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The Bottom Button Rule: A Crucial Style Fundamental from Colin Powell’s Perfect Selfie

The former Secretary of Statedid a lot of things right when he took this now-famous selfie 60 years ago (at the tender age of 16). Just to name a few: He kept his shirt on, he held the camera close to his chest, and he made it feel authentic (shout out to Powell's decision not make his bed beforehand). But one style choice in particular stands out to us

The very first thing we noticed when we clicked through to this portrait of a general as a young man: the unbuttoned bottom button of his waistcoat. Granted, at Birchbox Man we tend to latch on to these sorts of small-scale style wins, but even for the less sartorially inclined, it's impossible to ignore the elegance and effortlessness of his undone bottom button. It's a rule that men fail to follow all to often.

As Glenn O'Brien notes in GQ: "The custom of leaving the bottom button undone was adopted at the beginning of the twentieth century by imitators of the portly King Edward VII, whose tailors apparently could not keep up with his appetite." There are plenty of other theories about the origin of this style fundamental, but regardless of where it came from, the visual results are unimpeachable. Men should mind the bottom button rule even if you don't wear vests--it typically applies to cardigans and jean jackets too. Take note, mind a few other basic selfie rules, and odds are your Throwback Thursday posts will be as epic as Powell's 60 years from today.

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