Why Men's And Women's Shirts Button Up On Different Sides

Date July 15, 2019 12:07

We button our shirts up without thinking why the buttons are placed on that particular side. But actually, men's shirts have buttons on the right side, while women's are on the left. Is there an explanation for this?

As it turns out, there are a few theories about this and each of them may be true. One of them takes us back to the times when the popularity of Napoleon Bonaparte reflected on fashion – everyone wanted to be like the great commander. Even in his manner of holding his right hand in his waistcoat, which is only possible if the shirt was buttoned left over right.

Women were keeping up with this trend too, but it was ordered to put them aside and sew the buttons on the other side for them.

The second theory is also connected with the military, particularly: it is more comfortable to reach a weapon underneath your shirt or unbutton the tunic with your left hand while holding the gun with your right one if the buttons are on the right side.

While it is much more comfortable for breastfeeding mothers to unbutton their dress with their right hand when feeding the baby if the buttons are sewn on the left side.

The third theory states that the maids who helped the noble ladies dress up didn't feel comfortable to button clothes left over right as most aides were right-handed. So when the buttons were sewn on the opposite side, the process was much faster!

By the way, throughout the centuries, the elements of male and female clothing occasionally intercrossed.

There were times when men wore dresses and heels and women started to put on trousers and tuxedos. For example, the famous ancient Greek chitons were originally male's clothing.

What do you know about the interpenetration of male and female wardrobes? And which of the button theories seemed most convincing to you?