Shirt buttons

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Jay in OKC, May 3, 2003.

  1. Jay in OKC

    Jay in OKC Member

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    How do you tell if a shirt's buttons are plastic or mother-of-pearl?  Can this be done visually, or is there a price point above which the MOP buttons are more common?  Any pointers would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     


  2. Nick M

    Nick M Senior member

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    Jay,

    Mother-of-pearl and other shell buttons are cool to the touch.

    There's probably a 'bite test', too, like the old method for authenticating pearls, but salespeople will give you looks...

    Nick.
     


  3. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's not really a "bite" test, but it involves the teeth. Hold button against teeth, if it feels harder than your teeth (if it could scratch your teeth) it will be mother of pearl; if it's softer, then it's plastic.

    Who cares what looks you get from salespeople?
     


  4. Timothy

    Timothy Senior member

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    If you're too shy to do the "bite test" you can flip the button around and see if the back has flecks of red, and other colors in it. The MoP buttons will, but be warned that this is not a guarantee for I've see plastic buttons imitate this look also. In the end the best way is to just touch it to your teeth. I'm sure the salespeople who know what's up won't look at you weird, it'll just be the ignorant ones.
     


  5. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Senior member

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    If you lay down enough money, the only look you'll get from salespeople is the look of gratitude when you hand over your platinum card...
     


  6. davei

    davei Senior member

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    Novel concept: why not ask the salesperson? [​IMG] A good reputable store should have good staff who can actually tell you the answer (and/or demonstrate) without making you feel like a knob. Given the economy these days, if a store doesn't make you feel like a million bucks, they're not doing a good job.
     


  7. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    In theory, you are right. In practice do you know many salespeople (under the age of fifry) who have knowledge of, or an interest in the items they are selling?

    Unless you find some old boy who has been in the business for forty years or more, nobody is able to answer you any technical questions and just stares at you with total incomprehension.
     


  8. davei

    davei Senior member

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    If we're talking about a big box or department store, I agree with you, it's often difficult or impossible to find knowledgeable help. However the good specialty stores that I frequent (one a fairly large chain that has several mall locations) have excellent salespeople that generally know what they're talking about. There was one time I had a very lively discussion with a late 30s salesperson about the merits of floating canvas vs. fused (with respect to weather and puckering) who knew quite a bit about pattern making, fitting, alterations, etc. Another time I hit upon someone else who could not answer my question (I don't remember exactly, but I think it was something about collar stays on their line of bespoke shirts) but at least called someone who had the correct information.
     


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