All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Posted by: on Mar 15, 2010 | 3 Comments

Metal buttons in a gentleman’s wardrobe are confined almost exclusively to the gold-tone buttons of the blazer. That said, I am not usually fond of wearing gold or brass jewelry and furnishings, and thus usually avoid brass buttoned blazers. It was only a few months ago that I saw in a West End shop window a beautiful double breasted number fitted with silver buttons; I had been living in Plato’s cave my whole life and finally caught a glimpse of the sun. I don’t know how or why, but I had never seen a blazer with silver, nor had I thought to try it. Now, in hindsight, it feels more than a bit ridiculous. The silver buttons picked up the blue of the coat nicely and didn’t stand out quite as much as their tawny brethren, but to my eye were so much more elegant. For me, this was an absolute revelation.

Now, with my general opinion made obvious, I will say that brass are the original, and some sort of gold-tone seems to be the more classic and traditional option. They lend the blazer a distinctly more casual and nautical feeling in my opinion, and a striped boating blazer feels drab without them. Also, from an American standpoint, it’s the more apparently WASPy option and matches one’s retriever much better than silver.

As for the silver buttons, I don’t know if it is just that I had never seen them before, but they seem to be popping up everywhere right now. They do have a more modern feel to them, and also a slightly more formal quality. While the brass-buttoned blazer seems most at home with cotton trousers and a club tie, the silver-buttoned coat seems more at appropriate with grey flannels and a crisp white shirt. Dunhill, Ralph Lauren, and countless others all have silver-buttoned options right now, and I can’t seem to get away from them. My current blazer is bedecked with blue plastic for the time being, but only until I find the perfect set of silver to replace them.

Also, as an aside, if you haven’t seen G. Bruce Boyer’s amazing article on the blazer in Issue 5 of The Rake, you can still check it out here on their website. As Mr. Boyer’s pieces usually are, the article is nearly exhaustive and a great pleasure to read.


  1. Easy and Elegant Life
    March 22, 2010

    Try a brown horn button for a very good look; relatively inexpensive, too.

  2. Fran
    March 26, 2010

    This week I have finally replaced the buttons of my Gieves & Hawks blazer.

    It was nor easy, since I have some rules:

    1) No brand names or logos.
    2) No emblems of military units/clubs/universities… if you are not a member.
    3) No polished/shiny/easily scratching surfaces.

    I found these at a good price.

    The blazer looks great!

    Greetings from Spain.

  3. The Eccentric Orange Gentleman
    March 28, 2010

    I'm all for enamel or bone buttons. They can be expensive but can just as easilly be found cheaply.


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