National Button Day 2022: History, Significance and Activities

National Button Day is annually celebrated on November 16th in the United States. This day celebrates one of the most simple and basic but yet very important accessory in any clothing, which is button! 

In case you may be thinking that buttons do not deserve their own holiday, try to imagine what life would be like without them. Sure, we have zippers and velcro, but could you imagine velcro down the front of your elegant blouse? Of course not! 

The appeal of buttons is clear. They come in every shape, colour and style, from pearly white shirt buttons, to ornate Victorian affairs, to cute fastenings shaped like insects and animals.  

Event National Button Day
Date November 16, 2022
Day Wednesday
Significance The day celebrates the importance of Button in daily lives
Observed by United States


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National Button Day History: 

Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments or seals rather than fasteners have been discovered in the Indus Valley civilization in India during its Kot Diji phase (c. 2800–2600 BC), at the Tomb of the Eagles, Scotland (2200-1800 BC), and at Bronze Age sites in China (c. 2000–1500 BC) and Ancient Rome. Buttons made from seashell were used in the Indus Valley Civilization for ornamental purposes by 2000 BC. Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pierced into them so that they could be attached to clothing with thread. The earliest known button was found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old. 

The mainly American tradition of politically significant clothing buttons appears to have begun with the first presidential inauguration of George Washington in 1789. Known to collectors as “Washington Inaugurals”, they were made of copper, brass or Sheffield plate, in large sizes for coats and smaller sizes for breeches. Made in twenty-two patterns and hand-stamped, they are now extremely valuable cultural artifacts. Between about 1840 and 1916, clothing buttons were used in American political campaigns, and still exist in collections today. 

Because buttons have been manufactured from almost every possible material, both natural and synthetic, and combinations of both, the history of the material composition of buttons reflects the timeline of materials technology. In 1918, the US government made an extensive survey of the international button market in which they found out that the vegetable ivory was the most popular for suits and shirts, and papier-mâché far and away the commonest sort of shoe button. Nowadays, hard plastic, seashell, metals, and wood are the most common materials used in button-making; the others tending to be used only in premium or antique apparel, or found in collections. 

The National Button Society, founded in 1938, established the National Button Day as a celebration for all who enjoyed collecting and crafting with buttons. This day was also designated to give appreciation for the important role which buttons have played since its discovery. And it also celebrates the contribution that buttons are still making today as a clothing accessory! Ever since the formation, National Button Day has been celebrated every year on November 16th which also encourages people to wear more clothes which includes these amazing buttons! 


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National Button Day Significance: 

Button is simple but yet very important and it is one of the earliest invention made by human civilizations. However its large scale usage as a fastener only dates back to 13th Century in Germany. But it is clear that throughout history, people went so crazy for buttons they became a status symbol for a time. Yes it is hard to imagine today that once stylish buttons in clothing was considered a luxury! But beyond all that, those little buttons do a great big job of keeping our clothes together. So they definitely deserves a Appreciation for their important role. 

In modern clothing and fashion design, buttons are commonly made of plastic but also may be made of metal, wood, or seashell. Buttons can also be used on containers such as wallets and bags. Buttons may be sewn onto garments and similar items exclusively for purposes of ornamentation. In the applied arts and craft, a button can be an example of folk art, studio craft, or even a miniature work of art. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact.  

Fashions in buttons have also reflected trends in applied aesthetics and the applied visual arts, with buttonmakers using techniques from jewellery making, ceramics, sculpture, painting, printmaking, metalworking, weaving and others. The things you can make out of buttons are endless. Rings, hair ties, preschool learning games, clothes pin racers, tree ornaments, earrings, magnets, picture frames, and whatever else you can think up. Buttons offer inexpensive rainy day fun, imaginative play for all ages, and are a great cure for boredom.

Some museums and art galleries hold culturally, historically, politically, and/or artistically significant buttons in their collections. The Victoria and Albert Museum has many buttons, particularly in its jewellery collection, as does the Smithsonian Institution. In the US, large button collections are on public display at the Waterbury Button Museum of Waterbury, Connecticut, the Keep Homestead Museum of Monson, Massachusetts, which also hosts an extensive button archive, and in Gurnee, Illinois at The Button Room.  


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National Button Day Activities: 

Wear a shirt on this day to celebrate buttons! Change out the buttons and make it new again. Sew on some shiny metal buttons to give it an on-trend military look, or sew on kitschy novelty buttons to reflect your favorite hobby, animal, or even food. Be unique, original, and eco-friendly all at the same time. So try to be creative with your button designs. 

It is time for you to go a treasure hunt so hit a thrift shop, rummage, or garage sale. Be on the lookout for old clothing with unique buttons. Collectors love finding ones depicting mini works of art, that were worn by famous people, or reflect a certain era. Research to see if any of your finds are worth more than what you paid. 

Take this opportunity to snip buttons from unused pieces of clothing, claim ones you find lying loose, buy novelty ones when it strikes your fancy, or pick ones up on the cheap when thrifting. Then, the next time you need a button, you’ll have a big variety of sizes, shapes and colors from which to choose. 

Most Searched FAQs on National Button Day: 

1. When is National Button Day celebrated? 

National Button Day is annually celebrated on November 16th in US. 

2. Who founded National Button Day? 

National Button Day was founded by National Button Society of America.  

3. Where is the origin of the button? 

The Indus Valley Civilisation are credited with the invention of the button and the earliest one we have in existence today dates from around 2000BCE and is made from a curved shell. 

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