Shopping for buttons in New York

Recently I blogged about a visit I made to Tinsel Trading in New York and its amazing selection of ribbons and trimmings and I thought I would tell you about another little gem of a shop that I visited on my trip. This time, floor to ceiling BUTTONS !

After finishing at Tinsel Trading and having a much-needed Starbucks to revive us, Lou and I jumped in a yellow cab and headed uptown to Tender Buttons.

We were on a mission to find some blazer buttons for Lou’s husband and any others that took our fancy quite frankly! Now anybody that knows me will know that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for buttons and so I was really excited to be going to this shop. I didn’t know what to expect, but if it was like pretty much everything in New York, it was going to be pretty awesome!

East 62 St is so pretty! Tree lined and full of those lovely brownstone buildings that you see if films, this is where we found the sweetest little button shop lurking.

We momentarily got sidetracked by a grocery store across the street selling the most gorgeous flowers but then turned our attention to the buttons!

And look at the gorgeous gold hanging button sign up above the door. It was like a shining beacon in the rain!

We entered the shop, which is absolutely tiny but it still takes your breath away. It has a real old world charm with antique tables and cabinets being used to display the buttons and a lovely vintage looking shop sign over the counter where you stand to be served.

The buttons are stored in cardboard boxes, stacked up high with an example of the buttons inside,on the outside of the box. There must literally be thousands of types of buttons in the shop.

There were  brass buttons for blazers, hunt buttons, horn and bone buttons, amazing jewelled button (my favourites!) all sorts. It takes an age just to go along the row of boxes and to see what was inside.  A little bit of a Tinsel Trading issue here – don’t want to miss a thing so must look systematically!

We found the brass blazer buttons that we had needed to find, and I eventually managed to choose some buttons to take home. I was looking for some cute buttons for my trench coat and ended up chosing some lovely navy and cream striped buttons. I also bought some cute tartan buttons . I have no actual purpose for them (yet) but I think they will look really sweet on a little twin set cardigan…….Oh, and I also bought a gorgeous jewelled button made up of tiny crystals in pinks, pale blues and whites which is just so twinkly. That was my inner magpie coming out! I only bought one of those because it was V expensive! You can see this beauty of a button above in the picture with the shops card.

This picture came out a little dark but you can just about make out the lovely wooden Tender Buttons sign behind the counter. All my buttons came wrapped in the tiniest brown paper bag i’ve ever seen……

These are the buttons I bought. I have stitched these navy ones onto my trench with red thread. I did that to give the coat a slightly nautical look, and it looks good paired with my summer uniform of a Breton top, jeans and ballet pumps. The red thread looks so cheeky!

The other tartan buttons I bought are below. Thinking of adding those to a little cardi, or maybe saving them for some Christmas projects. In the meantime they will just look jaunty in my button tin!

So those were the little gems I came away with after my visit. I think I could certainly have bought more but I couldn’t think what I needed! Tender Buttons is definitely worth a trip, especially if you are looking for something really special . I certainly would love to buy some more of those twinkly buttons. Imagine those down the back of a dress…..

I had to include this picture. We were making our way to Penn Station later that afternoon and were in the fashion district of the city and I saw this outside of our cab while we were waiting at the light. I’d love this outside Lexi  loves if I had the chance but not sure it would pass the Cotswolds planning laws!

Thanks for reading, see you again soon

Lexi xx

A bit of sparkle at Tinsel Trading in New York City…….

I was lucky enough to visit New York last month and I loved every second. Today I am going to tell you about the most wonderful shop. If you love vintage, ribbons, trims and millinery flowers – read on!

 

One rainy morning my friend and I headed a 12 blocks south to West 37th St to the mecca of gorgeous ribbons, trims and prettiness – Tinsel Trading. I had read about this gem of a shop both online and in magazines such as Romantic Homes and American Country Living and had always wanted to go. I’d bought some little velvet pansies on their website a few years ago but its not everyday that you get a chance to actually visit such a wonderful shop so I went armed with my credit card and intended to make the most of my trip there !  I like to think if it as a form of  research!

 

If you had no idea that Tinsel Trading was there and were minding your own business pottering down West 37th, you could very easily miss the storefront. I’d imagined it to be a riot of colour like V V Rouleaux in London but no, just an un-obtrusive, tasteful, dare I say it – minimal window . Don’t be fooled however, this shop is a beauty!

‘see, you could easily miss it!’

When I stepped inside my breath was literally taken away. The industrial type space was packed to the rafters with the most delicious selection of ribbons, flowers, glitter, vintage fittings and fixtures and decorations I think I have ever seen. It blows your mind and for several minutes I just wondered around like a child in a sweet shop, not knowing what to look at first.

 

'vintage shop fittings

 

Luckily, I was there with my friend Lou and she is a vintage and ribbon lover too, so was happy to while away a good hour or so looking at things.

I decided to work in a methodical fashion around the shop as I was worried I’d miss something vital! So, I decided to head to the trimmings section first at the far back right of the shop. Sectioned in colours and stacked on shelves almost floor to ceiling the choice is really quite overwhelming.

I picked some polka dot grosgrain ruffled trims in bubblegum pink and white from here, and the same in black with white polka dots and added them to my basket. Next, I worked my way around to the ribbon section, which again, is vast. Take a look below….So vast in fact that they need ladders to reach the ribbons at the top!

'how many metres of ribbon do we think there are here ?!'

 

From the ribbon row, i chose some gorgeous grosgrains in aqua with a turquoise saddle stitch edge and also a pale pink with a lime green saddle stitch edge. I also put in my basket a reel of the finest pale pink silk ribbon as it was just so pretty.

 

My visit was the week just after Easter and so there were a couple of lovely Easter displays still out. I had a good look and the things were gorgeous. Little wreaths made of speckled eggs, tiny glittery eggs and rabbits by Wendy Addison and tiny bunches of decorative flowers. If you dont know Wendy Addison’s work you  must have a look at her website. She makes fantastic sparkly numbers, letters, animals and signs which are covered with glass glitter. The silver glass glitter dulls with age and almost looks tarnished and is fabulously vintage in appearance.

 
‘glitter is a girls best friend’

 

I put a gorgeous packed of tiny blue glittered eggs in a minute nest into my basket and a glittery pale pink rabbit decoration in too. I know Easter had passed but I couldnt leave them behind. I also bought a silver sparkly number 1 and 9 to hang in my house. I live at number 19! Plus a huge 3d glittered star for the top of my Christmas tree.

Next was the part of the shop I knew was going to cause me the most trouble! There was a whole wall of cardboard boxes stacked one of top of another and these are filled with all sorts of faux flowers in every colour in the rainbow. From big cabbage roses to tiny primroses and daisies. Some are silk, others leather or felt. It was just torture trying to decide what to buy! Most had pins on the back to they would be ready to wear on a dress or jacket but others were wired . The vintage velvet and paper flower bunches were my absolute favourite and I snapped up a couple of bunches. I also bought some sweet little peony brooches that were only $2 each, perfect for customising clothes or soft furnishings. Oh yes, I also popped a few bunches of chocolate-brown wired toadstools into my basket as I’d never seen brown ones before and couldn’t resist! In one of the boxes, Lou and I found a selection of tiny decorative birds, one of which you can see perching next to the Tinsel Trading business card.

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop in was a central island unit filled with little glass vases full of all manner of vintage notions. Lovely old pearl buttons still on their original cards, antique buckles and reels of old metallic threads and ribbons. I found a couple of beautiful moulded buckles made out of some sort of resin that was formed into tiny roses. These roses were in all the pastel colours and the buckles I chose were exquisite. I can imagine them being worn in the 1950’s on a pretty full-skirted dress. So gorgeous. I also picked up some fabulous reels of vintage grosgrain ribbon in various colours. Still on its original packaging it was manufactured in Dallas, Tx. I thought this would be awesome for photo shoots and styling, especially at christmas.

 

 

By this time I was getting in serious need of a Starbucks so had another quick walk round the shop to check that there was nothing else I had to have! I loved, but didn’t buy, the paper tubs of glass glitter and the lovely striped reels of ribbons…….

 

 

Just as I was going to the cashier to pay I spied this drawer full of vintage spools of metallic threads. How amazing do they look? I’m not totally sure what they would be used for but they do look wonderful. I can imagine them being used for weaving insignia or something to do with military uniforms but I think they would look equally as fabulous wrapping gifts at Christmas!

'ooh'

 

I paid for my basket of loveliness and did nearly have a heart attack at how much I spend but I don’t really mind as everything is so unusual and unique and who is to know when I will get a chance to go back and visit the shop again. Got to stock up when you can I say!

It wasnt until a few days later when I was back in Washington DC that I actually had a chance to have a close look at my bags of goodies. Everything comes in cellophane bags (like we do in Lexi loves!) and this just means that all the pretty flowers, ribbons and little birds look even more attractive. I took a few pictures of my items but some I have kept secret to use in photo shoot styling so will show you those later in the year.
 
I really would urge you to go and visit Tinsel Trading in you are in NYC, it is truly inspirational and awe-inspiring. Just make sure you save up before you go! I also visited a cute little button shop which I will blog about in my next post…..
 

'I cant bear to use anything yet...just going to look at these for a while!'

 

'look at those little buckles..'

 

‘reels of vintage grosgrain’

Thanks for reading.

Bye for now, lexi xx