Thursday, July 1, 2010

The “Three-Two Roll”

I found this faded but interesting picture last week when rummaging through the archives back home. Here I am flanking my dad, at about four years old, sporting a three-two roll. I’ve had a few non-sartorial readers ask me to explain the 3-2 assignation and this little picture motivates me to comment.
I’ve never really cared for the uber trad three button sack coat contrivance. I’m still fairly slender so I like a bit more drape and shape to my coats. Three buttons-not rolled to the second button looks and feels too boxy for me. Notice my dad’s suit in the photo…ultra standard three button-no roll to the second. Notice also the cig in his hand. I think he’d have smoked in his sleep if he coulda hired someone to hold it for him…peri-rem-snooze.  So really, the amusing thing to me about this old photo is the evidence that obviously, I started my preference for the 3-2 roll early on. Also, I have a habit of thrusting my hands in my jacket pockets and to accommodate this habit, I often have sportcoat made with open patch pockets. Looks like as a four year old I’d already engaged in said tendency.
I found a couple of shots in the ADG archives that illustrate the hybrid contrivance known as the 3-2 roll. Darted and shaped, but with the Trad trailer…the third button. Even though my linen blazer shown above rolls to the second botton, I'll often times secure the top two...linen behaves in ways conducive to "messing-fiddling" with the roll. Shut up.
Classic Ralph 3-2
3-2 Cavalry Twill Poacher Pockets. Damn.
Onward, from Boston….the Copley Plaza actually—really nice—rolling a 3-2.



Anonymous said...

I'm in Boston myself (from California) this week and heading to Bobby's today based on your prior posting. Thanks for the recommendation and the great blog! - Regards, GR

Suburban Princess said...

But...what IS a 3-2 roll?
Blazers aren't a part of my repetoire so it's not something I have ever had to think about.

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Thank you, ADG, for the explanation and illustrations.

I was not aware of the importance of the 3/2 roll prior to hopping on the Interwebs a few years ago for the first time. I suppose I've been surrounded by this configuration my whole life; just never noticed it.

Love that linen blazer...!! Just the thing, I think, for summer cocktail receptions and romantic dinners in Southern California.

SouthernProletariat said...

Forgive me for being dense...I understand that the 3/2 refers to the blazer, but the "roll"?

longwing said...

I'm also more of a 3/2 fan than an undarted fan. I like the higher button placement on the 3/2 better than that on most 2 button jackets. One of the few advantages of wearing XLong jackets is that the undarteds don't look to boxy which is nice because I can't swing the top designer dollar required to get a 3/2 on a darted jacket.

James said...

Man you was a styling little dude. I can see where LFG gets her panache.

Chuck Hatt said...

OK. Think I got it. 3 buttons but the lapel is rolled to the 2nd button, hence 3-2 roll. Is that it? I have been seeing that phrase on the internets for some time now and didn't quite know what it was. Like Laguna Beach I've been around it my whole life but didn't know how to name it.

Found a Criketeer poacher pocket jacket with the button tab on the lapel like your twill one only Harris Tweed in the thrift store this year and had it cut to my 40 S frame. It has a bellows like back too with a belt type thing in the back. And a 3/2 roll.

Chuck Hatt said...


I began reading your blog for the sartorial angle but it's so much more.

The political events of the last decade or so have made me a little bitter about the south, even though I was born in Chattanooga Tennessee when my parents were finishing up at Tennessee Temple Bible College. (Another story which does need to be told.) The religiosity, conservative politics, and tea party sensibility disgusts me, not to mention the homophobia and racism. I know these things exist everywhere but they seem to be so ubiquitous in the red states.

But then there's pecan pie, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, bourbon, Muddy Waters, William Faulkner, Lucinda Williams, bar-b-que, Hank Williams, and on and on including my dear wife who, after 20 years in the north still calls that thing she lays her head on a "pella".

Thanks for reminding me again about the gracious humor, family affections (and affectation) elegance and grace that are also part of our southern heritage.

Chuck Hatt

ADG said...

ChuckHattmon...indeed. In all of my exasperation with the South comes all you mention and more regarding why I'm glad to be Southern as well as glad that I now only visit.Your Cricketeer sounds cool.

James...thanks but as I've said before, you've lost all objectivity.

Longwing...yep, you are spot on regarding your frame and height and ergo ability to wear that model and look fetching in it. I like some of the J.Press off the peg things I try on but I look like Herve Villaichez in them.

SouthernProle...coat lapels aren't ironed down/over to the point if a crease. They are rolled and shaped during construction via steam, stitches, and .... magic.

suburban...3/2 = three front buttons on the jacket but with the lapel rolled down to the middle or 2nd button.

Anonymous...let us know what you got at Bobby's

SouthernProletariat said...

Thank you very much. I guess I have always observed that in my periphery, but never actually put a name to the look. Duly educated.

The Duck said...


May I take some photos later this evening and elaborate a little?

Hope all is well, my best to LFG


TWJ said...

ADG, my oldest daughter asked if you were my lost brother from another mother? (She has been going through old pictures again of mom and dad as kids. Tonight for some reason she keeps looking over my sholder).

Same crew cut, same white shirt, same Black Watch odd jacket, but I had on a skinny knit tie. Oh, my dad was told by my mom, "no cigs in the pictures". Too funny.

Capt. Mike said...

You expect us to believe you're only four in that picture? What the hell does a four year old have to be so freakin smug about?! That is CEO grade condescension there pal - I have to suspect you (a) were in a test run for those "You never really own a Patek Phillip" ads, (b) have some sort of Benjamin Button thing going on, or (c) are some kind of GTH prodigy. I suspect the latter.

to "The Duck": there is a fantastic old insane and hilarious resident of a pub in Dublin who calls himself the Duck ("quack quack" he says, when asked why he is called that, and then laughs until he almost cries)...regulars spend evenings hiding his toy tractor around the bar and convincing him it's magic. Wish I could remember which pub, as he would no doubt laugh for days if you told him you shared the name. Might of been Aston Quay... anyhow, fond memories.

Anonymous said...

I bought my first 3/2 sport coat (seersucker) from J Press at the beginning of the summer. I'm undecided regarding the sack look on my tall and slender frame. Thanks again for the advice on watering holes in Old Town. I was out solo last night at the Reston Town Center. Needed gin therapy after receiving news that an elderly acquaintance took his life due to acute illness and accompanying pain. Clyde's sucks. Is it a sports bar or nightclub?


ADG said...

Hilton...Clyde's is ok sometimes. The one is Reston does seem to be a bit rowdier in that bar area.

Capt. Mike...I was a notorious "effer" when it came to messing with my older sister. I was probably on the cusp of springing something on her right after that picture was snapped.

TWJ...funny. Back then, there were cigs in every picture.

Duck...have at it! And where is my okra?

Southern're welcome.

Barima said...

I'm mildly resistant to 3 button jackets, but make an enthusiastic exception for the visual stimuli that is the 3 roll

You cut an ominous figure for a four year old. Portentous in regards to your style, yes, but eerie with it


Easy and Elegant Life said...

Gimme a 3-2, darted and shaped. I'm with you. Great pics.

Mrs. E. and I are headed for Boston at the end of the month. Any suggestions on sites, hotels, etc.?

The Duck said...

First batch was tainted. I'll leave it at that, but I am sending some new and improved to you. I will try and get that in the mail first thing next week. Got some other little gems that will be riding shotgun.

Happy Fourth to you and LFG

ilovelimegreen said...

Thank you, ADG, for the explanation of the 3-2 roll as it had puzzled me too for sometime.

While the cavalry jacket is dapper, I must say the navy linen jacket is swoon-inducing...but linen has always had that effect on me so I'm not surprised. And the fuschia pocket square is swell!

Summer is a Verb said...

Spitting image of LFG! Hope you guys had a happy 4th. I marked the ocassion with a Polo purchase :)

Young Fogey said...

I was never really aware of the 3/2 roll until I got hooked on the men's style blogs, but I think part of why I was unaware is that here on the West Coast, they have never been that popular--well, at least not for the past 30 years or so (and possibly much longer).

None of my 60s vintage jackets had them; nothing I ever bought new in the 80s or 90s had them (nor did I ever see the option); and they are rare in the thrifts even now. However, lately, three button jackets that button to the top have been popular, and so have made their appearance in the malls and, sadly, in my wardrobe. But I've steamed them to a 3/2.5 roll!

ADG said...

Young Fogey...3/2.5 ....please! You are just showing-ass-off. But I'm gonna try it my damn self...with steam...but not tonight...maybe over the weekend. Tonight is my Ped-Egg night.

AllieVonBeachTowellllll,III ...we had a smarmy, steamy miserable weekend. The mainliest reason is that we don't live at the beach.

LimeGreenGal...Vank you. As always.

Duck....keep that baby cool.

Eleganto-ist...lets make on of your MTM jackets and see what happens.

Barima...damn...Portentious and Erie. I love it.

Young Fogey said...

Nah, I'm just trying to save a questionable purchase from being a donation and a tax write-off. Besides, the 3/2.5 roll looks less bad than a three-button jacket buttoned to the top.