buttons underwear etsy

These little fellas help us get our act together all day, until we undo them in the dark.  While we dream, they wait, wide eyed, for the start of a new day.  For most of us, it’s a kind of unacknowledged mutual dependence,  like those birds that live on the backs of rhinos.  We know they’re there, but we act as if we don’t.

Of course, some people are different, and some of those people are not at all indifferent to their buttons.

pearly kids

These are the pint sized offspring of London’s Pearly Kings and Queens, who gussy up their plain clothes with as many pearl buttons as they can.  The results are fabulous, fun, and a little tragic, like much of life for those on the lower rungs of London living. More recent pics in this article.

Truth be known, while we often admire displays of a great big bunch of stuff, we are generally more partial to those who celebrate the individual unique thing, be it a bungalow, a backless dress, or a button.

buttons pret a porter

Aaaww, look at that, cute as what it is.

button pattern

And this one, well now we are way beyond cute into the country of art and design. This has an idea, and this was executed with skill and craft.  It’s from the collection of the National Button Society!  Along with more, below:

buttons pattern screen

Black Glass 1

This black glass button is as stormy as a Canadian winter sky or a late-night argument that just won’t end.

buttons pennsylvania

The above nifty trio, each a fine bright thing, live in the Pennsylvania House Museum, which is not in Pennsylvania, apparently.

buttons birmingham

But buttons aren’t just a North American pleasure.  Look at the above fistful from Birmingham, the one in England.

buttons art deco Boutonsartdeco1B   button art deco boutonsartdeco2B

These gems up there, from here, tell us that button making and button wearing was once something special.  Today, we think we are the most interesting people who ever walked the face of the earth, but how many of us pay any attention to our buttons?  Maybe that will change.  There is lots of encouragement…

buttons bouttons_poster

This great little book is a catalogue for an exhibition/celebration of buttons in Paris at the Mona Bismark gallery      Many were from the collection of Loic Allio, who has his own book (hard to find and pricey).  First seen here.

Boutons-Loïc-Allio-fish-hook-0121

boutons

Some have been woven from cloth, many more punched from mother of pearl shell

buttons historic

buttons m of pearl

A few made it to the vest of the little emperor himself and left their mark.

buttons napoleon

Chanel Buttons_thumb

Coco Chanel knew her buttons and put her mark right there, out front, in classic fashion below seen here

buttons 50s vogue lover

button zegna shirt

Of course, it’s really a question of style and personal taste, whether you go plain above or bravura below.

buttons big rhinestone

The thing is you have a choice, it’s up to you.  Don’t leave it to chance.

button historic single

This is one of the oldest buttons ever found.  Simple, yes, but made with care, not like any other.  See its story here.

If you want a bit more history to go with the eye candy, Slate has this.  And if you want to shake up your daily life just a little, go to your closet and check your buttons.  Are they YOU?  Well, you  can change that.