Even the simplest things had a glorious pointlessness to them. When buttons came in, about 1650, people couldn't get enough of them and arrayed them in decorative profusion on the backs and collars and sleeves of coats, where they didn't actually do anything. One relic of this is the short row of pointless buttons that are still placed on the underside of jacket sleeves near the cuff. These have been purely decorative and have never had a purpose, yet 350 years later on we continue to attach them as if they are the most earnest necessity.
Slowly he took out the clothes in which, ten years beforem Cosette had left Montfermeil; first the little dress, then the black scarf, then the great heavy child's shoes Cosette could still almost have worn, so small was her foot, then the vest of very thich fustian, then the knitted petticoat, the the apron with pockets, then the wool stockings.... Then his venerable white head fell on the bed, this old stoical heart broke, his face was swallowed up, so to speak, in Cosette's clothes, and anybody who had passed along the staircase at that moment would have heard irrepressible sobbing.