Interesting that you say that, not just because I agree, but he also dedicated about 2 and a half pages in "My Dear Bomb" to buttons and their placement on garments. I have that chapter all typed out somewhere...was planning on posting on my tumblr but never got around to it.
EDIT -Warning: Stream of consciousness - sometimes contradictory - rambling on buttons, rapture, design without buttons, and danger in fashion (Click to show)
There is a perfect point, a point of rapture. In the world of fashion, there is the ideal point for even a button. One dons a jacket and buttons it. The relative weight of the jacket gathers at precisely that point. It is at that instant that the garment comes to life and the button has fulfilled its destiny.
The life or death of a garment depends on finding the point of rapture for that button. A garment may have three buttons, or six, but it is the location of that single button that is the key. The other buttons are but useful foot soliders.
If the location is the right one, the body of the jacket will slide slightly to the sides when the button is undone. The garment changes depending on what is done with that button. While each garment is different, the general rule is to place the button at the hollow of the solar plexus. That is the point of rapture.
A thriller will often include a scene in which somebody undoes the button of their jacket as they draw their pistol from underneath. The button serves as the point at which an individual's determination is revealed. That one button, that single point, determines whether or not one breaks through to the other side.
When the buttons are clumsily placed, a garment loses all its impact. There are advantages to experimenting with the functions of a button as long as one keeps the fundamentals in mind, but even here playing too loosely and casually with the button will appear as a trite little game to even a novice. The more professional one becomes, the less one wants to use buttons. Taken to the extreme, one works for a garment that closes in the front even without the aid of buttons. That is truly good design.
It is better not to dye the buttons to match the color of the garment. This is not an issue when using white or black, but the different materials used for garments and buttons will result ultimately in hues that do not match. Round buttons are the easiest to use. Other shapes have a story to tell, they will exaggerate the button's function as a point on the garment. One should choose the size of the button - thin and subtle ones or buttons with some bulk, depending on the circumstances. The relationship between the garment and the button is something like that between the shoe and the shoelace.
Buttons and fasteners have different roles to play. While a button will pull together the power of the fabric, fix it in place, and also release it, the fastener interrupts the flow of a garment. Used properly, a fastener can express a sense of modernism; if it is too concrete, it makes the garment crass.
In creating a silhouette, buttons are essentially unnecessary. When the fabric has some elasticity, however, the silhouette changes with the undoing of each and every button. It is sometimes possible to shape the silhouette through the placement of buttons.
Undoing buttons may reduce a garment to nothing more than a piece of cloth, and that would be the heigh of irresponsibility. Such garments are dangerous for those who wear them.
A feeling of safety and security leads soon to boredom. What has driven fashion through the ages is, at bottom, the way it plays with danger. To have something that hints at danger, something that confounds the conventional understanding of sexy: such wild and untamed elements are what make a garment alluring. Pushing beyond this to transcend the dangerous leads to nonsense, childishness, absurdity. And next comes white heat, a state of unconsciousness.