Ask the MB: Is Paul Fussell Wrong on 2-Button vs. 3-Button Suits?
Q: Page 60 of Paul Fussell's book Class, last paragraph 3rd line down states "the two-button suit is more prole than the three-button Eastern-establishment model."
Just wondering if I shouldn't listen to this part of the Bible due to your stance on the three-button suits, at least for the average size man. And keep wearing the two-button.
P.S. Rest in Peace Fussell. He was a God among not just men, but gentlemen.
A: Last week, researchers in Tel Aviv determined that camels didn't exist in Israel until centuries after Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph lived — yet the Bible mentions camels more than 20 times.
The Bible Bible, that is. Not Class. But sometimes Fussell can be fallible too. Two-button suits elongate the torso, and elongated torsos have long been the grail of the American overclass. Which is why yoga studios per capita tracks so precisely with income per capita in the U.S. (We are totally making this up but are certain it is true.)
An elongated torso helps accentuate the natural V of a man's body, and as Tom Ford has suggested in the past, emphasizing that natural V is the key to a magnificent presence.
To see this principle in action, consider the classic portrait of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon above. JFK looks vital and commanding, the King of Camelot. Nixon looks stout, shifty, Nixonian.
So while our admiration for Fussell remains as strong as ever, our thoughts on two-button versus three-button are as fixed as the word of God on a stone tablet. Leave the three-buttons to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Todd Palin, and Tricky Dick.