04 Feb2012

Tender Buttons…

by Marketman

Tender Buttons is apparently the only dedicated button shop in the United States, operating continuously for 47 years since it opened in 1965! I snapped these photos of Tender Buttons (named after a book by Gertrude Stein written in 1914), a small shop on 62nd Street in New York on our last trip there (we stayed a few blocks away). I don’t know why I stopped, other than I recall passing the shop several times in the last 30 years, and it’s the kind of place my mother would literally spend a few days browsing in… The shop has an interesting history, see their website, here, if interested, and have a look at some of the tens of thousands of buttons they have in the store.

Many high quality garments these days use shell or mother of pearl buttons, though more and more use plastic or synthetic materials. It was interesting to see leather buttons in the display window… and made me realize just how many different materials could in fact be used as buttons or clothing “fasteners”… I have a shearling coat with “horn” fasteners in lieu of buttons, for example. At any rate, I know this post is out of the ordinary for this blog, but just in case you need a special button or two, now you know where to get it. :)



  1. Shalimar says:

    I love that shearling coats with horns. Very classic. There are few shops here in Athens specialising on buttons too. But in Italy and France you can find the weekly antique market selling old pieces.

    Feb 4, 2012 | 6:38 am


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  3. NYCMama says:

    lOVE this store! Many times i wish i had quick access to a “modista” just so i could use the lovely buttons in here! I have a friend who would buy buttons here, and then frame them!

    Feb 4, 2012 | 11:34 am

  4. Guits says:

    Had I just seen the picture and not read the text, I would have thought those were chocolates and marzipan!

    Feb 4, 2012 | 12:07 pm

  5. atbnorway says:

    I am actually thinking MUTTON right now, LOLZ! I am readying more than a kilo of salted lamb ribs for cooking this evening. But I do love updating old coats and jackets by changing their buttons so I always take a tour to the haberdasher. Many haberdasheries all over Norway have the same name—Syskrinet— The Sewing Box.

    Feb 4, 2012 | 12:34 pm

  6. millet says:

    so hard to find good buttons here in davao, all i see are the plastic, made-in-china kind. i once had a coat with those rolled-up leather strips (toggles, i think they’re called) with matching leather loops.

    Feb 4, 2012 | 1:51 pm

  7. Biy says:

    I hope theyll use buttons if ever we ran out of coins…

    Feb 4, 2012 | 5:47 pm

  8. robin says:

    re ur poll, perhaps now is a good time to watch downton abbey, he he

    Feb 4, 2012 | 6:27 pm

  9. EJ says:

    There’s a fascinating shop here in Amsterdam selling buttons, too. It used to sell only buttons but now also sells other stuff. Certainly worth a look the next time you visit Amsterdam.


    P.S. Am not connected with this store or its owner.

    Feb 4, 2012 | 6:32 pm

  10. Footloose says:

    The husband noticed a few missing buttons on his business shirts that his wife who laundered and ironed them seemed so completely oblivious about. He wanted desperately for her to notice the missing buttons and replace them so he hatched a plan to locate a few fairly large buttons and tentatively sewed them on just to catch her attention. And notice she did; she made the buttonholes larger.

    When I was having polo-barongs made, I specified mother of pearl buttons but tailors back there invariably insisted on using pearly plastic buttons. I finally tired of butting heads with the tailors so I just supplied them the buttons that I like from my collection of extras that came with fine shirts you get here.

    Feb 4, 2012 | 8:29 pm

  11. rita says:

    good to know that such business in the States are still running and going strong. kudos to them!

    Feb 8, 2012 | 2:40 am

  12. Tracy says:

    Button Button in Vancouver also sells only buttons/fasteners. I think it’s in the Gaslight district? Although I’ve actually never been; I planned on going while on vacation, but I got stuck in the suburbs.

    Feb 8, 2012 | 5:51 am

  13. sister says:

    It was your mother’s favorite store. A block from Bloomingdale’s made it even better.

    Feb 8, 2012 | 12:10 pm


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