Buttons: The small detail with big impact

Throughout previous articles, we’ve discussed the important role that minor details play in the overall effectiveness of a suiting look. From the break in your trousers to the type of your lapel, every aspect matters. As small details go, your buttons are also important and can have a big impact on your suit. It’s crucial to understand the different types of buttons and which ones work best for your desired style.
Horn is a revered button material that’s often equated with durability and masculinity. In the grooming sector, horn has recently become a popular choice to construct beard combs. Horn buttons have been used for several thousand years and represent traditionalism. As the name indicates, they’re constructed from the horns of wild animals like rams, buffalo and deer. This material is extremely versatile. When it’s polished, it works perfectly with formal suiting. However, when it’s left with a rougher, matte finish, it becomes the perfect detail for a sports jacket.

Mother of Pearl
Buttons made of mother of pearl are less traditional than their horn counterparts. The material’s name is also relatively straightforward. Mother of pearl is crafted from pearl oysters’ inner layer. They retain a unique sheen in their natural form but they can also be dyed to match the aesthetic of a suit. These buttons are favored by high-quality manufacturers and designers. They’re known for their resilience throughout the dry cleaning process.

Most polyester buttons have the appearance of plastic. Clearly, these buttons are less luxurious and durable than horn or mother of pearl. However, the biggest draw of polyester buttons is their variety. It’s easy to find these buttons in practically any color. This is ideal for the gent who wants color continuity throughout his suit.

Brass buttons are often used to communicate rigid formality. You’re more likely to encounter them on standalone blazers or sport jackets. The aesthetic calls to mind military style; conservative and vaguely chic. The use of brass buttons is less common. It’s a traditional style that’s favored by older gentlemen. Brass buttons work best against dark colors like with a navy suit. The dark hue works as a proper canvas for brass, which is quite shiny and bold.

Most men don’t give their button choices much thought. However, based on your style goals and your planned frequency of wear, your buttons could be one of the most important choices you make.