Buttons have been used in many different ways throughout history.  Mostly as fasteners, but today they are mostly used for fashion purposes.  Before buttons people relied on brooches, pins, and cloth drawstring.  Brooches were heavy, metal pins that hooked on to pieces of clothing. Only the rich could afford buttons because they were expensive due to the difficulty in manufacturing them.  As buttons became more affordable, common people started using them, which upset elites who were previously the only ones who could afford them.  Then the hierarchy passed laws so buttons could be made with only expensive materials even though they have been made with almost every possible material, natural and man-made. Buttons became more popular near the Little Ice Age because people needed their clothing tighter to conserve body heat.  Buttons are my favorite invention because they help keep me warm in the winter.  Right now it isnt an issue, because I live in Florida, but a few years ago I wore a nice striped cardigan with buttons on it that a family member gave to me.   Sadly, I out grew it.