You’ve probably noticed that the buttons on men’s and women’s clothing are on different sides.
Well, even though there’s no officially confirmed reason for this, there are a number of ideas on the matter, and most of them date back to more than a century ago.
For example, one of the theories states that men’s buttons were on the right-hand side because their clothing traditionally held swords.
Fashion historian and Hardvard University Ph.D. candidate in American studies, Chloe Chapin, told Today that it’s time to question which time-period we’re talking about, as shirt and jacket buttons are a relatively new phenomenon.
However, as a general rule, he said that many elements of men’s fashion can be traced back to the military.
To add to that, Paul Keers, the author of A Gentleman’s Wardrobe, said that a gentleman’s sword was always worn on the left side so it could be drawn with the right hand. So, if the jacket buttoned right over left, it’s likely that the handle of the sword would be caught in the jacket opening when drawn. Thus, the tradition was extended to other items of menswear.
However, even though this might explain why men’s buttons are on the right side, it doesn’t explain why women’s buttons are on the left side – even though more than 90 percent of people are right-handed.
Fashion experts believe that it’s also due to habits in the past. Namely, wealthier women in the past would often be dressed by someone else.
When buttons were invented in the 13th century, they were very expensive, and wealthy women back then didn’t dress themselves. So, to make it easier for the lady’s maid to dress the lady, the buttons were placed on the left side.
So, there you have it – this might explain why the buttons for men’s and women’s clothing are on opposite sides.