Ok, so I'm not reinventing the wheel with the idea covered in this post, but I wanted to talk about the simplest way to reinvigorate a cardigan (or shirt or blouse). If you have such a garment that has fallen out of favour and wardrobe rotation, or you picked up something in a charity shop (just as I did recently, see garment below) and it feels a bit 'meh', changing the buttons for nicer ones can make it look and feel almost like a totally new item of clothing.
The tomato red cardigan that I scored in a charity shop last month was in many ways perfect: a lovely '50's shape, soft texture, warm and the perfect size for me. However the buttons were a strange off-orange tone that made the whole garment look really 'granny-ish' (close up below).
I am lucky enough to have a sizeable stash of buttons, many of which I've harvested from garments that were heading to the recycling bank, and I sifted through to find a set that were appropriate in size, quantity and look. It may not surprise you to learn that I have quite a few sets of anchor buttons, but unfortunately they were all sets of six, and this cardi requires seven. In the end I decided on this cute red and white plastic set (pictured below) that have already had a former incarnation on at least one of my garments before this. I really like these buttons, probably because they remind me of sweets!
Two great things about changing the buttons on a garment is that, A) it doesn't take very long, and B) you can do it again and again if you get bored quickly or find cuter sets of buttons later on than the set you originally plumbed for. One point to mention about sizing: if you find new buttons that are a little smaller than the ones you wish to replace, it's not a problem if you are prepared to spend a little extra time stitching the buttonholes together a little, thus reducing their capacity so the cardigan (or shirt or blouse) doesn't pop open with annoying frequency. However, if you find some fabulous new buttons you want to use that are bigger than the initial buttons, creating bigger holes may prove to be quite a headache and you risk fraying the buttonholes. That said, you could stitch the buttonholes closed completely, stitch the new bigger buttons on top of the former buttonholes, and apply poppers/press studs behind for a functional closure.
Because I'm basically a button junky, and simply looking a pretty buttons can provide some sort of fix, I checked out the current stock at vintage button purveyor The Polished Button's Etsy shop, to see what kind of cardigan appropriate items they may have. My favourites right now are, the gold stud buttons pictured at the top of this post, the black and gold mod style buttons pictured above and the white oval buttons pictured below.
One final idea for replacing buttons even if you don't have an appropriate set in your stash and don't want to buy any especially is to create a cute mixed look like the cardigan pictured below. (Yes this is the third time I've used this Pinterest pin to illustrate a blog post in recent months. That is how enamoured I am by it.)