Vintage Buttons Blog Post

First up sorry Friends for no Vintage Photo Tuesday this week. I have been working hard on preparing my interview skills (been 11 years since I had an interview), for future job offers. BUT don’t fear VPT will be back next week.

I did though have time to work on my regular weekly vintage post and this week is all about Vintage Buttons. This post is inspired by a comment that Theresa from Vintage Style Files said on a past clothing blog post:

“They had some of the coolest buttons and buckles on clothing back then”

As I sat back and thought about her comment, I realized that she was completely right! So for today’s post I want to show off those little beauties of the clothing and accessories world.


To begin here is a fantastic article by Hobby Lark on “Vintage Button Guide-Ways to Identify Antique Buttons” . This article will get you up to date on the different types of buttons out there (Bakelite, Celluloid, Lucite, Metal etc.), how to identify them and how to clean them. An excellent read for all vintage clothing enthusiasts out there.

Now examples of Vintage Buttons:

Vintage Celluloid Buttons. Celluloid buttons became very popular during the late 1900’s through the 1920’s. They can be opaque, transparent or both and they come in all shapes, sizes and colors (Source).

Source: Etsy

Bright Green Celluloid Buttons. Very Art Deco looking.

Source: Etsy

Buttons don’t have to come in just the round shape, they can come in all shapes and sizes. Like these Celluloid ‘Ribbon’ buttons. What kind of outfit or accessory do you think they were used for?

Source: Etsy

Bakelite Buttons-not the first plastic buttons, but are some of the most sought after and highly collected. They come in all shapes and sizes and are heavier than Celluloid buttons (Source).

The below buttons are Vintage Black and Apple Juice Bakelite. Called apple juice because at one point the yellow was white and has gone yellow over time.

Source: Etsy

Cream Corn Fluted Vintage Bakelite buttons. These look like little works of art.

Source: Etsy

Lucite Buttons were most popular from the 1930’s on through the 1960’s. It’s a low density material but stronger than plastics that came before it. They can be clear or opaque and different colors, shapes and sizes and could also be carved (source).

Here is a beautiful example of 1940’s Lucite buttons, looking like miniature flower bouquets.

Source: Etsy

Yooza look at these! Hands down my favorite buttons of this whole blog post. Lucite Cherry Candy Buttons. I can envision these beauties on a sweet 1940’s/50’s summer dress. Could you?

Source: Etsy

1940’s Bow Buttons-Cute as a….Button. Now I know what the reference to buttons means in that saying! Because at one point all the buttons were “cute”.

Source: Etsy

You could purchase these buttons for the packaging alone (it’s that cool) but you don’t have to because these ‘Teen Agers’ themed 1940’s plastic buttons are together and in mint condition.

Source: Etsy

1950’s and the Kitsch continues with these adorable Plastic Shoe Buttons.

Source: Etsy

.I will now end this vintage button extravaganza with one more 1950’s kitschy plastic button, this time in the shapes of fruit. Carmen Miranda would of loved these.

Source: Etsy


Question Time: Do any of your vintage outfits have some outstanding buttons? Or maybe you own a collection of vintage buttons yourself. Please share!


14 comments on “Vintage Buttons-The Little Beauties of the Clothing World”

  1. Oh now you’re talking my language! I loooooove vintage buttons and have a huge collection. I try to use them as much as I can in my sewing but I still have loads waiting for the perfect outfit.
    I love the buttons you’ve featured, particularly the red and white ones at the top of the list. They’re so Art Deco! xx

  2. Great post! I love vintage buttons, and have bought several vintage coats just for their buttons. My favourite was a 1950’s swing coat with really large buttons with a mother-of-pearl inlay in the centre. The coat is threadbare and torn under the arms in a way that can’t be repaired, but I’m holding onto it until I can find another use for those big, beautiful buttons. I also have really fond memories of the cardigans my grandma knitted for me–she always added the cute novelty buttons. She also had a fruitcake tin full of leftover buttons, and I loved to play with them and sort them!

  3. Oooh lovely. I have a lot of buttons, but they are mostly plain and almost entirely unmatched! And I’m with Ann on the childhood entertainment of sorting through a big tin of buttons!

    • I really like that some of the reproduction brands are paying attention to the details like buttons. I too have some great buttons on reproductions as well. Glad you enjoyed the post ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. What a lovely post! My grandma has a jar full of the cutest vintage buttons and when I was a child, my favouritest thing on earth was to upturn that jar and look at all the buttons, separating them into sets and picking them for the next sweater she would knit for me. She has quite a few like the ones you listed here and since she collected the buttons from thrifted clothes, she has quite the odd collection. This is really close to my heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for sharing this story! It seems that this was a regular activity for many of my readers..sorting thru their grandmothers button collection. I just love this is a wonderful memory for you. Once again thanks for sharing that ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I have plenty of vintage buttons I collect and try to use them as much as possible in my sewing. Making my outfit today for our Swing out to Victory dance soon! Can’t decide which buttons though….

  6. I love buttons and have several button tins, including my grandmas. I keep all my vintage ones in a separate tin and use them on my knitting and sewing. I love the 1940’s bow buttons and painted flower ones here.

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