This humble item goes unnoticed and taken for granted by some designers and consumers. But there was a moment in history (around the middle of the 13th century) when someone thought "I have an idea!" and they designed the button as we know it. Actually, buttons have been around since the Bronze age, but they were strictly decorative. The big idea was actually, the buttonhole! Before that, people used ties, toggles, and pins to fix and fasten clothing. They became mass produced during the industrial revolution and the rest is history...
Buttons can be made of many wonderful, or not so wonderful, materials - everything from diamonds to plastic, fabric to coconut shells. They can blend with the garment or stand out. Whatever the desired look, the quality of the garment and the skill of the designer can be revealed in the buttons chosen.
Anyone interested in buttons can find whole books written on the subject (on Amazon).
The photos at the top are all from etsy sellers.
Pine buttons from Woods of Narnia
Glass buttons from Treasure Booth
Clay buttons from Ruth Robinson Ceramics