Very soon we will be saying au revoir to lazy summer afternoons and bonjour to busy autumn days. Vacations will be but a memory (boo!) and the kids will be back in school (woohoo!). Now is the time to do an inventory of your fall/winter wardrobe (boo!) and to find out, drum roll please………….if your go-to black pencil skirt still fits (woohoo?? boohoo?) In short, now is the time for a little closet therapy – what to keep, what to donate/throw away and what needs a little TLC or sprucing up.
What would you say if I told you that the quickest, easiest and most economical way to change the look and add a dash of je ne sais quoi to a dress, blouse, jacket or skirt is to change the buttons??
Would you say, “Lead me to the nearest fabric store???”
Buttons have been around since the Bronze Age. For those of you not up on your History, that’s about 3,000 years. Until the 16th century they were mainly decorative, and then a clever French tailor looped some thread onto a piece of material, sewed a button onto another piece and voilà the hitherto decorative button now had a practical purpose.
A century after that, the first button holes made their appearance and voilà voilà --- a marriage made in heaven!!!
For some, the button simply holds two pieces of fabric together, but for the French, this magical accessory has the power to transform a petite ginette, or simple little dress, into a fashion statement.
From the petites mains who spend their days sewing jeweled buttons onto haute couture creations, to Maman who passes down her box of special buttons to her daughter to be used and reused for generations to come, the French know what the perfect button can do for a garment.
As a little girl, every time I opened my Mother’s Button Box, it was like peering into a treasure chest of dazzling jewels. A former model and opera singer, my Mother was never happier than when she had a needle and thread in her hands. From this stylish, glamorous woman, I learned about fit, fabric and how to select the perfect button.
And so, when it came time for me to marry, there was simply no question as to who would make my wedding ensemble. I would design it and my Mother would create it.
The lace for my bodice and veil came from Alençon, but the seed pearls and beading that were hand sewn, one by one, with endless patience and love, through the heat of a stifling August, in a small sewing room at the top of the stairs, came from a black velvet pouch in my Mother’s Button Box.
That velvet pouch had been lying in my Mother’s Button Box waiting for me since I was a little girl.
So the next time you pass a fabric store, stop in see and what treasures you can add to your Button Box.
If you don’t have one……………..start one!!
Your daughter and your daughter’s daughters will thank you………..and think of you………..every time they open it.