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Custom Suit Hack - Buttons

Custom Suit Hack - Buttons

There are three basic reasons that people buy “custom” suits:

  1. Custom suits are unique.

  2. Custom fits the best.

  3. Custom suits are made the best.

All of those reasons can be true (they aren’t always), but custom suits also generally cost a lot more than off-the rack alternatives. A lot more! Over the years, I have learned how to chip away at (or hack) some of the advantages of custom suits. Today, I want to share one of these hacks with you.

Upgrade the buttons on your suit. Upgrading your buttons is a hack or making your suit unique.

Sound like a pain in the ass? It is not, or not really. It is a few minutes of work, but you can take a tailored off the rack suit (even a modestly priced one), and make it look much better. This hack works at any price (up until the price where you really should be buying true custom and you would be choosing your buttons anyway). Spend $300 on your suit and want to make it look like it cost twice that? Spend $1200 on your suit and want to make it look custom? No problem. Upgrade the buttons!

You just don’t get buttons like that on an off the rack suit.

You just don’t get buttons like that on an off the rack suit.

How do I do it? If you live in a city where you have easy access to a garment district with button stores, great. Go there. Picking buttons out live will be your best bet, but if you don’t you can easily find button retailers online. You can start by checking out or one of the many other options.

What size do I get? Measure the size of the buttons you are changing. There are probably two sizes. The buttons on the front (the bigger ones) and the ones on the sleeves and pants pockets (the smaller ones). Get those sizes.

What buttons should I get? - The answer depends on your style and, more importantly, how often you plan to wear the suit or jacket in question. If you are going to be wearing it once a week or more, go with something classic like a simple horn button or an understated mother of pearl button. If you are wearing it a lot, you do not want the buttons to be loud. You don’t want it to be clear to everyone that you are wearing THAT suit again.


Save “loud” buttons for jackets you will wear less often.

How many buttons should I get? You will need at least 8 small buttons and 2 large buttons for a blazer. (Count the number on your blazer and you need that amount.) I recommend getting a few extra in case one of your “unique” buttons breaks. For pants you will need between 1 and 3. (One for the front and one for each button on a back pocket).

How much will it cost? It depends on the material you choose and how intriquite they are, but you could get a nice set of buttons that will really upgrade your suit/jacket for $20. Once you have the buttons, it should not cost more than $10-15 to have your tailor change them for you.

Trust me, this works. It is the cheapest way to give a suit or jacket a huge style upgrade.

More hacks to come…

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