Trouser Buttons

Dress pants look cool and collected from the outside, but trouser buttons present the wearer with a maze of choices on the inside. What are these buttons? Where did they come from? Are they our friends or enemies? Fear not. Not only do your trouser buttons have names, they also have purposes besides holding up your pants. One especially mysterious and underused button is called the French Fly.


The French Fly is the little button opposite the button tab above your zipper, attaching to the waistband instead of the leg. The French fly takes strain off the main button, allowing the flap of your fly to stay flat. When you forget to zip up your pants, the french fly saves you some embarrassment by keeping the flap closed. Additionally the French Fly keeps your trouser fabric from bunching or wrinkling when you sit or stand. In general, interior trouser buttons also help pants hang elegantly.

These days even casual pants have French Flies, but they remain a hallmark of quality like barn door clasps and jigger buttons. Helper buttons like these are especially useful in that they allow the material to wear more evenly. Multiple buttons are simply more secure--you would not hang a tapestry on one nail alone, why secure your trousers with just the one button. What if it breaks?


When it comes to buttons, use your intuition. You know what a button is for. Insert button into button hole and repeat. No, not all buttons are mandatory. In an informal setting where you do not expect to move much you do not need the strain relief of auxiliary buttons.

If you are not dressing to impress, you might not need the elegant draping extra buttons permit. But you might as well be ready for anything, so button whatever you can. Do you really trust one single button to shield you from embarrassment? Even the best buttons need backup.

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