Buttons are so ubiquitous that you may have never given them a second thought, but delve into the history of buttons and you’ll discover art, fashion, socio-economics, politics, workmanship, and production. A fascinating journey through history, found in the tiny, commonplace button.

Buttons à la Mode: How Buttons Make Fashion traces the journey of the button from its humble beginnings as a piece of less-than-functional jewellery to its increasingly ornate, luxurious, and essential place in men’s and women’s fashion. From carved shell and mother-of-pearl to elaborate metal picture buttons, and Queen Victoria’s black-glass trend to novelty buttons of the 1930s, the styles, shapes, and types of buttons are endless. Buttons à la Mode draws from the collection of the North Lanark Regional Museum and the members of the Ottawa Valley Button Club and includes everything from an Edwardian wedding gown to a traditional Turkish vest.

While you’re here, browse the antique and vintage buttons available for sale or pick up your own stylish button bracelet, made with antique glass and metal buttons.

Buttons à la Mode: How Buttons Make Fashion will be on display at the North Lanark Regional Museum (647 River Road) until the end of June and is open year-round Monday-Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and August, from 1pm-4pm.