Style Advice

Why Do Jeans Have Buttons On The Pockets

what are the buttons on jean pockets

Have you ever stopped to wonder about those small little copper buttons carefully placed on your favourite pair of jeans?

Probably not…

But now you are aware of them, you might like to know why they are there in the first place. Well, there is a practical reason for their existence, and we have the forefather of denim, Levi Strauss to thanks for them.

The history of the denim jean is found in the gold mines of American past. Levi Strauss came up with the concept of denim due to other fabrics being used by miners wearing out too quickly. The buttons on jean pockets is also a precautionary emblem to prevent wear and tear.

Miners had a habit of putting gold and tools in their pockets. The weight of these objects would make the pockets of their jeans tear. Jacob Davis a tailor from Reno was a customer of Levi’s, and tested some different methods of bolstering the pockets before settling on the buttons. Unfortunately Davis could not afford to patent the design. He approached Levi, and Levi agreed to patent the idea (making Davis his production manager at the same time).

Adding these buttons onto the pockets now re-enforces the pockets and stops them wearing out so quickly. As denim evolved into a fashionable piece of men’s clothing the need for these buttons has lessened, but their association with jeans has meant they have continued to be added.


Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.

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