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three different lapel buttonholes

Custom Details – The Milanese Buttonhole

Henry A. Davidsen is proud to continue its partnership with Career Wardrobe as the COVID-19 pandemic has such a profound impact on employment in our region. Please read about Career Wardrobe’s OutFIT for Work campaign and how Henry A. Davidsen is supporting it.

We say it all the time: in the world of custom clothing, the small stuff is everything. Details matter, no matter how small they may be. Whether we utilize a made-to-measure or full custom process, clients at our Philadelphia showroom have full control over every detail of their garments. One of these custom details – the Milanese buttonhole – has become increasingly popular, so we’d like to discuss it here.

What is a Milanese Buttonhole?

It’s common but erroneous to think the term “Milanese buttonhole” refers to a particular shape. It’s more a question of how the buttonhole is cut and sewn.

For a little bit of history, the story goes that the Milanese buttonhole was invented in Italy but popularized in France. This explains the existence of the French term boutonnière Milanaise. But what makes it so special?

Your standard buttonhole is first stitched by machine, and then cut into a functioning buttonhole afterwards. This makes for a perfectly fine, useful buttonhole that will hold a lapel flower, a boutonniere, or whatever else you might like.

A Milanese buttonhole, on the other hand, involves cutting the buttonhole and then very carefully stitching afterward. It uses a unique piece of thread called a “gimp” that the tailor hand-stitches around the buttonhole. See the picture below: the leftmost lapel has a standard buttonhole, while the other two are Milanese versions:

three different lapel buttonholes

The result is a raised, tactile buttonhole that will serve as a reminder of the additional handwork done on your jacket. In our opinion, it’s one of those “perfect” custom details – subtle enough for even the soberest dresser to wear, but unique enough to only really be available in the custom industry. For men who are interested in signaling to the world that they’re “in the know” as it relates to custom garments, a Milanese buttonhole is a tasteful way to do so.

Different Milanese Buttonhole Shapes

As we mentioned above, the Milanese buttonhole comes in more than just one shape. Here are five that we offer at Henry A. Davidsen:

milanese buttonhole illustrations

As you begin to curve the shape of the buttonhole one way or the other, it becomes more and more noticeable. While this isn’t necessarily a negative, it’s something to be conscious of when you’re dressing yourself. If you have a penchant for a certain buttonhole style, it can become part of your style personality. Be mindful of how this can impact your image – it can help or hinder, but you need to know who your audience is either way.

Next Steps

There are plenty of other custom details to talk about in our clothes. Ready to take the next step? Give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email us at info@henrydavidsen.com to see what we can do for you and your image. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these other image and style blog posts :

Please consider supporting those that have been displaced due to COVID-19 to get back on their feet with a donation to Career Wardrobe’s OutFIT for Work campaign.  $50 provides a full interview outfit for an individual seeking employment.

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