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Gentlemen- I need your comments on the following situation:

A salesman at a high-end men's clothing store mentioned to me that when worn with a vest, a tuxedo/dinner jacket should not be buttoned.

The same salesman also says that the correct vest to wear with a tux, should one chooses to do so, is the high cut (not sure what the term is), six or seven buttoned ones. The low-slung vest, such as the ones Marlon Brando wore in The Godfather or Marty Scorsese wears to some black tie events, are just bastardization of white tie vest, and not proper.

Is the salesman correct, or is he just trying to sell vests in his inventory? The only vests available for sale were the six or seven button versions.

I'd greatly appreciate comments from the resident experts.
 

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Gentlemen- I need your comments on the following situation:

A salesman at a high-end men's clothing store mentioned to me that when worn with a vest, a tuxedo/dinner jacket should not be buttoned.

The same salesman also says that the correct vest to wear with a tux, should one chooses to do so, is the high cut (not sure what the term is), six or seven buttoned ones. The low-slung vest, such as the ones Marlon Brando wore in The Godfather or Marty Scorsese wears to some black tie events, are just bastardization of white tie vest, and not proper.

Is the salesman correct, or is he just trying to sell vests in his inventory? The only vests available for sale were the six or seven button versions.

I'd greatly appreciate comments from the resident experts.
The salesman is being a salesman. A low closing 3 button vest is the correct classic cut. The high close, 6-7 button aberations being pushed these days, I just cannot fathom where they are coming from. Loud colors and a matching pre-tie bow tie seem to be all the rage in the rental trade.
 

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The salesman is being a salesman. A low closing 3 button vest is the correct classic cut. The high close, 6-7 button aberations being pushed these days, I just cannot fathom where they are coming from. Loud colors and a matching pre-tie bow tie seem to be all the rage in the rental trade.
Exactly right. But the salesman was correct that the coat should be left unbuttoned.
 

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This 6-7 button business is clearly some bizarre modern aberation. I have never heard only anything of the sort and nor can I find a single older depiction of such a thing. In fact, all I end up finding are more and more three button models. This one dates from 1899:

https://imageshack.us

On the other hand your salesman is correct in saying that a coat may be left unbuttoned if worn with a W-C. However, it is perfectly correct to also button it up as shown in this 1925 example:

https://imageshack.us

If ever there was a reason for prefering to leave the coat unbuttoned was that classically, a dress three button W-C became difficult to see when the coat was buttoned up!
 

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On the other hand your salesman is correct in saying that a coat may be left unbuttoned if worn with a W-C. However, it is perfectly correct to also button it up as shown in this 1925 example:

https://imageshack.us

If ever there was a reason for prefering to leave the coat unbuttoned was that classically, a dress three button W-C became difficult to see when the coat was buttoned up!
Given the improper position of the tie relative to the collar, nothing in this illustration can be considered. Fruit of the poison tree, so to speak. :pic12337:
 

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The low buttoning dress vest with 3 buttons is historically accurate. However, higher buttoning waistcoats with six plus buttons have been worn with black tie since at least the 1960's. They are not currently fashionable.

You can leave the jacket undone but feel free to button up.

W_B
 

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A low closing 3 button vest is the correct classic cut. The high close, 6-7 button aberations being pushed these days, I just cannot fathom where they are coming from.
Not holding myself out to be an expert on the issue of vests, but the Royal Canadian Navy's dress regulations from some time in the 1960s (though probably having their origin early in the 20th century) include both, calling the high one a morning waistcoat and the short one an evening waistcoat. (Only the latter was to be worn with the equivalent of evening dress, and so it remains to this day.)
 

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Two questions with regard to low cut waistcoats. When I purchased my MTM DJ from Zegna a little over a year ago, I ordered a low cut three button waistcoat without lapels. First, is it "proper" to have a three button waistcoat without lapels? And second, it seems that the buttons are spaced further apart on my waistcoat than on these examples, although not by much (the top-bottom difference on mine is 6.5" and these examples look closer to maybe 3" or 4"), but still to the point where the very top of the waistcoat is slightly visible behind the button of the DJ when buttoned. Should the waistcoat be entirely unseen behind the DJ when buttoned?
 

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Little frog: Toad?

Given the improper position of the tie relative to the collar, nothing in this illustration can be considered. Fruit of the poison tree, so to speak. :pic12337:
This is not the best argument in favor of buttoning the coat over a vest considering that this coat appears to be closed with something like a double-sided cuff-link. It would look even more peculiar open.
 

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It is a link. Some dinner jacket styles were made with a front closure similar to the french cuff. Good observation! This style is always worn 'latched'. The chain or link is typically long enough to allow for movement from the waist when seated.

The 6- or 7-button vests with are a contemporary method of wearing. It is not to my liking; but, I wouldn't call it an aberration. Personal style is such a subjective thing, one can only recommend options to the wearer.
 

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Fashion, the retailer's friend

Not holding myself out to be an expert on the issue of vests, but the Royal Canadian Navy's dress regulations from some time in the 1960s (though probably having their origin early in the 20th century) include both, calling the high one a morning waistcoat and the short one an evening waistcoat. (Only the latter was to be worn with the equivalent of evening dress, and so it remains to this day.)
There may be something of value here. The vests worn with morning suits typically have the higher closure while evening clothes have the lower closure. I don't know that you'd want to elevate the observation to the formality of a "rule," but it's an interesting insight.

Considering that the tuxedo (as opposed to tails) is associated with social and celebratory occasions, to my eye, the high-buttoning vest worn with a tuxedo looks out of character, up-tight, like a cassock. Further, for warm-weather wear, a full vest must be uncomfortably close. (Are there backless high-buttoning vests?)

The only advantage I can imagine is the high-buttoning vest provides the retailer another opportunity to sell something to the man who already has all the evening clothes he needs.
 

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Two questions with regard to low cut waistcoats. When I purchased my MTM DJ from Zegna a little over a year ago, I ordered a low cut three button waistcoat without lapels. First, is it "proper" to have a three button waistcoat without lapels? And second, it seems that the buttons are spaced further apart on my waistcoat than on these examples, although not by much (the top-bottom difference on mine is 6.5" and these examples look closer to maybe 3" or 4"), but still to the point where the very top of the waistcoat is slightly visible behind the button of the DJ when buttoned. Should the waistcoat be entirely unseen behind the DJ when buttoned?
With a dinner jacket, a low-cut waistcoat without lapels is usual but one with lapels is not incorrect. The waistcoat should peek above the buttoned jacket.
 

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A white bow with a dress lounge...the cad.
Actually, I am unsure when the whole protocol of strictly separating white and black tie began.

Here is an interesting passage from an 1888 etiquette book:

..a black tail-coat, waistcoat and trousers, and white tie, although presenting a sombre appearance, are proper wear, and, unless where eccentricity is apparent, prevail at the dinner table and at evening parites. Two items in this costume which admit of discretion among "men who dress" viz. the vest and tie, both of which may be either white or black, without any infraction of the laws of "bienseance". This however must be settled by the taste of the wearer, who should remember that black having the effect of diminishing a man's size, and white that of increasing it, it would, therefore, be judicious for a person of unusual size to tone down his extra bulk by favouring black in both of these articles...we, however must confess a decided partiality to a white necktie, at least; because although subject to the disadvantage of being "de rigeur" amongst waiters, it is nevertheless always considered unexceptional at any season or hour, in any rank, profession, or capacity...​
 

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Not holding myself out to be an expert on the issue of vests, but the Royal Canadian Navy's dress regulations from some time in the 1960s (though probably having their origin early in the 20th century) include both, calling the high one a morning waistcoat and the short one an evening waistcoat. (Only the latter was to be worn with the equivalent of evening dress, and so it remains to this day.)
Were talking evening here. Morning coat or stroller would take the higher buttoning vest in civilian life as well.
 

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I just cannot fathom where they are coming from. Loud colors and a matching pre-tie bow tie seem to be all the rage in the rental trade.
How to put this most gently... Amjacks selling (or renting, in this case) to other Amjacks. Or, another way, perhaps... the farther down the evolutionary scale, the brighter the colors of choice. (obligatory smiley face) :)
 

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Given the improper position of the tie relative to the collar, nothing in this illustration can be considered. Fruit of the poison tree, so to speak. :pic12337:
I think it's improper only from a modernist perspective. I have seen far too many illustrations from the '20s showing the tie behind the collar points for it to have been inappropriate.
 

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Is the salesman correct, or is he just trying to sell vests in his inventory? The only vests available for sale were the six or seven button versions.
As others have pointed out, the salesman was only concerned with making a sale. I had a salesman at a high-end clothing store inform me that peaked-lapel dinner jackets were only available in double-breasted models. What a coincidence that all the store carried were shawl collar and notched-lapel DJs.

Black tie's low buttoning waistcoat is not a "bastardization" of the white tie waistcoat. Instead, both are examples of evening waistcoats. Here's one from all the way back in 1902:
 

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As late as 1938, some of the older members of my family could still be seen wearing black waistcoats with white tie. These are people who routinely wore day and evening formal wear.
 

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I was pleased to see some three-button semi-formal waistcoats in Brooks Brothers the other day. I concur with all those who have said that a three-button, lower-closing waistcoat is not only appropriate with a dinner jacket, but far preferable to the high-buttoning sort that seems to have entirely supplanted the cumberbund (which is itself, I admit, not my favorite article of clothing. I always opt for a waistcoat (backless, for comfort).
 
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