Fashion Tech News symbol

Surprising Facts You May Not Know About Butler Clothing

Copied to Clipboard
Manga and anime have boosted the popularity of the term 'butler' since 2010. In the 90s to early 2000s, the image of a butler was somewhat elderly, but recently, characters like Sebastian from the manga "Black Butler" (黒執事) have given butlers a stylish image. However, few people have actual interactions with butlers. Do they really dress as they do in manga? Are there detailed rules for their attire? Bell from the All Japan Butler Association (全日本執事協会) answered my endless curiosity with great care.

All Japan Butler Association (全日本執事協会) Third-generation Head
Rank: House Steward + Head
Favorite Tea: F&M's Royal Blend

Flexible Depending on TPO... What is the Basic Style of Butler Outfits?

Bell from the All Japan Butler Association, who graciously agreed to the interview, is the third president of the association. Interestingly, the history of butlers in Japan is quite long.
The association was founded in 1890 by Shingo Tanaka, who aimed to combine Western butler techniques with the traditional Japanese spirit of hospitality, establishing the foundation of Japanese butler culture.
Bell's grandfather also spent his life as a butler, inspiring Bell to take up the profession due to his grandfather's dignified appearance.
During the interview, Bell wore a dignified morning coat.
When thinking of butler outfits, a black tailcoat often comes to mind more than a suit. However, considering the streets of Japan, a tailcoat might seem conspicuous. What is the mainstream style for modern butlers?
'In terms of formal wear, morning dress is the foremost formal attire.
You can freely choose the color of the tie and vest according to the butler's preference. Generally, butlers wear morning dress, and in some situations, they wear tailcoats.
However, both morning dress and tailcoats can stand out depending on the location. Therefore, when chauffeuring the employer's children, for instance, we are sometimes requested to wear something less conspicuous like a suit.'
For their first butler outfit, it is a tradition of the All Japan Butler Association to obtain it from a tailor passed down through generations. However, for the second and third outfits, they are free to order from places like British House in Ginza. Bell also has his own particular preferences for his butler outfits.
"While many think of black for butlers, quite a few butlers overseas wear gray vests. In Japan, there are also butlers who wear gray vests, but I prefer to coordinate more with black.
"The reason for this is rooted in the association's history, which teaches that 'butlers should remain inconspicuous like stagehands,' so I tend to choose more black in my attire."
Due to the influence of manga and anime, there's a strong image that butler outfits must be black, but there are no strict rules about colors. In Kansai, for instance, bow ties are more common than neckties.
"Not only in terms of clothing but also, at one time, there were two separate butler associations for Kanto and Kansai.
"Back then, the Kansai Butler Association had a rule for wearing bow ties and white vests, a tradition that continues for some butlers. Thus, many butlers in Kansai wear white bow ties and white vests. The jacket is usually black, but the vest color is quite free."
1 / 3 pages
Share Article
Copied to Clipboard