The Fashionable Male: Buttons | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: The Fashionable Male: Buttons

June 14, 2010

The Fashionable Male: Buttons

Suit. Fench, 1765-75. Silk, metallic, metal, cotton. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Buttons were worn on garments as early as the 14th century, for decoration.  Two centuries later, they became more popular; liberally adorning garments- very expensive garments.  The button was a luxury ornament.  Buttons were covered with cloth during the reign of Louis XIV,  and would be manufactured in steel, and later gilt.

The 18th century was a great period for buttons.  Matthew Boulton, an engineer and inventor,  perfected his machinery to manufacture them efficiently and quickly. Buttons for all!


I love this description of the buttons on the suit above from the Metropolitain Museum of Art:
"The distinctive buttons on this 18th-century suit characterize the flamboyance with which French men dressed to match the opulence of their female counterparts. The liberally applied buttons would have been a lively pink color and glittering in candlelight next to the elegant textile and salmon-colored lining. The slim silhouette is emphasized by the narrow shoulders, curved front opening and elongated pocket flaps."


  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Mozart had a favorite red velvet coat for which the Baroness von Waldstätten bought him some mother of pearl buttons that were encrusted with yellow stones. He wrote to her about the buttons, as he had seen them in the window of a Viennese shop and told her that he thought they would go beautifully on the coat.

  2. Just amazing! The attention to detail is simply stunning - thank you for sharing!

  3. Beautiful, and the lean sillouette of the costume is very charming. One can imagine the charming person who inhabited it in the day...

  4. Marie Antoinette's brother-in-law The Comte d’Artois owned a set of diamond buttons, each of which had a miniature clock encased inside it. I wish they were still around. Great post.

  5. Absolutely beautiful! You know Lynette, I was thinking of the exact same story when I saw this post today!

  6. @Lynette & @Victoria I love the Mozart story, I need more Mozart in my life I think...more champagne too.

  7. Wow this is just fabulous! Love the buttons! I am starting to use them in my reworked vintage jewelry pieces~
    check out my shop