Why do men's and women's shirts have buttons on different sides: a tradition that goes back centuries

Yulia PoteriankoNews
Men no longer fight with swords, and women dress themselves, but traditions have proven to be stronger than time

It has become so commonplace for women's and men's shirts to have buttons fastened in different directions that we don't even think about whether there is a rational reason for this, but there is.

So, if a garment is for men, the buttons are placed on the right, and if it's for women, they are on the left. But according to statistics, women are less likely to be left-handed than men. So how did we end up in a situation where almost half of the population has to button their shirt with their non-dominant hand? Some explanations are published by IFL Science.

One of the most common theories is that buttons for men began to be sewn on the right side of clothing at a time when sword and sword duels were common. It was customary to wear weapons on the left side so that they could be reached with the right hand. Thus, if a camisole or other garment was fastened from right to left, the sword hilt would likely get stuck in the clasp. Therefore, it was simply placed in such a way that the weapon could be taken out without such difficulties. And over time, the tradition became established.

But women's clothing has such a clasp to make it easier for another person to fasten it. Buttons themselves, in their more or less modern form, became a popular element of clothing in the 13th century. Like most new technologies, they were very expensive. So, only wealthy ladies could afford clothes with buttons. They could also afford a maid to help them with their clothes. Since such an assistant was most likely right-handed, the buttons on shirts and dresses were sewn on so that it was convenient for her to use them, not for the owner of the toilet. In addition, it could have been a banal demonstration of status - such a clasp showed that the lady was too rich to dress herself.

Another theory is also related to the high position in society. Since wealthy women usually rode horses in the saddle, the clasp was positioned for them in such a way that the cold air did not penetrate under the shirt during the ride.

The reason why this tradition has survived is still unclear. After all, men no longer carry swords, and women mostly dress independently, regardless of their status. However, there are a number of possible explanations, including the production processes of clothing.

For example, buttons began to be massively used on women's clothing in the 19th century, when sewing technology developed to the point where mass production was possible. But fashion designers and cutters continued to use the old approaches, which are essentially a relic of the 13th century. Clothes were simply designed based on old models.

Also, the difference in fasteners could be related to women's emancipation in the late 19th century. Thus, in the 1880s, a more masculine cut gradually came into fashion. However, it was not only indecent, but also illegal to appear in certain places in men's clothing. That's why the difference was made in the side on which buttons were sewn. This nuance alone allowed a lady to claim that she was wearing a lady's outfit, not a man's suit.

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