Buttons - Turn Ups In Pants - And Bales Of Fine Wool
April 7th, 2004
A brief History Of Buttons -
Mother-of-pearl shells are used on only the high end shirts made by the most reputable of manufacturers. A species used for little and medium size buttons is in most of the cases Trocus niloticus. The bigger ones, instead, are made from the shells of Pinctata margaritifera, Turbo marmoratus and Haliotis. Those made from Haliotis ("The Ear Shell") are most likely to be the most particular ones with the iridescent reflect of the pearly lining reflecting all the shades of blue and green.
It is thought the button originated in 2000 BC in southern Asia around the Indus Valley region to be used as a decoration while pins and belts served as fasteners. These buttons were seashells carved into various geometrical shapes and pierced with two holes for attaching. Early Greeks and Romans used shell, and wood buttons, sometimes attaching them to pins; other early European ruins unearthed buttons of ivory, bone, jeweled, gold and silver.
It wasn´t until sometime in the 13th century that the idea of a buttonhole and button was conceived. Here are a few notable dates in the button hall of fame:
- 1200s Western Europe - tighter fitting clothing and more delicate fabrics required less harmful closings than pins which led to the modern, functional button.
- 1300s-1400s -- Button mania ensued with excesses of buttonholes covering nearly every inch of garments. Peaked by 15th century when jeweled and gold buttons returned as decorations.
- 1500s - Handmade covered buttons popular during Elizabethan era.
- 1520 - King Francis I of France ordered 13,400 gold buttons to fasten a black velvet suit for his meeting with Henry VII of England about an alliance. Henry himself was just as vain and button bedecked.
- 1600s - Diamond buttons were desirable. The First Duke of Buckingham had a suit and cloak covered with them around 1625. King Louis XIV of France spent $600,0000 in one year on his buttons and a mere $5 million on them during
- 1700s - Richly embroidered buttons were made over wood molds and fastened at back with criss-crossed coarse threads. Popular for men´s coats and waistcoats. Mid to end of century tended toward bigger buttons and a return to metallic, especially crucible steel for men´s fashions. Today, buttons are made in every material imaginable, from gold and silver to ivory and amber to plastic and imitation pearl made of polyester
About Turn ups in Pants - also known as Cuffs
For some time after the introduction of trousers men would commonly rollup the bottoms to keep them out of mud and water. The advantage of knee breeches worn in the 18th Century was that the hem was high enough off the ground that they were not likely to be soilded. The stockings worn with knee breeches were much easier to launder. In the early 1890s, the sporting country look with cuffs (turn-ups) was first tailored on to city trousers, but the response was far from positive. There was an uproar in the House of Parliament when in 1893 a certain Viscount Lewisham appeared wearing cuffs on his trousers. However by the early years of the 20th Century cuffs had become an accepted variation on regular trouser bottoms.
And Bales of Fine Wool sell for $496,000!
Destined to be turned into fashionable suits
A Chinese clothing manufacture paid A$675,000 (US$496,000) yesterday for a bale of Australian wool finer than cashmere of human hair, to be turned into fashionable suits.
The bale (90-kilogram, 198-pound) of wool, grown on sheep living in a low stress air-conditioned shed and fed a special diet was bought at auction in Sydney by Shanghai-based Hengyuanxiang Corp.
Its representative said suits made from the wool would sell for up to US$80,000, with other fashionable clothes also to be made from the feathery fleece that almost floats on ones hand.
"We are very happy to but this bale. In fact, we are quite pleased, because this bale is worth more than a million (Australian dollars)," said the representative, Frank Yao of wool trader Kaythaytet.
A bale of superfine Australian wool, widely used in the fashion industry, is normally worth around A$1,000, but farmers Rick and Bim Goodrish had hoped for the bale grown on their sheltered sheep, whose home is dubbed the Waldorf Astoria.
The bale had been locked in a bank vault under armed guard in the lead up to yesterday´s auction.
The wool sold yesterday is special because its fiber has a diameter of just 11.9 microns -- the first ever to be less than 12 microns and up to 26% finer than wool normally used for cashmere clothing.
Average wool produced in Australia is 20 microns in diameter.
From Ask Men and The Bangkok Post