Tender is the Button!

by Dorothea

Clothes might make the man but the right button makes the statement!

TB-2 2

As my mantra is “A fabulous life on a shoestring”, the RIGHT buttons play a BIG role in this. The most ordinary cardigan, coat or blouse can be turned into something fabulous by putting on great buttons. The large French Army button above adorns the peacoat of a stylish friend to great effect!

TB-1A “tableau” in the window of “Tender Buttons”

The “be all and end all” of button stores is the charming “oldy worldy” New York store “Tender Buttons”, tucked away in a quiet side street off Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side, you enter into button heaven.

Tender Buttons 1

All the buttons are stored in cardboard boxes with charming descriptions, you are free to look at everything at leisure, only a few buttons are “on demand” and stored in the back of the shop. I have never felt rushed, while agonizing over the choice I was going to make.

TB9A wall of rare “collectors” buttons – all for sale

It is VERY rare that a garment comes with a beautiful button, even high-end designer clothes often have shoddy buttons or Oh horror!: “label” buttons (more about being an unpaid bill board for designers in a later post) and often they are also not sewn on properly either.

TB-3A very rare set of Fornasetti buttons

An ordinary black cardigan becomes a glamorous evening top with sparkling crystal buttons:

TB4A selection of crystal evening buttons

 Or a simple Zara coat becomes a “Couture” coat with a large “Art Nouveau” button:

TB-4A rare large French “Art Nouveau” button

Your simple white shirt with plasic buttons can be upgraded with real fine mother of pearl shirt buttons. And this is not just for gals: how many coats and cardigans have I not transformed for my male friends, look at this selection of  leather buttons for a sturdy knitted cardigan or the big shiny French Army buttons for a pea coat as shown in the first photograph?

TB-6A beautiful selection of leather buttons

A childrens coat can be customised with “fairy tale” or “nursery rhyme” buttons! There is an enormous selection of children’s buttons, from small silver dinosaurs to Disney character’s.

TD5Charming “Nursery Rhyme” buttons

Your hardest challenge will be to retain yourself as all your clothes will pass in your mind’s eye and you will spend more on buttons that the garment! But is is worth it: the finishing touch is in the buttons!

TB-5The tiniest mother of pearl buttons for a doll…

There you go, “Tender Buttons” pushes all my buttons! For those who are unsure on how to sew on a button, here is a tutorial (click here), everyone should be able to do this, there is NO excuse!


“Tender Buttons” is located on 143 E 62nd St, New York, NY 10065