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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
This is my first post, however I have been lurking on AAAC for several years now. I have searched the forums but can't find anything that discusses my specific question. I hope that doesn't mean its too dumb of a question to post! But here goes:

I recently purchased a 3-roll-2 Harris Tweed sack sport coat in an olive herringbone pattern from J Press. I'm really loving it, however I want to swap the existing buttons for antiqued brown leather buttons. Although the jacket is advertised as a 3/2, it's really more of a 3-roll-2 1/2 as the lapels do protrude a little making the top button slightly visible.
I was considering a strange move: making the top button slightly smaller than the remaining two. My reasoning is that as the top button is not meant to be fastened, having a smaller button there may hint at that fact, kind of a like a vestigial appendage.

I think most people would not notice/care anyway. But I seek the advice of you knowledgeable gentleman on this. Is this a bad idea? Or is it such a small detail that it doesn't matter either way? I don't know why I like the idea, and can't really explain further. I just thought it might be an interesting detail.

I appreciate any responses.
 

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Welcome*. I'd go with the Occam's razor answer: keep all three buttons the same size / don't over think or try to over engineer the situation.

Digging just a touch deeper, if someone did notice, having different sized buttons there would look odd IMHO. Also, the button should be right sized for the button hole even if it is never used (as it wouldn't be on the top one).

I'm pretty sure I know the sport coat you have - it's a beauty. Leather buttons will be a nice addition. Enjoy.


*I'm assuming you are not trolling, but if you are, kudos to putting so much effort into an inside-baseball troll. You seem legit, but it's a big world out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the welcome and quick response.
Your answer makes sense too. Its funny how you mention over thinking it. I do tend to overthink most things, which people who know me would attest to. Old habits die hard I guess!
And no, I'm not a troll. The only reason I know what a 3 roll 2 is in the first place is because of AAAC. Lurking here over the past few years has drastically improved my knowledge and wardrobe, and I want to keep learning. Thanks again!
 

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I agree but...

I recently realized the top button on a wonderfully thick tweed jacket I've been wearing all winter was missing. Not a little button, either, but one of those thick leather things.

I didn't notice and neither did anyone else.
 

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Although the jacket is advertised as a 3/2, it's really more of a 3-roll-2 1/2 as the lapels do protrude a little making the top button slightly visible.
While there is such a creature as a 3 roll 2 1/2, I don't believe J. Press has ever sold such an animal. When you say "the lapels do protrude a little, making the top button slightly visible," you are witnessing the desirable quality of "bloom" in which the canvas or half-canvas interior structure of the jacket is designed to create and maintain a lovely "roll" to the lapel.

Here is a picture of a sport coat that shows a voluptuous bloom to the lapel:


While this image shows the buttonhole side of the jacket and not the button, if you look carefully, you'll see the uppermost buttonhole on the jacket.

Net: Though you can't see it, the interior Canvas is doing its job... keeping your sport coats and suit jackets from displaying a flat, two dimensionalality.
 

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I agree but...
I recently realized the top button on a wonderfully thick tweed jacket I've been wearing all winter was missing....I didn't notice and neither did anyone else.
How do you know they didn't notice? Maybe they noticed and at this very moment they are gathered in a coffee shop. The person who convened the meeting is now saying, "Folks, we can forgive a missing top button, so that's why we didn't say anything to Patrick about it. However, we'll need to keep a wary eye on him. If we ever catch him walking around town with his pants unzipped, then it'll be time for an intervention. Right?"

"Objection."

"What's the matter, Elmer?"

"Well, Bud, you know as well as anyone else here that Patrick has been a member in good standing of that Ask Randy Internet thing for many years."

"Ask Andy."

"Andy, Randy, Mandy, whatever. Anyway, Bud, Patrick knows a lot about clothes."

"You're right, Elmer. I stand corrected. [Bud stands up and fixes his posture.] I shouldn't have said 'pants.' It's 'trousers.'"
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
While there is such a creature as a 3 roll 2 1/2, I don't believe J. Press has ever sold such an animal. When you say "the lapels do protrude a little, making the top button slightly visible," you are witnessing the desirable quality of "bloom" in which the canvas or half-canvas interior structure of the jacket is designed to create and maintain a lovely "roll" to the lapel.

Here is a picture of a sport coat that shows a voluptuous bloom to the lapel:


While this image shows the buttonhole side of the jacket and not the button, if you look carefully, you'll see the uppermost buttonhole on the jacket.

Net: Though you can't see it, the interior Canvas is doing its job... keeping your sport coats and suit jackets from displaying a flat, two dimensionalality.
Yes, i
While there is such a creature as a 3 roll 2 1/2, I don't believe J. Press has ever sold such an animal. When you say "the lapels do protrude a little, making the top button slightly visible," you are witnessing the desirable quality of "bloom" in which the canvas or half-canvas interior structure of the jacket is designed to create and maintain a lovely "roll" to the lapel.

Here is a picture of a sport coat that shows a voluptuous bloom to the lapel:


While this image shows the buttonhole side of the jacket and not the button, if you look carefully, you'll see the uppermost buttonhole on the jacket.

Net: Though you can't see it, the interior Canvas is doing its job... keeping your sport coats and suit jackets from displaying a flat, two dimensionalality.
Yes, its definitely a 3 roll 2 as per the J Press website, however I didn't realize that would still allow for the top button to show a little. For the record I'm glad it does. It looks great. The profile matches the sport coat you have posted here. That's a beautiful sport coat by the way. I wish I had discovered true style earlier in life. Though to be honest I probably didn't have the means.
 

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Yes, its definitely a 3 roll 2 as per the J Press website, however I didn't realize that would still allow for the top button to show a little. For the record I'm glad it does. It looks great.
On those relatively rare occasions when we see a 3-roll-2, a proportionately significant number of the jackets have flat lapels. Accordingly, it's easy to forget that the lapel with a three-dimensional "bloom" (thank you, Billax) is an exemplary display of the tailor's art. Somebody cared enough to shape that canvas.

Look for the bloom. A top button that is nearly perpendicular to the chest is a good thing.
 

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Welcome*. I'd go with the Occam's razor answer: keep all three buttons the same size / don't over think or try to over engineer the situation.

Digging just a touch deeper, if someone did notice, having different sized buttons there would look odd IMHO. Also, the button should be right sized for the button hole even if it is never used (as it wouldn't be on the top one).

I'm pretty sure I know the sport coat you have - it's a beauty. Leather buttons will be a nice addition. Enjoy.

*I'm assuming you are not trolling, but if you are, kudos to putting so much effort into an inside-baseball troll. You seem legit, but it's a big world out there.
Agree with Bro. Fast: it's one of those things that gets subliminally noticed, and the viewer thinks "that's a little off" even if they're not sure why.

Also, on a nice "brisk" day, you might feel the need to button everything that can be buttoned.
 

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By the way, explicitly discussing lapel roll isn't a pastime that came into existence with the advent of online clothing forums. In an article in the March 21, 1897 edition of the New York Times, under the headline "Summer Fashion for Men," the anonymous writer stated: "In business suits, adapted for general purposes, fancy effects in sack style figure prominently in the wardrobe of the well-to-do merchant. A three-button cutaway sack coat, made up soft, so as to be rolled back at will, is a pronounced favorite, but the double-breasted sack is also in evidence."

In the 1890s, the man of means had multiple outfits for different times of day. So of course the article continues: "The man of leisure and of affluence seldom if ever fails to doff his sack [business] coat at noontime to don his walking costume, which in turn is discarded for the nonce in favor of the frock coat, this style to be succeeded in due course by evening dress."

Sounds exhausting. All in one day: the lounge suit, the walking coat, the frock coat, then evening dress. Exhausting but fun. (I could go for a walking coat.)

And on a tangential note, extraneous buttons and buttonholes on lapels have been noted by puzzled observers since at least the days when Andy's grandparents were sprouts. In an article in Vogue dated April 28, 1904, the writer is describing a double-breasted suit jacket. The writer states: "The lapel rolling down to the second button, or rather the two extra buttons and the extra button hole in the lapel, is a new idea of this season and rather a pretty one, for it neutralizes the effect of the long roll a little, but is perhaps open to adverse criticism from those who contend that a coat should have nothing that does not serve some useful purpose, that is, nothing intended for the purpose of appearance only."

For a long, long time, people have been openly discussing what we talk about here. Does that mean we're normal? Or does it mean that an abnormal interest in the fine points of menswear goes back longer that people suspect?

One final thing: I guess by now we've heard Brooks Brothers' explanation of the origin of the 3-roll-2 jacket: Financially-strapped college students, unable to afford the new 2-button suits that were all the rage, pressed back the lapels of their 3-button suits to achieve a semblance of the deep "V" of the 2-button suits.

I have seen a photograph of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from when he was a student at Harvard. He's wearing a suit jacket that seems to lend credence to the BB explanation. It's a true 3-button jacket, but the lapels have obviously been forced down to meet at the middle button. The original fold lines on the lapels are conspicuous. I've seen one other photo of someone else from that era who apparently did the same thing with his lapels.

But other than those two photos, I haven't seen any evidence that substantiates BB's story. In fact, the evidence suggests that at no time in the late 19th or early 20th Century were 2-button jackets ever in demand, not even among college students. The evidence, on the contrary, is that until the early 1960s, 3-button jackets were the clear favorite among all jacket-wearers. (Two-button jackets were around, but not particularly popular until the 1960s.)

Might it be the case that overly-imaginative copywriters at BB simply made up an explanation that fits the end result, and then retroactively applied it? Instead, might it not be true that BB and J. Press, in marketing the 3-roll-2, wanted to give college kids something that looked laid back and broken-in, but those merchants could not bring themselves to dispense with the top, albeit non-functional, button, because a mere 2-button lapel back then would have been much too radical for the times-even in the eyes of the college crowd? Make the lapels roll, but anything less than three buttons-unthinkable.

(Or perhaps: The top button is necessary punctuation; it aids us in our ruse: it gives this jacket the appearance of a broken-in 3-button jacket.)

In any case, based on the newspaper and magazine articles that were written from the late 1890s to the early 1950s about menswear, it is impossible to overstate the overwhelming preference for the 3-button jacket (as far as single-breasted jackets are concerned).

Well, maybe BB's story is correct. I have no proof that it isn't. The 3-roll-2. A curious garment. It sure would be nice to find the smoking gun that would answer the question as to its origin once and for all.
 

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By the way, explicitly discussing lapel roll isn't a pastime that came into existence with the advent of online clothing forums. In an article in the March 21, 1897 edition of the New York Times, under the headline "Summer Fashion for Men," the anonymous writer stated: "In business suits, adapted for general purposes, fancy effects in sack style figure prominently in the wardrobe of the well-to-do merchant. A three-button cutaway sack coat, made up soft, so as to be rolled back at will, is a pronounced favorite, but the double-breasted sack is also in evidence."

In the 1890s, the man of means had multiple outfits for different times of day. So of course the article continues: "The man of leisure and of affluence seldom if ever fails to doff his sack [business] coat at noontime to don his walking costume, which in turn is discarded for the nonce in favor of the frock coat, this style to be succeeded in due course by evening dress."

Sounds exhausting. All in one day: the lounge suit, the walking coat, the frock coat, then evening dress. Exhausting but fun. (I could go for a walking coat.)

And on a tangential note, extraneous buttons and buttonholes on lapels have been noted by puzzled observers since at least the days when Andy's grandparents were sprouts. In an article in Vogue dated April 28, 1904, the writer is describing a double-breasted suit jacket. The writer states: "The lapel rolling down to the second button, or rather the two extra buttons and the extra button hole in the lapel, is a new idea of this season and rather a pretty one, for it neutralizes the effect of the long roll a little, but is perhaps open to adverse criticism from those who contend that a coat should have nothing that does not serve some useful purpose, that is, nothing intended for the purpose of appearance only."

For a long, long time, people have been openly discussing what we talk about here. Does that mean we're normal? Or does it mean that an abnormal interest in the fine points of menswear goes back longer that people suspect?

One final thing: I guess by now we've heard Brooks Brothers' explanation of the origin of the 3-roll-2 jacket: Financially-strapped college students, unable to afford the new 2-button suits that were all the rage, pressed back the lapels of their 3-button suits to achieve a semblance of the deep "V" of the 2-button suits.

I have seen a photograph of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from when he was a student at Harvard. He's wearing a suit jacket that seems to lend credence to the BB explanation. It's a true 3-button jacket, but the lapels have obviously been forced down to meet at the middle button. The original fold lines on the lapels are conspicuous. I've seen one other photo of someone else from that era who apparently did the same thing with his lapels.

But other than those two photos, I haven't seen any evidence that substantiates BB's story. In fact, the evidence suggests that at no time in the late 19th or early 20th Century were 2-button jackets ever in demand, not even among college students. The evidence, on the contrary, is that until the early 1960s, 3-button jackets were the clear favorite among all jacket-wearers. (Two-button jackets were around, but not particularly popular until the 1960s.)

Might it be the case that overly-imaginative copywriters at BB simply made up an explanation that fits the end result, and then retroactively applied it? Instead, might it not be true that BB and J. Press, in marketing the 3-roll-2, wanted to give college kids something that looked laid back and broken-in, but those merchants could not bring themselves to dispense with the top, albeit non-functional, button, because a mere 2-button lapel back then would have been much too radical for the times-even in the eyes of the college crowd? Make the lapels roll, but anything less than three buttons-unthinkable.

(Or perhaps: The top button is necessary punctuation; it aids us in our ruse: it gives this jacket the appearance of a broken-in 3-button jacket.)

In any case, based on the newspaper and magazine articles that were written from the late 1890s to the early 1950s about menswear, it is impossible to overstate the overwhelming preference for the 3-button jacket (as far as single-breasted jackets are concerned).

Well, maybe BB's story is correct. I have no proof that it isn't. The 3-roll-2. A curious garment. It sure would be nice to find the smoking gun that would answer the question as to its origin once and for all.
Great post, thank you.

What do you think are some other reason, then, for the FDR and the "other" photos you saw of what were clearly 3 button jackets "re-pressed" to be 3/2s?

Whether we are nuts or just niche "intense," it's nice to know that our analog equivalents go back over 100 years - overthinking / fandom / obsession are not new.
 

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Great post, thank you.

What do you think are some other reason, then, for the FDR and the "other" photos you saw of what were clearly 3 button jackets "re-pressed" to be 3/2s?
First, thank you.

Good question. I don't have an alternative explanation-not enough data. I have seen one other photo besides that of FDR. Two photos are not enough to establish the validity of BB's story. I admit they don't debunk it, either. Thus, the search for more information continues.

Whether we are nuts or just niche "intense," it's nice to know that our analog equivalents go back over 100 years - overthinking / fandom / obsession are not new.
You got that right.
 

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Here are some links to photos of a young Franklin Roosevelt-and others-with the lapels of their true 3-button jackets pressed back.

The first link leads to a photo of the Senior Board of the Harvard Crimson in the early 1900s. Note the lapel folds on the jacket worn by the fellow in the upper right-hand corner. (It takes some scrolling to get to the picture, but it's there.)

The second link takes you to a page with two pictures of FDR with the curious folds in his lapels. In the first photo, from 1895, he's only 13 years old, but in the second-from 1900-he's 18 and in-or just about to begin-college.

The third link goes to a photo of FDR with his parents-and with the same kind of folds in his lapel.

The last link-to the Huffington Post-leads (after a little scrolling) to another photo of more Harvard Crimson big shots. Note the lapel folds on the guy in the middle of the front row and the fellow 3rd from the right in the middle row.

Based on the evidence, I think Brooks Brothers accurately states that (some) college men around the turn of the 20th Century folded back the lapels of their 3-button jackets. But my gut tells me that this is the only assertion that BB gets correct.

BB would have us believe that the men messed with their lapels because their 3-button suits were "passé," having allegedly been replaced by the trendy new 2-button suits. Yet the evidence suggests that 3-button (and, to a lesser extent, 4-button) suits remained de rigueur before, during, and after BB introduced the iconic No. 1 Sack. For instance, the group photos of the Harvard Crimson Boards show a sea of 3- and 4-button jackets. Further, the popular press of the era-and for a long time thereafter-also establishes the prevalence of the 3-button jacket.

There's no evidence that 2-button suits were ever in vogue during that period.

BB would also have us believe that the Ivy League men could not afford to buy the hot new 2-button suits that were supposedly in style, and that's why they tried to use an iron to change the DNA of their 3-button jackets. The thing is, those men could have acquired new suits if they had wanted to; order a suit, put it on Daddy's tab.

So why did FDR (and some others) bully their lapels into folding back? To achieve a 2-button effect? Doubtful. A guess: they really liked the easy, nonchalant look of open lapels, no matter how hard they had to press the iron to get it. So maybe BB decided to save them the trouble by creating a built-in lapel roll (with the mandatory 3 buttons intact).

It's been established that the idea of a soft, rolling lapel was already a recognized and valued sartorial feature by the time the No. 1 Sack was introduced. What's still missing is the smoking gun that will reveal once and for all what the rationale actually was for the funny design of that garment. What would that firearm look like? Contemporaneous documents containing statements by, and records of, tailors and merchants who were present at the creation. Those documents are somewhere, and they want to talk. They are simply waiting to be found.

Anyway:

fdrfoundation.org/PAGESSUITE/blog/?p=216

https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/people/Roosevelt-franklin-delano

www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/resources/genealogy.html

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4261703
 

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Here are some links to photos of a young Franklin Roosevelt-and others-with the lapels of their true 3-button jackets pressed back.

The first link leads to a photo of the Senior Board of the Harvard Crimson in the early 1900s. Note the lapel folds on the jacket worn by the fellow in the upper right-hand corner. (It takes some scrolling to get to the picture, but it's there.)

The second link takes you to a page with two pictures of FDR with the curious folds in his lapels. In the first photo, from 1895, he's only 13 years old, but in the second-from 1900-he's 18 and in-or just about to begin-college.

The third link goes to a photo of FDR with his parents-and with the same kind of folds in his lapel.

The last link-to the Huffington Post-leads (after a little scrolling) to another photo of more Harvard Crimson big shots. Note the lapel folds on the guy in the middle of the front row and the fellow 3rd from the right in the middle row.

Based on the evidence, Brooks Brothers accurately states that (some) college men around the turn of the 20th Century folded back the lapels of their 3-button jackets. But my gut tells me that this is the only assertion that BB gets correct.

BB would have us believe that the men messed with their lapels because their 3-button suits were "passé," having allegedly been replaced by the trendy new 2-button suits. Yet the evidence suggests that 3-button (and, to a lesser extent, 4-button) suits remained de rigueur before, during, and after BB introduced the iconic No. 1 Sack. For instance, the group photos of the Harvard Crimson Boards show a sea of 3- and 4-button jackets. Further, the popular press of the era-and for a long time thereafter-also establishes the prevalence of the 3-button jacket.

There's no evidence that 2-button suits were ever in vogue during that period.

BB would also have us believe that the Ivy League men could not afford to buy the hot new 2-button suits that were supposedly in style, and that's why they tried to use an iron to change the DNA of their 3-button jackets. The thing is, those men could have acquired new suits if they had wanted to; order a suit, put it on Daddy's tab.

So why did FDR (and some others) bully their lapels into folding back? To achieve a 2-button effect? Doubtful. A guess: they really liked the easy, nonchalant look of open lapels, no matter how hard they had to press the iron to get it. So maybe BB decided to save them the trouble by creating a built-in lapel roll (with the mandatory 3 buttons intact).

It's been established that the idea of a soft, rolling lapel was already a recognized and valued sartorial feature by the time the No. 1 Sack was introduced. What's still missing is the smoking gun that will reveal once and for all what the rationale actually was for the funny design of that garment. What would that firearm look like? Contemporaneous documents containing statements by, and records of, tailors and merchants who were present at the creation. Those documents are somewhere, and they want to talk. They are simply waiting to be found.

Anyway:

fdrfoundation.org/PAGESSUITE/blog/?p=216

https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/people/Roosevelt-franklin-delano

www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/resources/genealogy.html

https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4261703
Awesome post.

This,

So why did FDR (and some others) bully their lapels into folding back? To achieve a 2-button effect? Doubtful. A guess: they really liked the easy, nonchalant look of open lapels, no matter how hard they had to press the iron to get it. So maybe BB decided to save them the trouble by creating a built-in lapel roll (with the mandatory 3 buttons intact).
IMHO, is probably the answer / close to the answer as there are many examples of young men doing something whimsical to look cool that eventually becomes de rigueur and picked up by the clothing manufacturers themselves. Scuffed white bucks come to mind - no manufacturer, on their own, said "let's make our shoes look worn out when new" if there wasn't already an exiting market demand for that look.

Even today, and even though few of us love it, the shortened tails of dress shirts that many companies now advertise as a "feature" are a result of young men today wearing dress shirts untucked for a "cool" easy look. Hence, real world whimsey preceded manufacturer response.
 

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FF: Thank you. For the record, several years ago Jerrod Swanton (who writes the Oxford Cloth Buttondown blog) suggested the same hypothesis as to the origin of the 3/2 roll (i.e., perhaps it was BB’s carefully designed version of the broken-in 3-button suit jackets that the Ivy League fellows had been trying to create on their own).

Other people (in this forum and elsewhere) have tentatively voiced the same explanation.

I haven’t really broken any new ground. Mainly my contribution to the discussion has been to offer up additional historical evidence and perhaps to strengthen the argument that BB’s explanation of the 3-roll-2’s origin is likely more flapdoodle than rigorous scholarship.

But that smoking gun is out there. One day it will be found.
 

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Warning: This post is going to go rather deep into history and into the weeds regarding the 3-roll-2. Skip this if you're not that into the topic.

On June 29, 2010, in a long (and notorious) Ask Andy thread in which members speculated as to the origin of, and exact rationale behind, the curious 3-roll-2 button/lapel configuration, CuffDaddy stated as follows:

"I can't prove it, but it is my strong suspicion that it was invented to mimic, from day one, the softened roll of an old 3-button jacket that had been buttoned [only] at the middle button...for many years."

That was probably the best-and most succinct-answer in a thread that was long on inferences (albeit astute) but short on evidence.

Unfortunately, what I refer to as "the smoking gun" still, to the best of my knowledge, has not yet been found, or at least not yet been displayed in any clothing forum. ("The smoking gun" would be, essentially, a photograph of the Big Bang: a collection of contemporaneous documents that date to when either Brooks Brothers or Jacobi Press introduced their respective version of the 3-roll-2 suit and that reveal the inventors' explicit reasons for the design.) What we have had thus far on the Internet, as far as I can tell, is but insightful speculation by latter-day clothing afficionados.

Until someone finds the smoking gun, is there any evidence that gets us at least a little closer to the answer? Something that, if not a picture of the Big Bang, was created shortly thereafter, and that directly addresses the reason for the 3-roll-2 instead of merely presenting it as a given?

There is. It's minor. I admit that. It's just a baby step toward solving the mystery. But it's better than nothing.

In an advertisement in the October 6, 1922 edition of the
Daily Princetonian, there is an advertisement from the Rogers Peet Company, a famous clothier of the day. The ad is for the company's "young men's suits for Fall" and states:

"[W]ell you won't be disappointed. It's our finest showing. Ever! Scottish, English, and American fabrics, tailored especially for young men. A variety of models-three button, also the four or high button. Some of them free and easy with soft rolling fronts; others a bit trimmer. Not expensive."

Rogers Peet ran an ad in the same newspaper on October 22, 1926. The copy reads in part: "Our variety of young men's styles makes it unnecessary to hunt around here for just what's wanted: plenty two and three button sack coats; double-breasted ones, too; tweeds, serges, cheviots, homespuns, worsteds; light, dark or medium colors; wider shoulders, soft-roll lapels; styles that are smart, but never smart-Alecky."

The October 5, 1937 edition of the Daily Princetonian has an ad from a clothier named Roger Kent. It reads:

"THE THREE BUTTON SPORT SUIT
IN IMPORTED FABRICS

"Westward Ho is our classic model especially favored by men who lean to easy, straight-hanging, natural lines. Softly constructed, with long rolling lapels, and center vents, it is presented in fine Cheviots and Shetlands of British and Scottish origin...."

The above advertisements indicate that clothing merchants, rather than mindlessly following fashion, were deliberately aiming for the soft lapel roll that a specific demographic-men in college-wanted.

Many suit and sport coat ads of the period show drawings of a 3-roll-2 suit or sport coat, with copy that says something like: "The correct look. Three-button. Natural shoulders. Center vent. Straight hanging." But they don't explicitly point out the unusual lapel roll. It's just there. But why is it there?

The ads I've quoted in this post are unusual because they put in your face the fact that "Yes, College Man: We know you want the nonchalant look, and we're giving it to you! Check out that soft lapel roll!"

The top non-functional button and buttonhole of a 3-roll-2 were visual evidence that the jacket lapels were indeed easy-rolling. (Some jackets had two buttons, but by the 1930s, newspaper articles and ads make it clear that three-button jackets were the "correct" ones: 3-roll-2 on campus, and true 3-button off campus.) Thus, functional or not, that top button-the first of three-had to be there.

And one more minor thing which is still somewhat noteworthy:

In the Daily Princetonian for May 20, 1923, there's an ad from the University Model Clothing Shop. It announces that "Bluish Grey Cheviot Three Button Sack Suits" have just arrived and that they "are well tailored specially designed for College trade."

An analysis of photos of businessmen and political figures wearing suits in the 1920s and 1930s reveals that, with respect to the single-breasted style, true 3-button suit jackets were still the norm (with quite a few 2-button jackets as well-after all, there were loads of merchants selling loads of different suit styles in various geographical regions). The "easy-fitting" 3-roll-2 was something created expressly for those rebellious, laid-back Ivy League students-"the College trade"-until later generations graduated and started carrying The Look to the office.

Of course, once the 3-roll-2 (suit and, later, odd jacket) was released into the wilds of the college campus, the style did migrate to the outskirts of civilization. It wasn't strictly, absolutely confined to the campus.

It seems more and more like Cuffdaddy-and others who proposed a similar answer-were on the right track. Still, the search for more evidence continues. I want to see a photograph of the Big Bang.
 
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