Calendar icon 29. 10. 2020

The German saying, “The Devil is in the details” (Der Teufel sitzt im Detail), reminds us of the effect of small details on the overall perception. In the case of shirts, it is especially true.

The buttons surely are a key difference between a premium-grade shirt and low-quality standard-sized clothing and even made-to-measure clothing. A number of details such as narrow seams, high stitch density, pattern continuity, hand stitching or metal collar stays might not be apparent to the average observer. One could even argue that to notice all of these, one would have to examine the shirt-wearer almost too intensely. A high-quality button will catch your eye almost immediately, just as quickly as a cheap plastic one will, were you to replace them. Few things can ruin a perfectly good shirt like a tasteless plastic button.

A traditional and very high-end material used for buttons is nacre, also known as mother of pearl. These buttons can cost up to fifteen times more than plastic ones, but they are worth it. Resilient as well as elegant, the unique layer-like structure of nacre with the mineral aragonite reflects light in different wavelengths. This means the buttons have an appealing reflection and alluring depth to them, leading to old superstitions, stating that looking at nacre stimulates our intuition, imagination and perception. Nacre accessories are believed to improve our creative thinking and decision making.

How do you tell a genuine nacre button? Here are a few ways you can tell:

  • Sound – try to hit two buttons together. If the sound is muffled, they are plastic. If you can hear a sharp sound, you are holding s genuine nacre button.
  • Temperature – plastic buttons feel warmer to the touch, while nacre ones feel colder. The best way to examine this is to lick a (thoroughly disinfected) button. Be careful, it is quite addictive, and you might find yourself wanting to lick all your shirt buttons.
  • Appearance – every nacre button has a unique pattern and no two buttons look alike. Some irregularities like small spots can be found on the button, especially on the bottom side.

That isn’t to say nacre buttons are an absolute necessity. Plastic buttons can be satisfactory substitution, as long as style and material quality are not overlooked. Our buttons made from high-quality plastic resin are available in every colour you can think of and are even more durable than nacre ones (especially in tumble dryers).

Nacre buttons are considered a standard at Bespoken. You have the choice between classic flat buttons or more elegant high ones, often coupled with dress shirts. Both are available in two colour variants, black and white. Practically every other colour is available in the plastic variant, made using the highest quality resin, allowing you to mix & match with fabric colours. Additionally, we are currently in the process of testing out tinted nacre, to offer the highest standard of buttons in any colour.

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