The journey of buttons seems to be as old as that of clothing in human civilization. Buttons have been found through excavations in China and Ancient Rome, and date as far back as the Bronze Age. History of clothing buttons in the first millennium has been significant, productive and quite a stride of technology for the time. While they appear to have been forgotten at times, they were given prime importance during other moments across a multitude of cultures.
In earliest times, buttons were mainly used for decoration on the clothing of noble and wealthy men. It was during the 18th and 19th centuries that buttons attained cult status. It was after WWI that their functional value was recognized, and they were primarily used for fastening shirts and jackets. Todays largest concentration of clothing buttons is used mostly on dress shirts, casual button down shirts, shirt dresses, jackets, pants and more. Below we will take a look at common types of shirt button materials and how they are usually represented with the purpose of enhancing our garments appearance.
Shirt buttons made of plastics
These shirt buttons, made from different polymers, can imitate all types of button materials and vary in quality. Many of today’s most common polymer shirt buttons are made out of acrylic resin, polyester or nylon. Polyester and acrylic resin are generally great materials for its color vibrancy, and cost efficiency, but have a tendency to chip and deteriorate over time. These are generally the buttons that succumb to damage by repeated dry-cleaning. ABS polymer tends to be our polymer of choice because it’s durability, strength, impact resistance and high melting point. This is what makes ABS a great polymer for withstanding long term washing and dry-cleaning for shirt buttons. ABS polymer is used in everything from automobiles, electronics and electroplated clothing buttons. When specially plated, molded or digitally printed, ABS can have the appearance of almost any material. In all, plastic shirt buttons vary highly in quality depending on the base material and the processes involved for the look it’s intended to achieve.
Shirt buttons called Mother of Pearl
These buttons have been a top choice of high-quality shirt manufacturers for maintaining a traditional look. They are made from nacre which is the inner layer of oysters. The reason why they are liked is that of its iridescent color providing an eye-catching detail. The downside with Mother of Pearl shirt buttons is that they crack under strict washing procedures. Even though they are made from a natural material, these buttons can become brittle and chip over time. These buttons are usually available in pearlescent white hues depending upon the shells from which they are made. They look luxurious and enhance the beauty of the garment with traditional style appeal.
Shirt buttons made of metal
Metal buttons just like polymer, vary greatly in material types ranging from brass, zinc, alloy, steel, silver to gold, with processes generally consisting of heat stamping, molding, die casting and machining. With the use of metal shirt buttons you don’t have to worry about deterioration caused by washing procedures as they are the strongest and most durable of shirt buttons. Depending on its application and finishing, metal shirt buttons can portray classical designs with patinated finishes, or modern aesthetics with polishes. In general, since metal as a material is relatively related to strength, durability and precious metals, it’s sure to elevate the quality of your shirt.
Interchangeable Shirt Buttons
With the ongoing advance of technology and precision in manufacturing it is now possible to accessorize your shirts and express your style with interchangeable shirt buttons. The introduction of interchangeable shirt buttons essentially allows you to switch button styles for any occasion in just a few seconds with no sewing necessary. The no sew patent-pending system allows for the attachment of a permanent high grade polymer fastener that can be combined with any interchangeable button face design of your choice. Interchangeable shirt buttons vary in materials and finishes for creating unique shirt designs.
Shirt Buttons made from real horn or bone
Yes, these buttons in fact are made from horns of real animals after complying with the animal protection laws. The fact that they are totally natural gives them a rustic texture and feel. They provide a unique look and appeal to sportswear and jackets used for outerwear. Horn buttons can be further customized using laser decorations. They come in many different finishes such as glossy and matte. The horn look generally has a natural rustic aesthetic therefore, they are preferred for the making of men’s wear and women’s outerwear.
Corozo shirt buttons
These buttons are made using Corozo, a seed of a tropical palm tree, this nut is used for many different purposes like making fashion accessories and carving figurines beside making shirt buttons. Both the fruit as well as the Corozo seeds are large often being referred to elephants, because of its size and it’s resemblance to the ivory tusk of elephants. The grainy texture of Corozo buttons appears after the dyeing process, and it makes them look unique. It is possible to create customized Corozo shirt buttons carrying the trademarks and the logos of the companies. They can also be formed into any shape or style. Corozo buttons make perfect suit jacket buttons.
Snap fastener shirt buttons
These shirt buttons are primarily metal with a polyester insert, and are generally available in a wide variety of colors to match the style of the shirt or the suit where they are placed. These shirt buttons are not only bright and colorful but also very versatile as they can be used in many different items of clothing. However these are usually applied by a machine press making them permanent.
Coated or covered buttons
Covered buttons can be seen in many types of fancy shirts and suits these days. These buttons are made up of two parts. The outer part is covered with fabric while the inner portion is sewn on to the garment. The inner core can be plastic or metal depending upon the choice of the company making garments. These buttons can be flat or domed depending on the design of the manufacturer.
Near Field CommunicatioN encoded SHIRT buttons
Near Field Communication (NFC) specialized shirt buttons contain electronic information inside a chip. This information can only be read by modern smartphones having NFC reading capability. NFC shirt buttons carry anti shoplifting information and washing instructions for customers. They sometimes contain links to the websites and other important information.
While buttons are details most people don’t pay attention to when purchasing clothes, they are numerously visible focal points that can set you apart. In addition to creating your own signature style, customized buttons show others that you leave no detail uncovered, your outfit is methodically thought out and that you are above the status quo. Experiment with different materials, colors and shirt fabrics for the right combination suiting you to create outfits that are true conversation starters.