How To Use A Victorian Buttonhook

Button boots are iconic and beautiful to look at but can be hard work to close using just your fingers. While button holes will soften with use (especially if prepped with a leather conditioner such as Angelus Lustre Cream), there's a common 19th-century tool that every lady owed that'll make your life much easier with a bit of practice - the buttonhook!

Buttonhooks are inexpensively (and widely) available in antique stores. We also have a reproduction button hook available as an option with our Victorian button boots, such as our Manhattan, Renoir and Tavistock styles. Buttonhooks can also save time (and fingers) when buttoning gloves, bodices, shoes, and waistbands.

To use:

  1. Insert the hook end of your buttonhook through the buttonhole.
  2. Hook the shank of the button's wire taking care to avoid hooking the button's wire loop (as this may distort the wire loop, allowing the buttons to fall off).
  3. Twisting the buttonhook slightly, gently pull the button hook back through the buttonhole, steering the button through the buttonhole edge first.
  4. If you are finding a need to pull the buttonhook very firmly then please revisit your technique. The button should not be carried through the hole in one go, but slip through the buttonhole edgeways. Very little effort is needed with good form!
  5. Repeat

You can find a helpful video below. Please note that our buttonhooks are now an optional item with our button boots.

Another technique that works well with buttons that do not have a wire loop and are threaded directly to the boot.

For more shoe care information see:

About Us

American Duchess is a small, historical, reproduction footwear company based in Reno, Nevada, USA. It was born from one costumer's inability to find elegant, affordable, comfortable and historically accurate footwear. Partnering with a community of hundreds of frustrated costumers around the world, we now manufacture a growing line of beautifully hand crafted Renaissance, 18th Century, Regency, Edwardian and Victorian shoes as well as reproduction shoe buckles and silk stockings.

Contact Us

+1 775-238-3674
11am - 6pm PDT
920 Matley Ln, Suite 2,
Reno, NV 89502-2160, USA