'The Crown': What the Hell is Going on With Prince Charles' Buttons? An Investigation

·2-min read
Photo credit: The Crown
Photo credit: The Crown

Of all the paragons of menswear we hold on high, Prince Charles is probably the one that sticks to the “rules” the most. We prattle on about Steve McQueen’s scruffy elegance, David Hockney’s mastery of colour, Franck Ocean’s penchant for outdoors-wear etc. etc. etc., but none of them come close to Charles when it comes to the doctrine of classic menswear. He is the reference point for perfectly-cut tailoring, vintage sportswear (of the supremely English kind) and fine, bench-made shoes. His rank (rank?) in the Royal fam even pertains to Savile Row’s most recognisable export, the Prince-of-Wales check. His trousers always “break” (fold) at the correct point above the shoe; his ties are always knotted to the perfect breadth, and his cuffs always peak from his suit sleeves with decorous accuracy. Therefore, it’s mad to see that he bricks it when it comes to his buttons.

Photo credit: Samir Hussein
Photo credit: Samir Hussein

This terrifying development came in the wake of yesterday’s release of pictures from the set of the new series of The Crown. In the images, we see Dominic West – the next in line to play Charles after Josh O’Connor – standing on some stately terrace leering worriedly to one side, one hand in pocket, the other dangling free. So far, so Charles. The suit he is wearing looks to be some kind of brownish-grey wool, with a pale blue shirt, club tie and yellow pocket square. Again, it is bang-on. Even down to the roped-shoulder on the jacket.

But then we see the buttons… it’s a double-breasted, six-button jacket (which makes sense as Charles is big DB guy), and ol’ Dom’s gone and buttoned them all up! Whaaaa??? Surely, he and the costumiers on The Crown know that the bottom button of a jacket shouldn’t ever be done up? Surely?? We saw it and scoffed, “Charles would NEVER do that button up, he’s all about the RULES!” But we must now eat humble sartorial pie. Because after a little research, it’s clear that Charles is a bottom-button guy. He’s been doing it for years. We’re shook; we’re triggered.

Photo credit: Tim Graham
Photo credit: Tim Graham

He doesn't do it with single-breasted jackets, leaving the bottom-button undone and letting the jacket hang better, but he does do it with anything double-breasted. He even does it with his coats! Charles, that must be mega tight on your bum, mate?

He is the yardstick of menswear - a yardstick stuck in the mud, perhaps, but a yardstick nonetheless - So what are we supposed to do now? And what does it mean for the rest of the truths we hold absolute? Was Steve McQueen really stylish or just handsome and good with a motorbike? We need a minute, we’ll get back to you.

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