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Shirt buttons made of MOP *and* plastic?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
On Saturday I picked up a MTM shirt manufactured by Individualized Shirts, expecting it to have mother of pearl buttons. The buttons look to me like they are MOP, except that they have an opaque white back that is plastic. The shop owner looked embarassed when I asked, as he assured me the buttons would be MOP, and he didn't have answers to my questions. Are buttons made that have MOP in front, with a thin plastic backing? Is there a definitive test I can do to distinguish MOP from plastic? I've read in various threads that MOP is cooler, etc., but I really can't tell using this method. FWIW, I recently ordered a MTM blazer with MOP buttons, so I've seen MOP recently. The shirt buttons have the same shine (with alternating dark and bright shiny reflective bands), but the reflected light doesn't show the same range of colors as the MOP blazer buttons (I'll post pictures if it would help and if I can borrow a camera).
post #2 of 16
One off the rack shirt I bought a year or so ago had mother-of-pearl buttons, and they were like the ones you're describing.
post #3 of 16
Those were plastic buttons.
Sometimes B grade Mop buttons will have bits of the outer shell showing on the back side of the button.
Trochas buttons often have colored bits of shell on the back of the button.
The patterns will be irregular. some plastic buttons will imitate that look as well.
They just do not feel the same or sparkle in the same way.

Some plastic buttons are blended with pearl dust.

Carl
post #4 of 16
What Carl said. Plastic can mimick pretty much anything. The best test I've found is the "tooth" test: click the buttons against your teeth. MOP will deliver a very sharp, high "click," while plastic will be duller and lower in sound, a little more like a "clack." That's about the best I can think to describe them.
post #5 of 16
Putting your hand in a box full of MOP buttons is a fantastic feeling.

Cool and smoth to the touch.

I mean It is not as if I spend my day in a box of buttons.
Sometimes when I am bored i will stroke a piece of 200/2. Now that is heaven!

Carl
post #6 of 16
I can't resist, Carl. Sorry.
post #7 of 16
Between shoe porn and fabric fetishism, I am so glad my work computer does not have a filter, or I would never be able to access this forum.
post #8 of 16
I've wondered about this as well.

most of my shirts have pink or red coloring on the backs of the buttons. I'm pretty sure those with the white plastic layer on the back is plastic. Sometimes these plastic buttons even have pink lacquer unevenly applied to the back to simulate the shell.

On my Banana Republic shirts (I know), the buttons are cut in an irregular fashion and are real shell with no plastic backing.

Are the red backed buttons troca shells?
My genuine MOP buttons don't have red backs.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirtmaven
Sometimes B grade Mop buttons will have bits of the outer shell showing on the back side of the button.

That makes sense. This describes Jantzen's MOP buttons where the back half of the button is discoloured.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Carl et al. The button backs are completely regular, completely smooth white. Last night, I compared the buttons on the MTM shirt with the MOP buttons on a Chan shirt and plastic buttons on a Lands' End shirt. My MTM shirt buttons look exactly like the plastic buttons on the LE shirt, only a little thicker. I'll do Teacher's "tooth test" tonight.

I need to talk with the store owner to see if I can specify MOP buttons next time (I honestly think he didn't ask me about button type and I forgot to specify). I paid $139 for this shirt and for that price, I really want MOP buttons.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirtmaven
Putting your hand in a box full of MOP buttons is a fantastic feeling.

Cool and smoth to the touch.

I mean It is not as if I spend my day in a box of buttons.
Sometimes when I am bored i will stroke a piece of 200/2. Now that is heaven!

Carl

The tailor i'm having make my shirts gave me an interesting demonstration when we were talking about buttons and my disdain for plastic ones. He brought out two bags, one with 1000 MOP buttons and the other with 3000 plastic ones. The bag with 3000 plastic buttons was significantly lighter.
post #12 of 16
Trochas buttons either have green backs or red backs. the button is also a bit creamy. I do not think there is a difference in quality.


The best MOP buttons are whiter then trochas. Ijust bought a box of MOP buttons that inthe box have a yellow cast. On the shirts they look just fine.


thinman, I hate to tell you this, but most MTM shirts at $139 will come with plastic buttons. You can ask the storeowner, but he might have to charge you more.

There is one custom shirtmaker that I know who charges over $200 for a shirt and always uses plastic unless a customer requests shell buttons.

Carl
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek
The tailor i'm having make my shirts gave me an interesting demonstration when we were talking about buttons and my disdain for plastic ones. He brought out two bags, one with 1000 MOP buttons and the other with 3000 plastic ones. The bag with 3000 plastic buttons was significantly lighter.

Why didn't I think of that? I'll order my next shirt with 1000 buttons so I can weigh the shirt to tell if the buttons are MOP or plastic. Or I could just order 200 shirts.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirtmaven
thinman, I hate to tell you this, but most MTM shirts at $139 will come with plastic buttons. You can ask the storeowner, but he might have to charge you more.

There is one custom shirtmaker that I know who charges over $200 for a shirt and always uses plastic unless a customer requests shell buttons.

Carl

Carl, thanks for posting again. This is partially why I mentioned the price, in the event you could tell me I was expecting too much for my money. Although I'd prefer MOP buttons (and would pay more for them), my real disappointment arose because the store owner told me I would be getting MOP buttons and thus raised my expectations.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirtmaven
Trochas buttons either have green backs or red backs. the button is also a bit creamy. I do not think there is a difference in quality.

The best MOP buttons are whiter then trochas. Ijust bought a box of MOP buttons that inthe box have a yellow cast. On the shirts they look just fine.


I can easily recognize real MOP, but oftentimes I'll see a shirt by Zegna or some brand of similar quality, and while I know the buttons are shell, I wonder whether they're MOP or Trocas. They generally lack the rainbow effect of MOP and are more offwhite than white, but they do have clean backs. I've never seen a button with green or red backs... Salespeople usually say they're MOP but we can all agree that most salespeople don't know much. So are these infact trocas buttons?
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