But­tons on navy blazer are eas­ily switched out

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HIGH PROFILE - LOIS FEN­TON Please send your men’s dress and groom­ing ques­tions to MALE CALL:

QMy un­cle gave me his blue blazer. I re­ally like the fit, but some­thing about the brass but­tons seems out of place. Do you think I’ll ruin the look if I re­place the but­tons?

ASome men like the tra­di­tional look of brass but­tons on a blazer, and some do not. If you don’t like them, you can cer­tainly have them re­placed with dark blue gen­uine horn or plas­tic but­tons. They will make your blazer look dressier and more for­mal.

The con­ven­tional dresser chooses a sin­gle- or dou­ble-breasted blue blazer with clas­sic brass but­tons and a some­what am­bigu­ous fab­ric that is be­tween the dressy look of a worsted busi­ness-suit fab­ric and the tweedy note of a sports jacket. He wears it with gray flan­nel trousers and a but­ton-down col­lar shirt for a some­what preppy image. On the other hand, the man who wants a blue blazer with more of a Eu­ro­pean look, may choose a dressier fab­ric (per­haps cash­mere), and dress it up fur­ther with more for­mal dark suit but­tons. He may wear it with a French-cuff shirt and cuff links.

You did not say why you think the but­tons look out of place, but a few pos­si­bil­i­ties are:

■ A blazer with metal but­tons dis­plays a more ca­sual image than one with dark suit but­tons, per­haps too ca­sual — and nau­ti­cal — for the man who wears a blazer for busi­ness, or for week­end so­cial oc­ca­sions that are not on a yacht.

■ The but­tons may be too shiny and no­tice­able. Es­pe­cially on a dou­ble-breasted blazer where there could be as many as 14 but­tons (count ’em), there may just be too many points of light.

■ Some but­ton de­signs have crests or an­chors or mono­grams that may be too gaudy and os­ten­ta­tious for a con­ser­va­tive dresser’s taste.

■ For the man who wears French cuff shirts and cuff links or a tie clasp, the ad­di­tion of metal but­tons may well add up to too much glit­ter.

Ac­tu­ally, brass ver­sus navy but­tons is a mat­ter of pref­er­ence, per­sonal style, the wearer’s back­ground, and the sit­u­a­tion. Either type of but­ton is ac­cepted on most oc­ca­sions. So, too, are non­shiny sil­ver-tone or pewter but­tons for the guy whose watch is stain­less. Un­like most other tai­lor­ing al­ter­ations, chang­ing the but­tons need not be ex­pen­sive nor per­ma­nent. So, there is no good rea­son for you to hold off on your idea.

In­ci­den­tally, a dap­per warm weather look that adds a note of in­di­vid­u­al­ity while cost­ing al­most noth­ing — af­ter Me­mo­rial Day and be­fore La­bor Day — is to ex­change the brass but­tons with fine white pearl but­tons. Big plus: Three sets of but­tons for your blazer can cre­ate three sea­sonal jack­ets for barely more than the price of one.

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