I don't want to style buttons EVER AGAIN.
I simply have some better things to do. Call it "button", "a.button", "input[type=submit]", I don't care. I just want them to look gorgeous, be as lightweight as possible, and look the same in all browsers. Since it's 2011, I will get all cocky and also want them to be free.
Since we are at it, let's take a look at how to style form controls, period.
Aristo is a great theme for jQuery UI that includes some great styles for everything under the jQuery sun, which includes buttons of several kinds. It's really great if your needs are not that simple (complex layouts with something clever like sliders or datepickers).
If you need something less heavy there is a project to get Aristo buttons using just CSS, but it's still too green. Better go with skeleton.
Style your controls using just CSS
Skeleton is an extension over the 960 grid system. They extend the grid concept by adding extra typography and media queries oriented to mobile, and it absolutely excels at providing lightweight form controls. It's likely that it will not fit perfectly into your own design, but the stylesheet is really easy to understand and you can tune it to your needs. It's also extremely lightweight, in case that's a concern.
Style your select controls
You know those huge combo boxes that happen every now and then, when reality hits your application? With Chosen you can replace them transparently:
I know there must be other exciting tools out there that I am missing. How do you make your forms rock? Please share!
Aside: These be Crazy Months
I just came back from spending my whole summer in Beijing. It was an incredible experience that I am absolutely planning to repeat in February, this time with Shanghai. So far I now just the survival basics like "hello", "thanks", "chicken" and "tea". With that (and smiling a lot) you can survive a whole month and get a grip of the culture, which by the way is quite impressive. I also managed to save some time to learn chinese chess, and I can proudly say that I'm absolutely lame at it.
Now I just got back to Spain! Next month I'll be at Apache BarCamp Spain with a CSS for non-designers and CSS3 101 talks, hope to see you there to share some beers and plenty of chinese stories.