Being a long-time fan of wraps, belts and sashes, I have somehow for years and years managed to steer clear of anything that needs to be buttoned - one of the exceptions being a white Liquid coat with big, black velvet-coated buttons (left), that was a surprise gift from my boyfriend a few years ago, others being the occasional horrible work outfit, the choice of which I am usually not in a position to influence or question. The one below took about 15 minutes to get in and out of, mostly due to those endless rows of miniscule buttons in all possible and impossible places: really bad news for those of us who are more or less unable to get through the day without downing a minimum of five big cups of coffee (which translates to a lot of bathroom breaks, if anyone didn't get it).
However, due to my current obsession with WASPy chic (this movie triggered it), I am suddenly head-over-heels crazy not only about pearls, princess-cut diamond studs and 2.55s, but in particular the classic blazer with piping and gold nautical buttons (how I'm wearing it!), as seen at Balenciaga AW09 as well as Tory Burch and H&M back in '08 and '07, respectively (below). Those buttons! They just seem to work with everything.... jeans, MJ pencil skirts, flea market scarves, riding boots even when they're fresh from a trip to the stables. Knowing myself too well, though, I'm sure this infatuation will soon come to an end and I'll be back in my ratty belted vintage shearling coat... but until then, I intend to enjoy!
Having finally began to perceive the fashion allure of buttons, as opposed to viewing them merely as a means to closing a garment, I do believe that, just like most accessories, they can indeed make or break an outfit. While Nelly Yuki on Gossip Girl and the Lacoste AW07 catwalker below could be postergirls for how to wear toggle buttons in the most boring, predictable way ever, I kind of enjoyed the toggles in French Vogue's blackface Lara Stone editorial (even though I did not care much for the spread in itself). Furthermore, how can you not adore Benjamin Choo's (AW07) oversized black statement buttons? Maybe I'm biased, since the look reminds me of my own beloved Liquid coat....
Fashion magazines and runway footage aside, I became aware of a new, real-life take on the make-or-break dilemma during my vintage window shopping spree the other day. For starters, I fell in love with these glass buttons (right) on an otherwise way-too-busy-for-me brocade coat at Screaming Mimi's -- on an unrelated note, I also managed to go through their whole 1960s rack twice without finding anything to my liking, just to see Chloë Sevigny pull out a lovely powder-blue frock, seemingly my size, from there only minutes later... how did I miss that one? Too busy obsessing over how cute those cute glass buttons would look on a more unassuming jacket, I'm sure. Shortly thereafter, I was faced with the exact opposite problem in that corny store on 7th & A, the name of which I always forget. Ironically enough, an otherwise pretty decent chunky-knit pastel cardigan lost all its appeal when I discovered the unbelievably ridiculous lamb buttons it had been decked out with (yes, those you definitely need to see those for yourself - picture to the left!). No need to emphasize I gave up and returned home empty-handed: never had I realized before that buttons could be such a bummer. Yes, I know the lambs would have been easily fixed at home with a sewing kit... but I was just not in the mood.
To sum up, I however have to hand it to this lady on 34th & 5th the other day, who had successfully ruined her classy, pulled-together outfit -- hat, Vivier-ish heels, structured handbag and all -- by wearing a row of seemingly non-functional buttons on the back of her mustard trench! Or possibly the coat buttoned in the back - I did not get the chance to see the front. Either way, I'll be damned, but not even Chloë would have been able to pull off a look like that!
Would you ever wear a coat like this....? If you did, you would probably end up on my blog... and not in a good way. :)
Man in a Can, 57th & Madison. - Because we all need a break now and then.
5 years ago