Tim Beasley of Cashmere Markets gives sage advice on the relationship between suits and their buttons
Typical scenario; you buy a full custom or made to measure suit. Your salesman flies you through your selections as fast as possible so he/she can get to the next roaming potential customer on the sales floor. It’s not an easy job in their defense. However, this can often leave out some of the most important details for your new garment when wearing weekly.
Button selection is one of the most important details for me when making my own garments or showings for clientele. So pay attention closely as you will see why a bad choice can leave you limited in wearability.
Client’s Custom Sport Coat with a Beautiful Button Selection
What Buttons Do For You
When choosing buttons for your garment, you should focus on one important feature….CONTRAST!
Contrast will allow you the ability to wear the garment in many different ways and if done correctly can allow you to wear multiple accessories and clothing pairings with the garment. This process is huge when developing your own personal style.
As you can see to the left, this client chose a lighter blending contrast of light tan and dark brown which is more versatile than just going with a solid in dark brown or light tan.
With this selection, the client can wear not only any natural tone in paired shirts and trousers ( including olive with light or dark brown accessories ) but can also play off of the dark brown tones in the garment with added profound influence from the button selection.
” Contrast will allow you the ability to wear the garment in many different ways and if done correctly can allow you to wear multiple accessories and clothing pairings with the garment. “Typical solid suits or jackets usually play a different card as solids button choices are more neutral. An example would be a typical black blazer with a black button. One fun trick for me is to change my buttons to totally change the whole look of the garment.
You need a tailor handy for this and don’t try this yourself. If you have a traditional blue blazer but you want to wear it for a summer gathering or event, try changing button contrast or colors to get a more summer look.
For instance, Blue Blazer with light blue and white mother-of-pearl buttons to be paired with white trousers/cotton jeans and light blue linen shirt with white pocket square.
You have now successfully changed a typical blue blazer into a summer influenced masterpiece.
“If you have a traditional blue blazer but you want to wear it for a summer gathering or event, try changing button contrast or colors to get a more summer look.”
Full Custom Pal Zileri Suit for Client
When buying a suit, that can’t be broken up into separates ( wearing a suit jacket as a sport coat ), it is often better choosing a more neutral button choice such as this neutral light blue mother-of-pearl.
This suit is a dark navy undertone with lighter blue weaves and a white pinstripe with a faint red pin stripe in the middle. A very unique fabrics with incredible wearable functionality as a travel series fabric.
The neutral tones of the buttons allows the client to wear light blue with more influence and to be paired with a red tie-set and brown or black accessories. This is a show stopper fabric, so creating more influence with button contrast would take away from the fabric palate properties.
A More Formal Occasion
Tone on Tone Navy Fabric with a taste of Luxury Formal Elegance, Silver button with navy contrast to be paired with with trousers for formal occasion
Downplay for Optimal Palate Versatility
Black Sport Coat, White and Kobalt Blue Plaid with neutral black button: Neutral Black doesn’t take away from the color palate yet could be changed to brighter blue to give the color more influence when pairing.
Contrasting for Wardrobe Preferences
Blue Wool, Silk & 5% Linen for Slugged Textured Look with black and white plaid pattern; The tan and black horned contrasting button was selected to meet the comfort of the Client’s conservative wardrobe (tan & black Trousers) . I was excited to even get him to step out of the box with patterns, now he’s getting more attention for his styling and loving the new frontier.
These are just some examples of clients of mine who have utililized button contrasting for functional wear and strong palate influence.
Remember that this choice is very important when making your garment and is not something to skip through with blinders on. You can always change the whole look of the garment in the details and the wrong choice may have you limited on ways to wear it.
You can always ask me at for button selection advice on your next purchase.
Originally published on Cashmere Markets
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Tim Beasley is the mastermind behind Guy La Ferrera International Menswear (www.guylaferrera.com) a Luxury International Menswear Clothier based in Boca Raton, Florida. He is also the owner of www.cashmeremarkets.com which is a site dedicated to menswear, fashion news and wine.