Style and Styling

Style Inspo–Art

All Buttoned Up

Happy day, Reader Dear!

Where do you find style inspiration?


Store displays?

Catalogs and magazines?


The street?

How about at the museum?

During spring break, I spent the week on a mini-pilgrimage of sorts. One day, I my travels took me to the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens to visit the exhibition, Weath and Beauty:  Pier Francesco Foschi and Painting in Renaissance Florence. Foschi’s work was stunning and the colors rich and vibrant, but the work that has haunted me since has nothing, No. Thing., to do with Foschi or the Renaissance.

The work that haunts me still is one of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits.

The painting behind has a hold on me, too. More on that in another post…

Now, this may not be your taste in art, but stick with me. This piece was riveting. The scale. The detail. The textures. Are you wondering how this could inspire my (or your) style? At first glance you might think a white column of color with rainbow accents and you wouldn’t be wrong. Inspiration comes in many forms. But,

A Closer Look…

This sleeve and jacket detail! That’s a black and gold brocade underneath all those buttons.

The Buttons

Apparently more than one of Cave’s Soundsuits are covered in buttons. My mind first jumped to the Pearly Kings and Queens.A button covered suit would be heavy and uncomfortable for everyday wear. Not practical! Imagine sitting on all those buttons! But(ton), seriously, buttons are underrated.

Everyday Style-Buttons

Where does this inspo go for everyday? One of the easiest ways to change a garment is to change the buttons! My Navy uniform suit jacket (from 1986) made the transition to civilian life and lived well into the 2000’s with multiple button changes. At one time it sported silver cherub buttons. Another, black laquer. Still another, gold buttons with multicolored jewels in the center. I miss that jacket. I wore it to death.

Recently, I suggested a client change the gold buttons on a croppped tweed jacket to woven leather and now it feels perfect for her more relaxed life and style. That’s a style win!

Other Button Ideas

Why not trim the edges of a jacket with buttons? Of whatever color suits your fancy. Think Chanel/Nick Cave/Pearlies mash-up. Or sew your plain white shirt buttons on using different stitches? I see plus signs, minus signs and equals above. A four hole button can also be sewn on in an arrow design. Or a Z. Why not use embroidery floss of multiple colors to sew on your buttons? I’d love to see a white button down with black buttons sewn in multiple floss colors! Or why not choose multiple colored buttons? That’s what I did last year when I saw this shirt on my discard pile and realized the bright white buttons were what bothered me.

Now I wear it every week. Why did pink, green and light and dark blue buttons feel right? That I can’t tell you. But it did. An easy start? Choose buttons in your favorite color and use them to add some spark to an ordinary piece. Basic doesn’t have to mean boring!

All this button talk has me thinking about sewing buttons in a floral pattern on the lapel of a jacket… How does that sound to you?

How About You?

If you want to learn more about Nick Cave and his Soundsuits, this Public Delivery article is a start. What do you think of the Soundsuit? If the Soundsuit isn’t your thing, maybe this post about art inspiring a color palette will be more your style! Where do YOU find your style inspo? Are you a button-front shirt wearer? Have you ever made a button necklace or bracelet? Do you ever change the buttons on you clothes for a style refresh? How would you use buttons to personalize your style? Do tell! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,


  • Rebecca

    Hi Liz! Thanks so much for mentioning that you were in the Navy. I’m also a Navy gal and I kept a few pieces of uniform as well. I would have never thought of swapping out the buttons on my dress blue jacket, but I’ll keep in in the back of my mind now. Sadly, I lost my working jacket (for dungarees) several years ago, and I never wear my Eisenhower, however it does seem to be much like a Members Only jacket, no? ;-). I’m glad I found you while traveling on vacation looking for inspiration for some crazy fun shoes I just bought. I’m an artsy cute with an occasional rocker or retro edge, depending on my mood or venue (work or play).

    • Liz K

      Welcome, Rebecca! So glad you found me! I never would have thought to keep my dungaree jacket, but I still have my dungaree shirt… It’s my painting shirt, stencil and all!


    Liz, I’m one that can be inspired by most anything to create a wardrobe and a color scheme!! Colors really draw my eye!! I love find a blouse I find fabulous and putting together a wardrobe from this blouse!! I no longer can shop stores but I shop on-line which can be amazing or flustating!! I don’t enjoy putting together clothing as much since being heavier. I know it’s sad. Sad for me too. Trying my best!!! Best friend helping me organize my clothing for Spring & Summer since I’ve had a very difficult time pain wise. I do think I’m improving a bit!! Todays hubby’s birthday so we will celebrate but I don’t even feel like dressing up!!! So not like me!!!! Really enjoy your post!!!

  • Gail McKelvey

    I change buttons all the time. What comes to mind is a fussy teenage daughter that had a hissy fit because the buttons on this cardigan where, gasp, GOLD! Changed them to silver and she was happy. When she moved out and I got the sweater, I changed them again to cream to match the sweater! Dry cleaning can kill metal buttons so off they come and new plain ones go on. I guess I don’t like buttons that draw attention and prefer ones that match the clothing. I have done exactly what you did though and did mismatch colors of the same button. And, I love button man!

    • Liz K

      Dry cleaning can be hard on many buttons! Even plastic ones don’t always come through gracefully… The whole Soundsuit series sent me down an art and movement rabbit hole! Hope the daughter is less fussy now that she’s grown!

  • Sally in St Paul

    Your shirt with the pastel buttons is so cute! I need to keep this idea of switching out the buttons in mind. It reminds me of an old mirrored dressing table my mom and I refurbished when I was a kid. We painted it white and I selected the prettiest white knobs with intricate pink flowers on them. Those knobs made SUCH a difference to the final look. So I can definitely see how changing the buttons on a shirt/jacket could have the same effect.

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