#GoodOlDays: Make The Buttonhole Vertical Again!

Image used for representation only

Do you remember the past? It was glorious.

I speak of yore, of yesteryear, of days gone by. There isn’t a definitive date I have in mind, no concrete time period for defining my before and after. I am simply saying that at one point of time, life was better in some respects than it is now.

Life before the smart phone, for example, when neither the adjective nor the noun were around, and there were therefore no happy birthday messages on Whatsapp. Or before the advent of email, and when “circling back” was more likely to refer to a scene from a classic Western than an annoying, anodyne corporate blah-ism. Those days. Simpler times.

Like, for example, the times when shirts would have buttonholes that made sense. Have you noticed, dear reader, how shirts these days have button holes that go in the following order: vertical, vertical, vertical, vertical, vertical – and then horizontal.

There you are, rushed and in a hurry, standing in front of the mirror in a state of at least partial déshabillé, trying to look as presentable as possible, when your fingers, long accustomed to a particular routine, run into a problem.

It isn’t your usual button, meet buttonhole and buttonhole this is button routine. No, this one is different. Suddenly the fingers on the right hand have to change their angle, their orientation and their approach, and you stare down at the lower reaches of your upper garment in utter confusion.

Why? Why this complication?

And having invested some time and effort on this question, dear reader, I have an answer for you. It may not please you (it didn’t please me), but the answer is very much there: that horizontal buttonhole, it would seem, is there for our convenience.

Buttons and buttonholes that will lie behind the trouser rather than over it face more stress than those that lie above the trouser. So say the apparel manufacturers these days. And in an effort to reduce the stress on these buttons and their buttonholes, they’ve decided to change centuries of protocol, and go horizontal.

Now, I have nothing against horizontal. It’s how I aim to spend most of my day, and if possible, my life.

But I strenuously object to my shirt, of all things, providing me with a hand-eye coordination problem so early in the a.m. because of its proclivity for being in the reclining position. Especially when, at least in my experience, the buttons that pop off are rarely the ones at the very bottom.

And if anybody’s stress ought to be reduced, I’d suggest it ought to be that of the wearer of the damn shirt, rather than a button on it. As I said at the beginning, that’s how it used to be in the days of yore, back when the world was a simpler place.

But whichever shirt one buys today, this accursed, unasked for bit of torture comes free with it. All vertical buttonholes, as god meant them to be, except for the last. This, if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, is worthy of a protest march.



Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni