5 Types of Fancy Shirt Buttons that Create a Totally Unique Look

December 21st, 2015

Create a Unique Shirt with These Buttons and Stand Out

If you want to look smart with an edge, then quality fancy shirt buttons are the order of the day and there have never been more options for customising these essential little particulars. It’s all in the details and shirt button types that stand out can take a perfectly fitted shirt from an eight to a ten.

Here we run down a selection of 5 unique shirt button materials – all available at Shirts with Buttons – that can really bring a shirt together… and not just literally either.

1. Wooden Buttons

wooden button

The natural approach and one of the oldest materials used for buttons. With their durability, wooden buttons can be intricately carved, patterned and varnished to a fine shine, giving shirts a classic rustic look that offers more sophistication than a standard plastic or polyester button, while still maintaining a natural and effortless style.

Pair with: While wooden buttons can be coloured or varnished to different hues, traditional wooden buttons work best with natural colours. Greens and soft blues work very well, while patterned or chequered shirts work best, balancing a bit of detail against the simplicity of a soft light wood button.

2. Casein Buttons

casein button

Elegant, enduring and surprisingly made from milk, these buttons – first made popular at the start of the 20th century – have had somewhat of a renaissance in the last few years. Made fantastically popular by Coco Chanel, they became a staple of the art deco craze and adorned everything from dresses and handbags to costume jewellery.

With a glossy polished lustre, limitless variety of available colours and surprising durability, casein buttons add an esteem to a shirt’s design that’s a clear step above the standard, with little to no additional expense.

Pair with: Just about anything. The quality of casein buttons is in their diversity. Available in any colour, they are simply best paired with your favourite shirt colour. While contrast can make a shirt stand out, matching a button colour just off your shirt colour gives the shirt balance and class.

3. Mother of Pearl and Shell Buttons

mother of pearl button

A gift of the sea, the sand polished kaleidoscopic colours of shells have been a prized jewel of tribes from Africa to Polynesia for thousands of years. With shimmering colours and a unique reflective quality, they have been worn in necklaces, bracelets and any other form of jewellery they could be worked into.

More recently, the slightly fragile quality of these has been overcome with new shaping techniques allowing shell buttons to be carved from Paua, Agoya, River Shell and most notably, the luminescent Mother of Pearl.

Pair with: Neutral colours work best with the natural vibrancy of shell buttons. Shell buttons call up summery connotations of beaches and soft blue skies. In the same way shell buttons are best paired with soft blues and in particular vibrant cloud-like whites.

4. Metal Buttons

metal button

While metal buttons have been around for as long as we’ve had the metallurgy to make them, it was the ancient Romans who first made them popular. Fashioning buttons, brooches and buckles from various metals, these were a status symbol and a resilient one at that.

Hard wearing, and able to feature more detailed patterns and designs than weaker materials, metal buttons offer an attractive button choice for a unique shirt design.

Pair with: Traditionally, the most common place you will find a metal button is on a pair of denim jeans. This was originally more to do with durability than style, but as fashion imitates culture it has become a fashion staple. As such metal shirt buttons paired with a variety of lightly patterned blues tend to really stand out in a way that fits very naturally.

5. Crystal Buttons

crystal button

Used in the middle-ages to adorn the most elegant and sophisticated of garments, crystal buttons were the domain of the rich and powerful only. But no longer. As trade and production became easier, crystal buttons have become more readily available.

Surprisingly resilient and offering more lavish style than just about any other button, crystal’s reflective quality is its trademark and like a prism reflecting the spectrum of light, they offer more than enough vibrancy for any shirt design.

Pair with: Pairing crystal shirt buttons with block colours maintains their focus and stops the look from becoming overdone. While most colours and white shades work well, the stark contrast of a stylish black shirt makes crystal buttons the stunning centre-piece of the shirt’s design.

While we have our recommendations, creating a unique shirt design is all about figuring out what you want. Try tinkering with different materials, colours and shirt styles until you find something that fits you just right. With thousands of potential combinations in our made to measure shirt selection, you shouldn’t be short of inspiration.

Check out and share our shirt button selection infographic

fancy shirts buttons infographic