I was watching someone giving a talk whilst wearing a battered suit the other day. Half of the thread holding the remains of his buttons had disappeared, making some of them look like smileys.
Today’s invention is therefore to manufacture buttons with the minimum number of threadholes required to create the appearance of emoticons. I reckon that the simplest configuration is probably six holes, arranged with five circumferentially and one in the middle -allowing both sad : <Â· and happy : Â· > faces (nb only the two v-shapes would be constructed from thread passing through three holes, the other features would be formed by empty holes).
If you felt inclined, you could have a combination of ‘sads’ and ‘happys’ sewn onto your clothes (using thread in contrasting colours to the buttons) and only ‘do up’ (ie allow to appear through the buttonholes) those faces which expressed your mood on any given day.