Can Your Buttons Change the Way You Look at the World?

When was the last time you looked down at your clothes and took a minute to appreciate your buttons?

I’m guessing probably never, but if you have, CONGRATULATIONS! You are already well on your way to the point of this article: taking a minute for the small wonders we encounter every day.

So… why the button? It may seem like an odd thing to celebrate. I mean, we’ve landed men on the moon, and we have the technology to help the blind see with their tongues, why are we still celebrating the button?

The answer is simple.

I’ll argue (and I’ve got at least one very well beloved designer to back me up here) that the button is one of those staples we under appreciate because it is so perfect. Like bread, it is ubiquitous: it can be fancy and ornate, or simple and utilitarian. And it’s so good, it hasn’t changed much over the 4000 years it’s been around!

How many modern-day conveniences can we say that about?

If this argument hasn’t convinced you yet, I’m going to let the ever exciting and enthusiastic designer Isaac Mizrahi take you on a little journey that might leave you a little transformed! Here he is explaining the wonders of the button in TED‘s amazing series, Small Thing Big Idea.

It’s the Small Wonders…

There you are! All the wonders of the button laid out in front of you. What else are we underestimating?

Buttons, like so many of the small wonders around us, so well illustrate the ingenuity of humanity. Imagine the first time somebody realized they could create a button and buttonhole. It was probably a fairly uncelebrated moment that has now gone on to change the course of humanity in its own little way.

Growing up, the hobby horses I would make using old socks were never perfect until I found the right button eyes to bring them to life. I still admire somebody who can unbutton a cuff and roll up their sleeves with ease. (The button-based anecdotes could go on and on.) Maybe you’ve had a “perfect button” story yourself.

It’s wonderful to think that each one of us is capable of that kind of simple, world-changing little innovation. As the saying I just made up goes, “We all button our shirt the same way.”

More joyously, it’s beautiful that we’re all surrounded by these tiny little wonders. All we have to do is take the time to appreciate them. What’s more perfect than a freshly sharpened pencil? Or our Grandma’s cookie recipe? The sound of opening a beer or soda on a hot day?

So ask yourself, what small wonders will you encounter today? And then, when “the big things” seem a bit overwhelming, remember how many simple wonders and pleasures we find around us every day. 

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.” – Leo Buscaglia

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


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