Buttonholes are reinforced holes in fabric that buttons pass through, allowing one piece of fabric to be secured to another. The raw edges of a buttonhole are usually finished with stitching. This may be done either by hand or by a sewing machine. Some forms of button, such as a frog, use a loop of cloth or rope instead of a buttonhole. Buttonholes can also refer to flowers worn in the lapel buttonhole of a coat or jacket, which are referred to simply as "buttonholes" or boutonnières.
Buttonholes for fastening or closing clothing with buttons appeared first in Germany in the 13th century. However it is believed that ancient Persians used it first. They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.