Round button

Photo Essay: Some of My Buttons

Buttons are a profound and powerful emblem of civilization, or perhaps sadness. They are used extensively in literature whenever a mouse family needs a hat or some plates to set their spool-table. Symbolically rich and expressive of the natural human desire to secure clothes well, buttons are the overlooked stepchild of sartorial fastening, after classic snaps, zippers, and ever-amazing Velcro. In a future photo essay, I might show you some zippers.

Button on shirt

You can find this button on my flannel checkered button-down. Unique among buttons of this particular shirt, it is designed to fit into the lowest, horizontal button slit instead of the regular vertical slits. I’m not sure why that’s interesting, but I pose it here for you to consider.

Jeans button

This button is on a pair of my jeans. It’s a work of art. Do you ever take the time to examine your jeans buttons? You should.

Dark-colored button

Generally, buttons can be sorted according to their size, color, or number of holes.

Multi-colored button

This button is a varietal. Or particolored? Haven’t brushed up on my terms.

Assorted buttons

This is a bunch of buttons that have fallen off various things I own. They speak to the diversity of kinds of loneliness in modern society. Tolstoy said that every unhappy family is unhappy in their own way, and I think that holds for our over-stimulated, socially disconnected, media-battered selves. Indeed, the image of these assorted, abandoned buttons proves that Tolstoy was profoundly right. Yet, at the same time, isn’t being unhappy a feeling that’s the same pretty much everywhere? In that sense, Tolstoy was kind of hilariously wrong, and we all look like idiots for quoting him.

Pants button

This is one of five buttons that substitute for a zipper on one of my cotton pants. They make peeing at a urinal hard.


This was going to be a picture of the solid gold button found on my priciest navy-blue blazer. I never wear that blazer because, for some reason, the makers of that luxury item decided to use SOLID GOLD for the buttons. I’m terrified one would pop off and roll down a drain. However, when I went to retrieve this blazer, I saw that all of the buttons had been stolen, or perhaps fell off owing to being heavy SOLID GOLD. I should probably look on the floor for them. In the meantime, I’ve substituted a picture of a well-worn 1942 penny. It’s round and symbolically powerful, but I’m terrified it’s going to fall in the toilet.

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