adjusted.

Do you unbutton your jacket, adjust your cuffs or lift up your trousers when getting seated?

21 COMMENTS

  1. This reminds me of what looks like a continuity error, but might just be an example of over-eager cuff adjustment. Look at Bond’s cuff in The Man with the Golden Gun when he is in the hotel suite near the start of the film. His cuff length changes dramatically between scenes.

  2. Nice post Matt. Its kind of funny that every guy has his own ritual when sitting down and standing up. I always, of course, open up my single-breasted jackets when I sit down. But I never give a tug at my trouser legs. Different to Bond, I adjust my shirt cuffs after I stand up. Dont know why, its just the way I do it.

  3. Unbuttoning the jacket and tugging at the trousers are something I’ve always done. Not sure where I picked it up, just seemed the obvious thing to do.

    Cufflink adjusting is rarer, but I do seem to play with my watch quite a bit.

  4. I unbutton the jacket for comfort and tug the trousers. I’ve heard the trouser tug helps stop the knees going shiny by relieving the tension on them over the knee area. I’m not sure how accurate this is though.

    • I don’t think it does much to prevent shine, since shine is caused from abrasion on the outside of the trousers. But relieving the tension on the knees has the other benefits I mentioned.

  5. I almost never unbutton my jacket when sitting. I think this habit comes from my military background where that wasn’t allowed. I only adjust my pants if needed depending on the fit. I do adjust my cuffs often – both when sitting and getting back up.

  6. Great post Matt. These are one of the things a father shoudl teach to his son ! Tugging the trousers is something that is getting a bit lost today, I think. I don’t do it very often personaly since I don’t know really ‘where to stop !’ I mean, when you are seated, if you have tugged your trousers ot much, it won’t look good, it looks a bit like you are wearing too short trousers. But it’s also the occasion to show that you wear socks with a proper, decent lenght !

    I think Craig adjusts his cuffs AND cufflinks when sitting at the poker table after, as Le Chiffre mentionned, ‘changing his shirt !’, but I may be wrong, I don’t have the dvd around for the moment to check.

  7. I have a button-three jacket where I usually button the top two, and I’d always wondered what the etiquette was for them. Generally, I leave them buttoned, because it forces me to have a more upright posture when sitting.

    • Great post Matt as usual!
      As a fan of the early sixties Mod look, ALL of my suits and jackets are three-button, most of them ‘hard threes’ where I fasten the top and middle buttons. I always unbutton both when seated and don’t believe this looks ‘too fussy’.
      I also tug the front of my trousers which I noticed my Dad doing when I was a little boy, and many younguns copy such habits from their Dads. I remember asking him why he did that, I was probably in shorts back then, but emulated the habit when I graduated to long trousers!
      I don’t think I adjust my cuffs routinely but probably do on occasion. I love the opening scene in Skyfall when Bond jumps off the dirt bike and comes hurtling through the open back of the train, then instinctively adjusts his shirt sleeve!

  8. I unbutton and trouser-adjust when sitting down. I actually picked it up from the cast of Yes Minister, the BBC sitcom. They’re all impeccably dressed, and of fairly high class – in my more pretentious youth they were natural examples to follow. Habits stuck!

  9. Most of the time which is 98% of the time, I unbutton my suit jacket. 100% of the time, I tug at my trouser legs, I am 23 and all my friends think that when I pull at my trouser legs it’s hilarious; however, I explain to them that it serves a purpose (and that Cary Grant used to do it). The adjustment of the cuffs I do slightly different, I adjust my cuffs when I am about to sit down and I adjust my cuffs when I get up again. The adjustment of cuffs only happens when I wear French or Cocktail Cuff shirt which is 50% of the time.

    Once again Matt, great post and I love the addition of the GIF photos for explanation purposes.

  10. Nice article. I always button and unbutton my single breasted jacket if I am still wearing it when transitioning between sitting and standing; though if I am sitting at my desk in my office I will often remove it as I will likely be sitting there for some time. Similarly I also adjust my trousers. I don’t think the trouser adjustment needs to be learned; it becomes immediately apparent depending upon the cut and fit of your trousers and position when sitting if an adjustment is required. I’m sure most trouser wearers develop a version of this habit both for reasons of comfort but also to protect their trousers from unnecessary stress. Interestingly, in the show Madmen the male characters religiously unbutton and button their suit jackets upon sitting and standing.

    • Something else that Bond and the characters on Mad Men always do that’s all but lost on today’s society is they stand up whenever a lady enters or exists a room. Where have simple manners gone?

  11. “Do you unbutton your jacket, adjust your cuffs or lift up your trousers when getting seated”?

    Yes, always.

  12. An amusing post Matt, and a good one.

    And, yes, I unbutton the jacket and adjust the pants when I sit. I don’t like cuffs that are “scrunched up” so I often adjust them during the day.

  13. I just want to say how much I appreciate the gifs in this post! I hope they become standard in your articles because there’s no better way this could have been illustrated and I see potential for their usage in demonstrating movement and the fit of suits, etc.

  14. Monday morning, I was just telling my 11 year old to, when he sat down, unbutton his suit jacket he was wearing to school for pictures. On my way way to the office, I was amused when I logged on to this site and read this post! Great timing.

    I unbutton and adjust. Always find the Sportscenter anchors and similar NFL commentariat crowd looking a bit odd with their jackets buttoned while sitting.

  15. All three for me, but I rarely wear French cuff shirts these days so maybe two out of three is a better answer. It may be that men get used to tugging at unlined trousers such as jeans, chinos, etc., and carry it over to lined suit trousers where it may not be necessary. Anyway, great work with the GIFs, Matt. Off topic, but what happened to socks which rise above the ankle? Scarcer than hen’s teeth now…

  16. I tend to un button my suit jackets as I sit and then adjust my cuffs. I normally wear a 3 piece suit with a single button coat (my ex Huntsman tailor “told me off” for calling it a jacket!) which looks fine un buttoned as well. My latest find is over the calf socks which make such a difference to style and I cant believe it’s taken me so long to realise. Great post by the way.

  17. I note that gentlemen in films made in the 1930s never unbutton their single breasted jackets when sitting down. This is presumably because, in the classic era, a shirt was considered underwear, and as such should remain covered at all times. Only with a waistcoat, would a single breasted jacket be worn open.

  18. Great article. I found it interesting from a female standpoint, as I always pull up my trousers before I sit down. I thought everybody did!

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