Free Press Journal

Curious case of men’s, women’s buttons

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Melbourne: It’s not just the size and how they are cut, women’s and men’s shirts also differ in how they are oriented.

Men’s shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left and according to The Sun, it has nothing to do with more females being left-handed than males rather it’s much more Downton Abbey than that, News.com.au reported.

Back in the upstairs-downstairs days of Victorian society, women, particularly wealthier ones, wore elaborate items and often enjoyed the luxury of being dressed by a servant. So, the buttons were placed on the left, to make it easier for the ladies’ maids to do up, assuming she was right-handed.
While a few men had valets, most usually dressed themselves as their outfits were less complicated, hence the buttons on the other side. Almost 200 years on, it seems the idea of male and female buttons has stayed with us, even though it’s pretty defunct. It even applies to modern jeans and trousers, which button on opposite sides in many brands and most school uniforms.


There are other theories about the button position, one of which has a swashbuckling romance. Some believe it was it was easy for men to unbutton their upper-wear with their left hand as their right was preoccupied with a sword, especially during warfare, but that doesn’t explain why women’s would be placed the opposite way round.