You may not have heard this before, but there is a strange reason buttons are on opposite sides of a garment for men and women. This conundrum has perplexed people for years who have wondered why there’s a difference, especially when they’re fumbling with their buttons.
Many people believe that buttons are designed and sewn on opposite sides of a shirt for men and women simply to discern between the genders. But historians believe that the answer lies in the 13th century.
Buttons were introduced as a luxury item, according to Business Insider, and used only by the upper tier of people who could afford them at the time. As men prepared themselves for work each morning, the buttons fastened on the right side to make it easy on them. Many people are right-handed, so this allowed men to easily dress themselves with clothing sporting the fancy new buttons.
But wealthy women often had help in that era. So if they were being dressed by maids, the theory is that the maids–many of whom were probably right-handed–could dress their ladies more easily if the buttons were on the left side.
According to Business Insider, another theory is because right-handed women often hold babies in their left arms, leaving the dominant right hand free. Before formula and bottles were introduced, having the buttons on the left side to made it easier for nursing moms to unbutton their shirts and feed their babies.
Here is another theory regarding the difference in buttons between the genders.
Since buttons are now a clothing staple, some are hoping that the fashion industry swaps the side of garments that buttons are on for females, helping make it less awkward. Others are hoping that they’ll swap out the zippers, too, which are opposite sides also.
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