How to discern plastic v. MOP buttons?

rwjones

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
When a manufacturer tries hard to make their plastic buttons look like MOP buttons, I can't tell the difference. Is there an easy way to tell? Something that can be done BEFORE purchasing the shirt? I've heard that putting the buttons to one's lips can work based on the difference in temperature, but I tried that on my current shirts (that I knew were MOP or plastic) and couldn't sense any disparity. Plus, if I did that in a store, I'd look like a goof.

I've even compared plastic v. MOP buttons of the same manufacturer (a premium line against a regular line). I guess the MOP ones look a bit more yellow and "natural", but even that is a stretch. When looking at the back side of the buttons, sometimes the MOP ones have sort of a marbled look, but that varies from label to label, so it's unreliable.
 

flatline

Senior Member
Dunno, I always look for the slight rainbow-like sheen, although I understand that some manufacturers are using dyes that try to replicate this. All MoP buttons should be unique, whereas most plastics on a shirt will be nigh identical.

Maybe try asking a pearly?
 

Roikins

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
When a manufacturer tries hard to make their plastic buttons look like MOP buttons, I can't tell the difference. Is there an easy way to tell? Something that can be done BEFORE purchasing the shirt? I've heard that putting the buttons to one's lips can work based on the difference in temperature, but I tried that on my current shirts (that I knew were MOP or plastic) and couldn't sense any disparity. Plus, if I did that in a store, I'd look like a goof.

In the winter, with the heater blasting, I tired the MOP vs. plastic test using my cheek and could feel a temperature difference; the MOP buttons definitely felt cooler.
 

Cardcaptor Charlie

Inactive user
Bring the button to the upper lip. If it feels icy cold then it is MOP. If it is cold then warms up quickly it is plastic. Another test is to put it between your teeth. The MOP has more of a cermanic texture to it. On the front and underside, look for differences in patternation, thickness, etc. If the underside is plain white for all buttons then it is most likely plastic.
 

a tailor

Honors Member
the plastic ones are smooth all over and all the buttons are the same.
the mop are a natural so that each button is a bit different in color and will have small differences in texture and grain.
the same applies to horn buttons.
 

constantmystery

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
a parenthetical comment about M.O.P buttons...

I noticed the last time I ordered Robert Talbott 'Best of Class' line of shirts that the buttons were now plastic rather than the previously MOP quality.Still a good shirt tho'..
 

trims

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
There are 'better' faux materials that can achieve a very similar look to real shell or horn (including color variations from piece to piece and a flowing material). Visual cues can help but sometimes be misleading. The iridescent, rainbow sheen can be easily replicated in faux shell.

The best test is as mentioned above, a real shell button will be cold to the touch, a plastic button will not.

For horn, the only foolproof method is to burn it (not always possible of course). Real horn is the same material as your fingernail or hair, and will smell of burnt hair. Faux horn will smell like plastic. Barring this, I've had a button factory owner stumped several times on real vs. fake horn if the material is good.

Of course, the cheap stuff is fairly obvious.
 

pweller

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm not trying to be rude, but if you can't tell the difference then why do you care? Maybe you're using that as a sign of quality? I don't know that genuine MOP buttons are all that much more expensive than plastic ones, anyway. I can't imagine that there are any pratical differences between the two.

For me, I don't care if they are plastic or MOP. If the difference was obvious (to me), then I would care.
 

trims

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm not trying to be rude, but if you can't tell the difference then why do you care? Maybe you're using that as a sign of quality? I don't know that genuine MOP buttons are all that much more expensive than plastic ones, anyway. I can't imagine that there are any pratical differences between the two.

For me, I don't care if they are plastic or MOP. If the difference was obvious (to me), then I would care.

Just FYI, Real M.O.P. can cost as must as 10x - 30x as much as plastic, depending on several factors.

There are many people that don't like real shell because they tend to have a variation, and occasionally a chip in them. Others will like that as it is part of the natural beauty.

If you can't tell the difference, that's fine, no one is forcing you to notice or care. But there is a very large difference.
 

JibranK

Super Member
Just FYI, Real M.O.P. can cost as must as 10x - 30x as much as plastic, depending on several factors.

There are many people that don't like real shell because they tend to have a variation, and occasionally a chip in them. Others will like that as it is part of the natural beauty.

If you can't tell the difference, that's fine, no one is forcing you to notice or care. But there is a very large difference.
I think he's referring to ones like the OP wrote of, which are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.
 

rwjones

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm not trying to be rude, but if you can't tell the difference then why do you care?

Because MOP buttons are intrinsic, IMO, to a good quality shirt. They also are more likely to survive the extreme heat at the cleaner's; plastic buttons will break.
 

aluminiumfish

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Push the button over and look at the back
MOP is uneven and even has dark patches sometimes..
Plastic will be uniform on the back.
MOP is unfinished on the back.
 

aluminiumfish

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
you can tell a horn button by looking at the holes drilled through the button..if they are white-ish on the barrelled inner surface than its real.
 
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