14 Different Types of Buttons (for Clothing and Accessories)

- Advertisement -
A pile of assorted buttons.


The earliest buttons were ornamental and made of bone, horn, bronze, and wood. The oldest ornamental button is made of shell, estimated to be 5,000 years old, and was discovered in Pakistan. The ancient Romans used buttons to fasten clothes but up until the Medieval period, many were made of precious metal and costly fabric so only the seriously affluent wore them.

The Industrial Revolution made buttons accessible for the less wealthy. The flat four-holed buttons were introduced while brass buttons became popular. In the latter part of the 19th century, black buttons made of glass were the trend as popularized by Queen Victoria who wore them after the death of Prince Albert.

In the 20th century, modern buttons were both decorative and functional. They persisted even with the invention of the zipper.

Types

Flat Buttons

White plastic buttons with two holes.

Source: Etsy

Flat buttons are the most common types of buttons, and usually, they are very flat and have either two or four holes in the center. You can easily attach them by hand or with a sewing machine, especially when using a fine thread or yarn, and they can be made of wood, metal, glass, and even ceramic.

In fact, one of the many advantages of choosing flat buttons is that they are so versatile that they look good on any garment you put them on, from shirts to dresses and slacks to skirts. Furthermore, since they come in many different materials, sizes, and colors, if you can think up an idea in your head when it comes to the flat buttons you want, it is likely there is a company available that sells that particular button. Flat buttons are also easy to work with and durable, which complements their popularity in many different ways.

Flat buttons can also come with fancy ridges or edges, which means they are not always completely flat, and in these instances, you get the attractiveness of a fancy button and the practicality of a flat one. Going online is a great way to get started when researching flat buttons, and regardless of what you are looking for, you will likely be surprised at the selection that is available.

Hook and Eye Fastenings

A set of black, silver and gray hook and eye fastenings.Source: Amazon

Usually considered a type of button because their uses are so similar to those of a button, they consist of a small hook on one side and an eye-like fixture on the other, which is a small hole that the hook fits into. They are very simple to use, and they come in two parts that fit together after you sew them into the garment that is using them.

One of the biggest advantages of the hook-and-eye fasteners is the fact that they are extremely inexpensive and come in so many sizes and shapes that it is all but impossible not to find something you will love. You can purchase this type of button without breaking the bank, so if you are creating dozens of garments at a time, the project will be an inexpensive one. They are also easy to sew on, even for inexperienced sewing enthusiasts, and they are appropriate for every type of garment, from the smallest headband to the largest coat.

In addition, finding hook-and-eye fasteners is very simple because, nowadays, they can be found in department stores, craft stores, novelty and specialty stores, and even in convenience stores, making it simple to find just what you need.

Lapel Buttons

USMA cadet, Gold label button.Source: Etsy

Unlike buttons you sew garments with, these buttons are usually made of some type of thin metal and have logos or promotional material on them. They are almost always personalized and are very popular among political candidates who are running for some type of office. Lapel buttons are usually attached to the lapel either with a small, thin, pointed object that attaches to your clothing or with a backing that you snap on, giving it a more permanent attachment.

Lapel buttons come in all sizes, from less than one inch in diameter to three or more inches in diameter, and, although most of them are round, there are many other shapes available as well. Best of all, lapel buttons are very inexpensive, and most of the companies that make them work hard to provide very competitive prices, in part because they realize that most people who order them will order them in bulk. Lapel buttons are eye-catching, colorful, and very unique, and if you can think up a design in your head, the companies that offer these buttons can likely make it for you.

Shank

Pearl white shank-type buttons.

Source: Amazon

A shank button is one that has a small loop or hole on the back of it instead of holes in the center of it, and this loop is what you put your needle through when sewing the button onto your garment or other items. Shank buttons can also have a raised section in the back of the button that contains the hole, and they are good for when you want a slightly raised look for your buttons.

The buttons, in other words, do not lay flat against the garment, but instead, they raise slightly above the garment, giving it a very elegant look. Sewing on a shank button is a little different than sewing on a flat one, but with a little research and practice, this task can be a very simple one. Shank buttons can be made of any number of materials and come in dozens of colors and sizes, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are slightly raised against the fabric instead of lying flat on it, lending the garment a little ambiance and class.

Furthermore, shank buttons are made very well, in part because of the loop or stem that the sewing thread needs to go through, so they tend to be made out of very strong, long-lasting materials. All in all, buying shank buttons is a smart choice for numerous reasons, not the least of which is how great they look on your garments.

Snaps (Poppers)

Gunmetal poppers of different sizes and styles.Source: Amazon

Snaps, or poppers, are similar to the hook-and-eye fasteners in that there are two parts, both of which are sewn into the document and used to close the document and keep it in place. Poppers are usually round and have a male and a female part, with one attaching to the other. One of the best things about finding poppers is that they come in both silver metal and a variety of gorgeous colors when made of plastic.

Do not be fooled by the plastic ones. These snaps are just as sturdy and reliable as the metal ones, and the variety of colors can make any garment that much more attractive. Snaps also do great regardless of the garment you are sewing it in, because they are just as sturdy and strong as other types of buttons if you sew them on correctly, even if you’re a beginner in the art of sewing.

Stud (Jeans)

A set of studs in gold, gun metal, bronze and black tones.

Source: Amazon

Stud buttons are usually associated with jeans, although you can use them for other denim garments, including jackets and skirts. Stud buttons have two parts, and one attaches to the other. However, unlike hook-and-eye fasteners, which are sewn in two different places, stud buttons are pressed together after they are placed in the buttonhole.

They are pressed together by a special tool that presses them together in a very strong manner, so once they are installed, it is all but impossible to get them out of the buttonhole. Some of these buttons can be sewn in using an extra-strong thread or yarn; however, the ones that press together using special tools usually produce a more long-lasting result.

Stud buttons also come in various sizes and are not only used to fasten jeans together. They can be used as decorations on jean pockets and even on the sides of the jeans themselves. They are usually round and come in colors that include silver and gold, although some of them come in dozens of other colors and are used to decorate denim jeans, purses, jackets, and other denim items. If you do your due diligence, in fact, you can find dozens of stud buttons in dozens of sizes and colors, and the fact that they are extremely sturdy and long-lasting is yet another perk of choosing this type of button.

Toggles

Black toggle buttons with a shiny and smooth finish.Source: Amazon

are long, skinny buttons that are usually rounded, and they are most often used in buttonholes or with a loop fastening. Because of their length, it is easier for them to slip through smaller holes than a button that is round or square, and they are a very secure choice as well. Of course, toggles are often used as statement pieces, so if you want a unique, attractive, eye-catching button for your garment, the toggles are a great choice. Many of them have two holes in the center and are made of materials such as wood, although they are attached to the garment much like a flat button is.

Toggles are usually made of wood or plastic, and they come in a variety of colors and designs, so whether you want a solid, light-pink one or a toggle with a printed design on it, you can easily find it. Attractive, easy to use, and versatile, toggles are a great choice for most of your sewing projects, and they do not have to be used just for clothing anymore because you can now use them for a variety of arts and crafts projects as well.

Materials

Cloth

Source: Etsy

Perhaps the biggest advantage of choosing cloth buttons is that they are available in all types of fabric, both light and dark, solid or printed, cotton or muslin. There are now dozens of websites, in fact, that will teach you how to make your own cloth or fabric buttons, and if you decide instead to purchase them already made, the good news is that they are a lot cheaper than you might think. In most cases, cloth buttons are actually metal buttons that have been covered in some type of fabric, and if your hobby includes sewing and you have a lot of fabric pieces that are left over from previous projects, creating beautiful cloth buttons with some of them is a great way to utilize your creative side.

Cloth buttons can be in stripes, solid-color, printed designs such as stars or ice cream cones, and even letters or logos. For the most part, the type of fabric you use is irrelevant, because most fabrics work great and look great when you are making buttons made of cloth. In fact, you are only limited by your imagination, so, regardless of what you’re looking for, keep searching until you find it!

Glass

Glass buttons with a moon surface-like design.

Source: Amazon

Unlike what many people think, not all glass buttons are clear in color. In fact, most glass buttons come in numerous shapes, sizes, and colors, and these types of buttons can add some ambiance to any type of garment you sew them on. They can be small and shaped like birds or large and round like typical flat buttons, and if you research them either in person or online, you are all but guaranteed to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The glass used in buttons is a strong, scratch-resistant glass that is difficult to break or damage, so you can wear these items of clothing anywhere you wish, not to mention wash and dry them like you do your other clothing. Best of all, glass buttons can be flat or shank, and come in colors that include gold, teal, red, bright blue, and even purple, and since there are so many websites that allow you to research and purchase them, you can always find something that matches your preferences and tastes. Glass is elegant and fashionable, not to mention eye-catching and unique, and when your buttons are made of glass, people are sure to notice.

Leather

Source: Etsy

Leather buttons give any garment they are attached to a very elegant look. They come in both genuine and faux leather and many different colors and textures. This can include mottled leather, woven leather, patent leather, top-stitched leather, and suede leather. In addition, leather buttons can be round, square, rectangular, or any other shape, and come flat or domed, light beige or black, textured or soft, and in so many shades and designs that you may find it difficult to choose the one you want.

Buttons made of leather are usually made of real leather, which means they are durable, long-lasting, and beautiful. If you are wearing a garment made with leather buttons, therefore, people will notice. Since most leather buttons are treated with a protective coating, they are low-maintenance as well, meaning you never have to clean them or soften them, but only wear them as you would any other type of buttons.

Metal

Antique brass metal buttons with a vintage touch.

Source: Amazon

Metal buttons are a very common type of button, and you can find all types of metals when purchasing them. Metal buttons are usually made of materials such as tin and stainless steel, and they can be smooth, textured, hammered, ridged, or even imprinted with various designs. You can find metal buttons in silver, brass, and many other metals, and the best part is, you can buy these buttons as standard or as fancy as you want them to be.

They can be large or small, round or oval, light or dark, and regardless of the look of the garment you are attaching metal buttons too, you can find something that will perfectly complement it in the end. Metal is a classic look for buttons, and just because you choose materials such as brass or even sterling silver, that does not mean you will end up with a heavy button that makes your clothing uncomfortable. In fact, there are numerous reasons why metal buttons are so popular, and once you use them just one time, you will understand why that is so.

Pearl

A number of white pearl buttons great for women apparels.

Source: Etsy

Pearls are stronger than most people realize, and because they come in dozens of colors and not just white or off-white, you can find pearl buttons that are both beautiful and the perfect complement to your clothing. Of course, many buttons are made of either real pearl or mother-of-pearl, also known as nacre, which gives it an iridescent look and one that is quite impressive. Pearl and mother-of-pearl buttons are extremely attractive, and, contrary to what many people believe, they are not just for very formal occasions. In fact, many women wear blouses that have pearl buttons on them with a pair of jeans, and it is a very elegant and stylish look. Mother-of-pearl comes from abalone or pearl oysters, so both of these materials offer the same advantages, which are advantages you will love.

Most mother-of-pearl is either white, off-white, or pale pink; however, some faux pearls can be colored with a dye so that you get buttons that are red, green or even gold. Pearl buttons come in many different sizes and types, so whether you are looking for something small or large, casual or formal, pearl and mother-of-pearl are always great selections when you are looking for unique, attractive buttons.

Polyester

Blue polyester button with a marble-like print.

Source: Amazon

Polyester is a very common material for buttons because it is a type of plastic that makes it perfect for all types of buttons. Polyester is inexpensive, looks great, and can be dyed a variety of colors. Sometimes, red carbonate is added to polyester to make buttons that have the pearlescent sheen of shell buttons, but the truth is, polyester buttons offer so many options that it is all but impossible not to find something you love when you choose buttons made of this material.

Polyester buttons make it easy to button and unbutton a dress or blouse, and if you choose polyester buttons, they can even mimic other button materials, which means you are always guaranteed to get what you love without paying a fortune. Polyester buttons can be made to look like wood, pearl, or any other type of button, thanks to their versatility and the fact that they come in so many designs and colors.

For most non-professionals, therefore, it is virtually impossible to look at a button and determine whether it is made of polyester, wood, or any other type of button-making material. Most polyester buttons vary greatly when it comes to shading, luster, and brightness, so they can be light or dark, formal or casual, large or small, meaning you are always guaranteed to get something spectacular in the end.

Wood

2-hole wooden buttons with hand-painted designs.Source: Amazon

Wood buttons are popular for numerous reasons, but perhaps one of the biggest advantages of choosing this material for your buttons is that you are guaranteed to end up with something very unique because so many different types of wood are used. Wood comes in dozens of types and colors, not to mention textures and designs, so whether you want something plain or with stripes, light or dark, pine or ash, you can get it if you look hard enough. The companies that make wooden buttons can even paint them in bright colors, meaning you can get the durability of wood and the versatility of the colors that other materials offer without sacrificing in any of these areas.

Best of all, wooden buttons can come in dozens of shapes, including rectangular, round or even square, as well as shapes that include butterflies, flowers, horses, hearts, miniature hands, fish, and dozens of others. You can use these buttons not only for clothing, but also for scrapbooking and various arts and crafts projects, and, if you find yourself buying wood buttons simply because you love the look of them, it is very simple to get online and discover wonderful uses for them.





>