My fingers are too big for those little buttons...
July 14, 2008 6:49 PM   Subscribe

How do you hack your dress shirt?

I have to wear suits to work. Joy.

I don't mind it so much I guess, as I've been doing it for years now - but the scourge of my morning is buttoning the buttons on the sleeves and wrists. It seems to take forever, it's frustrating, and it never EVER gets any easier.

To all you other suits out there - do you have any tips or tricks that make buttoning those little rascals any easier?
posted by matty to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total)
"How do you hack your dress shirt?"

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
--Princess Bride

I just button them first before I put my arms through the shoulders and then squeeze my hands through, but I'm lazy and not that bright.
posted by sharkfu at 7:22 PM on July 14, 2008 [8 favorites]

French cuffs? You can even use paperclips on 'em.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:23 PM on July 14, 2008

I think that the traditional method is to ask your wife to do it. If this won't work for you, take your shirts to your tailor and see if they can do something?
posted by desuetude at 7:47 PM on July 14, 2008

Best answer: A tool like this is designed for folks with fine motor disabilities. You poke the wire through the buttonhole, then loop it around the button, then pull it back through the hole with the button. It's easier than it sounds. You could probably hack one together yourself, rather than paying $13.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:04 PM on July 14, 2008

Best answer: This one includes an illustrative photo and is only six bucks.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:07 PM on July 14, 2008

If you have to, you can lay your arm on the table, pinning down one half of the cuff with the weight of your arm.
posted by emelenjr at 8:08 PM on July 14, 2008

Best answer: You could have velcro sewn on and the button hold closed and the button sewn on top (where it would normally appear when closed) so it looks like it's closed normally.
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:16 PM on July 14, 2008

I never unbutton them and my fists are smaller than the arm holes.
posted by cnc at 8:17 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

If your sleeves when buttoned are so tight that you can't put your hands through, you should get bigger shirts or, if necessary, get custom-tailored ones. I'm plumper than I would like to be but I find that I can just button the shirts and stick my hands through them, if necessary extending my fingers and kind of curling up the palm to make the hand narrower.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:28 PM on July 14, 2008

I'd hack that dress shirt by sewing large metal snaps underneath the buttons so they could snap closed instead of button. Minimal sewing required. You could probably hire a seamstress or tailor to do all your dress shirts in one go, for a reasonable cost.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:12 PM on July 14, 2008

My hands are small enough that I don't ever unbutton the sleeves - I can just slip 'em right through if I hold my hand just right. Is that not normal? Velcro on the main buttons is a nice feature, though - either all the way up and down the shirt, or only on the top buttons (leave the bottom buttons as they are, and always buttoned, so you just slip it over your head). The one catch is that the neck is sometimes under too much strain to do this, so if you want to wear a tie, that one might have to stay as a regular button, or you could try rockin' the no-tie look. Depending on how conservative your office is.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:17 PM on July 14, 2008

My sister and I were in charge of buttoning daddy's shirt sleeve buttons when we were little. It helped him get ready for work, and it helped us get better at buttoning buttons. So... got any kids?
posted by vytae at 9:37 PM on July 14, 2008

Best answer: In theatre or live TV, sometimes actors need to change costumes backstage very quickly. To facilitate this, the wardrobe mistress sews snap buttons or velcro into the cuff, then sews the regular button on the top of the cuff, over the buttonhole (as if it were buttoned through the hole). The result is a cuff that actually snaps or velcroes closed, but still looks like a real button in a buttonhole.
Sometimes they put velcro right down the front of the shirt too, which makes for some funny "tear off your clothes" nonsense backstage.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:22 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I only button the sleeve buttons and not the wrist buttons for that slight "French cuff" look. It's my style quirk along with occasional loud socks. If your shirts and suits have well-fitting sleeves, it shouldn't be that noticeable (except by people who specifically notice these nuances).
posted by junesix at 1:51 AM on July 15, 2008

French cuff + cufflinks are easier than the buttons, plus you get to express your individuality a bit more (unless your work environment emphasizes conformity).
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:59 AM on July 15, 2008

Try french cuffs with knots instead of cufflinks. They stretch so you can leave them in your shirts and still fit your hands through the cuffs, and they're less fussy than metal.

These little guys.
posted by muscat at 10:45 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

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