Uncategorized — December 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Did you know men’s and women’s shirts have buttons on opposite sides? Here’s why


Even if you’ve never noticed, it is still quite a curious thing. I always just assumed that they were made that way with the sole purpose of distinguishing between whether or not it was a men’s or a women’s shirt. It turns out that there is a much richer history to the design than that.

This fun-fact dates all of the way back to the 13th century when buttons were invented.

Buttons first made their appearance in the world of fashion during a time in which they were thought to be a luxury. Only the wealthiest men and women could afford to wear a dress shirt held closed by the snappy new fasteners.

Source: Huffington Post Screenshot

For men, the buttons line up on the right side of the shirt. Men dressed themselves back in the 13th century, so this was seen to be easier for someone to button up a shirt on their own.

Wealthy women of the time, however, usually had ladies maids to take care of their dressing (think Downton Abbey). This is why the buttons on ladies’ dress shirts are always on the left side. It was easier that way for someone to button up someone else’s shirt if the buttons were on the left side.

Source: Pinterest

Isn’t that crazy? People were so wealthy they didn’t even dress themselves!

Now, a lot of things have obviously changed since the 13th century and now nearly everyone owns some sort of button-down shirt. This does make me wonder though whether or not it’s more difficult for women to button their shirts than it is for men? I guess we’ll have to carry out that experiment in our own time.

This is definitely a fun fact that I feel like a lot of people were unaware of. Who would’ve known that something as simple as a button was once a signifier of social class?

Would it now be confusing for people if the buttons on women’s shirts were also switched to the right side? Perhaps, but from the sounds of this history lesson, it might be a bit more convenient if they were!

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[Source: Huffington Post , The Atlantic, Pinterest]

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