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Staybrite Military Uniform Buttons
Staybrite Military Uniform Buttons

Staybrite Military Uniform Clothing Buttons for Sale

Staybrite (electro-plated Anodised Aluminum) began to replace the traditional metals used for British military uniform clothing buttons from about 1950 and is still used for modern buttons. King George VI died in 1952 so buttons with a King's Crown (KC) are relatively scarce. These Staybrite (...

Staybrite Military Uniform Clothing Buttons for Sale

Staybrite (electro-plated Anodised Aluminum) began to replace the traditional metals used for British military uniform clothing buttons from about 1950 and is still used for modern buttons. King George VI died in 1952 so buttons with a King's Crown (KC) are relatively scarce. These Staybrite (Anodised Aluminium) uniform buttons are available to buy and are listed alphabetically by Unit. Numbered regiment buttons are at the beginning.

In the British Armed Forces, buttons tend to be permanently sewn onto uniform, but some uniforms that require more frequent washing have detachable buttons that are fastened using metal k-clips or button-rings. This might apply to tropical uniforms or chefs' whites.

Screw-fit buttons are made for the shoulder boards of ceremonial uniforms and are fastened to uniforms using special shoulder shanks, which are sewn onto the shoulder of the uniform. Please note that manufacturers have used different sizes of screw-fitting over the years and we cannot guarantee to have the correct size on stock, particularly for very old screw fit buttons. If you need shoulder shanks, it would be easier to order them at the same time as ordering the screw-fit buttons as we will try to enclose the matching size.

Due to established practice and customer preference, our stock is sold without fastenings such as button rings, k-grips or shoulder shanks for screw-fit buttons, however these are (usually) available separately.

Uniform Button Sizes & Types

British Army buttons are as varied as cap badges. Each unit has its own unique regimental button, often with a crest and sometimes a crown.  Some regiments have a second design for use on cap buttons.  Most fall into 3 size categories:

Smallabout 14mm diameterfor the cap and mess dress waistcoats (vests).  This size is also used for gorgets (red tabs worn by Generals on the collar).
Mediumabout 19mm diameterfor pockets and shoulder straps (epaulettes) of most parade uniforms, also the front-fastening of Other Ranks Khaki No.2 Dress jackets.
Largeabout 25mm diameterfor the great-coat and the front fastening of Guards' scarlet tunics and Officers' khaki  Service Dress jackets.

Some units have a different range of sizes, such as about 16mm diameter for cuff buttons. We used to annotate these as 'Very-Large', 'Large-Medium' or 'Medium-Small', but for greater accuracy, we now use diameter sizes in millimetres, measured to the nearest half-millimetre.

Button Ligne - the traditional way of measuring buttons

In British military dress regulations, the diameter of buttons is often measured in 'Lines' or 'Lignes' (abbreviated to 'L'). 40L = 1 inch = 25.4 millimetres. 
We prefer to use millimetres because very few people have a way of measuring Lignes.  Lignes rarely have an exact equivalent in whole millimetres, which is why we round the measurement to the nearest half-millimetre when describing button sizes.

Ligne14L16L18L20L22L24L26L28L30L32L36L40L44L48L
Millimetres91011.51314151618192023252830

Comparative Rarity of British Military Uniform Buttons

There are fewer Officers than Other Ranks, so Officers' buttons are more scarce.  Some sizes of button are rarer than others.  Medium-sized buttons are the most common, and the following is a guide to the rarity of other sizes of British Army button -

  • Screw-fit buttons are the rarest, they are used to secure Officers bullion wire shoulder boards on Number 1 Dress (and perhaps other uniforms such as Mess Dress depending on regimental dress tradition). This means only 2 on each Officer's Number 1 Dress uniform. For most regiments, Number 1 Dress went out routine use at the outbreak of World War 2, and relatively few Officers now possess Number 1 Dress. Screw-fit buttons tend not to be used on Other Ranks' uniforms.
  • Small buttons (15mm and smaller) are fairly scarce. There are only 2 small-sized buttons on a peaked cap - used to secure the chin-strap. (Scots Guards Number 1 Dress Caps do not have chin-straps or buttons). Depending on regimental dress tradition, small buttons are sometimes worn on Mess Dress waistcoats by Officers, Warrant Officers and Senior NCOs.  Small buttons are particularly scarce for Scottish regiments as most of these regiments wear glengarries, Tam o'Shanters, or Atholl bonnets, none of which have cap buttons.
  • Large buttons (23mm and larger) are fairly scarce because they are only worn on the great-coat and the front fastening of Guards scarlet tunics and Officers Service Dress jackets. The great-coat is no longer on general-issue (now only used for 'Public Duties' - the ceremonial guarding of Royal palaces and households). Most Officers' khaki Service Dress jackets have only 4 large buttons. This size of button is much rarer than medium buttons.
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