A button hook is a device which is designed to assist people with buttoning their garments. Originally, they were used by the Victorians, who wore a large number of button up garments such as shoes and gloves that could take hours to put on without the assistance of a hook. The useful devices were adopted by the disabled community because they allow one-handed buttoning, highly useful to someone who has suffered from a stroke or who has otherwise limited mobility.
The basic design of a button hook has remained much the same since Victorian times. It incorporates a handle, made from wood, rubber, or metal, and a “hook” made from a loop of wire. The loop has a small protrusion to catch the button in. To use a button hook, the hook is threaded through the button hole and then over the button. The dresser pulls the hook through, bringing the button through the button hole as well, and then gently pulls the hook free to move on to the next button. The simple process greatly eases and speeds dressing.
The elderly and disabled communities both use button hooks when they have garments that need to be buttoned or zipped, as most hooks can also catch a zipper handle as well. Many individuals with arthritis in particular find this tool a very useful arthritis aid. While there are specially designed garments for the less mobile, many disabled individuals feel that being able to wear normal clothing is liberating and empowering.
Button hooks can also be used by other communities as well: groups who enjoy dressing up in vintage clothing, for example, often enjoy the use of these tools to cut down on dressing time. Traditionally styled wedding dresses also often have a large number of buttons. Sometimes a dressmaker will provide clients with a complimentary button hook for formal wear.
In addition to finding button hooks in stores specially geared at older clientèle, you can also order them over the Internet. Most are relatively inexpensive. If you are purchasing a button hook due to limited mobility issues, make sure to get accurate measurements for the handle to determine whether or not it provides enough of a surface to grip. Try finding an item of comparable size around the house to hold so that you can test out how it feels.