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Hey, dude, you missed a button—or three—there.
Maybe you’re simply trying to stay cool this summer, which we fully support, or you just read the New York Post’s recent story declaring “Male cleavage is a thing now,” thanks to male models and former One Direction members showing off what’s underneath their shirts for the world to see. Even Vogue told us “Man Cleavage Is Back—And It’s a Blessing.”
No. No, it’s not.
“It’s always been around in some fashion,” says fashion stylist Seth Howard, adding that one of the most recent examples is guys were wearing deep-cut American Apparel V-necks.
Unless you’re a rock star or a male model or heading back to the bar after a day on the beach, probably no guy you know—not your boss, not your buddy—is regularly rocking or going to rock this laid-back shirting style. We have to admit it looks cool, but it’s not something that makes sense beyond the beach-side bar or if you’re on the top of a mountain and you’re taking pictures with your girlfriend and it’s really windy and you want to make her laugh so you unbutton your shirt.
Think about it: You’re at work in some selvedge and a nice white button-down, and you decide to show a little of your chest while giving a presentation. All anyone’s going to hear? Well, not much, my friend.
When you’re working or going out on the weekends, we asked Howard how many buttons are appropriate to unbutton at the office or in a casual situation. And it turns out that it’s probably about what you already do. “Personally, I think it really depends on the environment that you work in,” Howard says. “For corporate days, assuming ties aren’t required, I generally limit it to the top button only. For more casual days, two may be safe. The best practice at work is to observe the common dress of everyone else in the office. It’s fine to look stylish, but I wouldn’t suggest pushing the risqué-quotient too far.”
So if you really want to get some air, by all means go ahead and skip a few buttons. If you must leave your shirt open, Howard explains that you should do so with confidence. But here’s something you should remember when you’re debating that one last button: “Take notice of those around you,” Howard says. “If you’re the only person showing navel, maybe it’s best to rethink it.”
Originally published on menshealth.com