If you’re like me and go for that bit of vintage flare, or just want to spruce up an old jacket a button change can do wonders.

One of the greatest thing in men’s style is that we don’t have a great amount of competition, so when we pay attention to the details people (especially women) notice.

I’m a big advocate of always being confident in what you wear (although I frequently push myself, and look back a few months later laughing as “that” was pushing my style envelope!). Anyway, getting back to the point, make sure the change you go for is one you can step out in and own it! Also be aware of your situation…as  the jacket below would most likely not be the best option for a formal job interview. Know when to keep your style classic, and when you can be a little more fashion forward.

The Sports Coat In Question

I picked up this old windowpane jacket from a vintage store in Old City Philadelphia, it cost me $10. To be fair it’s a little grubby and had a button missing, but I loved the windowpane fabric and style with nice ticket pocket.

So I had a plan to replace the buttons, and get a good dry cleaning to give this great piece a new lease on life.

Vintage Mens Sports Jacket

Street Style jackets needed button replaced on sleeve

Jacket detail showing ticket pocket and buttons

The Button Selection

I went to Fabric Row (in Philadelphia) to go scope out some replacement buttons. There is obviously a ridiculously large amount of options to choose from. I was tempted to go a little too edgy with some blue numbers from the first picture, but ended up selecting some bottle green buttons for a more refined look. I especially like the large front buttons as have a “galaxy” kinda swirl in white (just see the pictures…).

The sleeve buttons were $0.25 each, and the large front jacket buttons were $0.35 each.

Sleection Of Buttons For Mens Suit Jacket

Mens Fashion Button Selection for Jacket In Philly shop

Large Front Suit Jacket Buttons For Replacement

Overall I was happy with the selection, and got four sets that day for different vintage jackets I wanted to mix up some style notes with, so look out for those in the future….

The Button Change Out

Once I had the buttons ready, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to change out all the buttons on the jacket. That may be a little slow but I love to have clean and consistent stitches.

Items needed to change suit buttons

Changing a jacket button with needle and thread

Setp ff button replacement

Just for your information I got several quotes for replacing the button. There was a huge variance from $80 for the entire suit set at a custom clothier, to $1 per button at my dry cleaners.  As for me I was happy to quickly switch them out getting my desired stitch pattern, etc…

Final Result

The final jacket with new buttons was under $15, but was I estimate 1-2 hours of time with travel for buttons, etc… So not an overly efficient operation. But I did get buttons for four jackets, and there is a good feeling for doing some things yourself. All day I am usually working on a computer, so it’s nice to get ones hands onto something tangible.

buttons, needle, spool, and thread

Button on suit sleeve

Best new buttons on sportscoat

This is the first time I have changed buttons out in a very long time, but think I will make it a more regular occurrence to mix a jackets style up from time to time.

Let me know what you think of the new buttons, and what your favorite “do it yourself” project is….?

About the Author:

Paul Anthony is the founder and creative director at Bespoke Unit. He has had a life long affair with design, watches, fragrance and clothing. Originally from England, he now lives in the USA splitting time between NYC & Philly. Favoring "British Style", but has an overall eclectic taste.


  1. Glenda Watkins September 29, 2017 at 2:51 am - Reply

    What.does 4 button
    Mean on the sleeve of a man suit

    • Michael Oxman October 2, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Hi Glenda,

      Just a reference to the typical number of button’s on a man’s jacket sleeve, that’s all!

      Thanks for reading!


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