Why do Men and Women’s Clothing Button on Opposite Sides?

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A peculiar reality that may have not even occurred to you, is that men and women’s shirts and coats button on opposite sides. Realizing that right and left hand dominance is not a gender trait, we simply had to know the reason for this strange but potentially useful scenario in fashion. To find our answer we must travel back into history to get this mystery “buttoned up”.

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We’ll go with a ladies first approach when unraveling theories related to button placement.

It is first and foremost believed to originate from the simple fact that many ladies had maidens helping them get dressed. The orientation of the left side would help a more commonly right handed person button someone else’s shirt with ease.

Another theory is that as women are the natural caretakers of the young, that babies are most commonly held on the left arm, leaving a right arm free to do other things while feeding an infant.

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The fellas, as original hunters, gathers, and protectors often had weapons drawn from left to right. This made the closures on the right less likely to catch on the weapons being drawn.

In opposition to the above theory of women’s buttons being opposite for the ease of help while dressing, Men often dressed themselves which again with the prominence of right handed people made sense to keep the buttons on the right.

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In our current times button downs are typically worn to desk or technology oriented jobs where no one is being dressed with help or drawing weapons quickly in the workplace, the location of the buttons is now just traditionally part of our wardrobes.

For the button downs seen above and many more current styles and trends stop into The Loft. See you soon!

 

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