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Right after Jack and I put down our bags in our friends’ guest room Wednesday in the little town of Hart, Germany, my eyes fell on the cache of buttons.

I wish I could see all the clothes these buttons came from.

I wish I could see all the clothes these buttons came from.

They had been set aside for me to browse, and I was urged to take anything that caught my fancy.

I wished I had brought more swatches of my stash on this trip. When I laid buttons on fabric I got a much better sense of their potential than I did seeing them on a carpet background.

I favored buttons in multiples but couldn’t resist one big green one that could smartly close a coat all by itself.

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This button stands out even against a cool-colored background…

Here are the ones coming home with me.

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…but it really looks nice against the colors in this wool…

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and colors like the ones in this linen.

The rich

This chunky, simple, pumpkin-colored trio deserves pride of place on a fall coat.

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Although I won’t be pairing these buttons with this tweed, I can still see how they enhance each other.

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No, I’m not putting these together for real. Just some harmless fun.

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Art Deco era, don’t you think? Oh how I wish I could see what garment these buttons originally belonged to. A little cleaning, and they should be gracing a 1930s jacket again. An exciting thought.

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This houndstooth linen is not the best home for these buttons, but I think I would plan a high-contrast color theme in the garment.

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Alas, there are only two of these. What would be a wonderful use for them?

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I like this pairing.

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I almost left these behind. I love the shape, but the coloring is so cool.

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Here’s a swatch of the fabric of my Smart Tailoring, old school “mannish jacket.” The colors in the tweed and the buttons enhance each other so nicely. I’m beginning to see possibilities.

I think I have found something even cuter than a button. How about Eleanor Powell’s dancing partner, Buttons, from 1941’s Lady Be Good?