The Reasons why the Buttons of Men and Women’s Shirts are Sewn on Either Side

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Have you ever wondered why buttons on an upper garment are sewn and placed according to gender? Be it a shirt or a top, it is always buttons on the right for a male and on the left for a female. Why is that!! The possibilities of such reasons could well be due to the fact that dressing and fashion have evolved to a point where garments are not segregated by design. Earlier it was simple, trousers were for men, gowns and dresses were for women. But today that it isn’t so which is why someone decided to do something about it which is why buttons on women and men’s shirts are featured on either side.

It has everything with the concept of how men dressed themselves and women did not. In fact unlike today ladies in waiting were always on the beck and call of every woman and this has got everything to do with buttons as you will find out.


1 Earlier fashion trends were patriarchal in nature

The evolution of fashion isn’t a patriarchal concept anymore. Both men and women wear more similar clothes. Well! It’s mostly women who wear the styles of a male as you won’t really get men in dresses. However, one factor of men and women’s clothing ever has remained steadfast ever since women also wore tunics or inner shirts in the later centuries. There are several theories that have circulated as to what could be the reasons for buttons on men and women’s shirts sewn on either side. It doesn’t have anything to do with which hand is used most by males or females but something else.

Earlier fashion trends

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2 The interesting theory involving man’s choice of weaponry

One interesting theory put forth by historians is that the fashion trend could have originated during the time when men wore swords as the common weapon of choice. This was prevalent and in style from the early days of chivalry and knights in shining armor from the 15th century. With the advent of the stylish rapier, shirts and jacket buttons also came into style but still considered a new phenomenon. It was customary for men to tuck their swords into the left side of their jacket to make it accessible for their right hand. This also left the left hand free to button up tunics and clothing in case it came loose in a fight.

History of Fashion

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3 How women dressed themselves in earlier centuries

Where women tunics and shirts were concerned, fashion was more the prerogative of the elite and buttons were a huge fashion statement from the 13th century as only the wealthy could afford them. A woman was not likely to ever dress herself and was always dressed right from the inner garments to outer garments by a maid. That too was a symbol of wealth and social standing. Thus it was sensible for the buttons of their tunics to be sewn on the left so the maids could use their right hand to button them up.

How women dressed themselves

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4 Women’s shorts are in vogue today but have buttons on the left side

Today even though women dress themselves, shirts and tops feature regularly on the fashion circuit as it is a convenient mode of dressing for women. But the above factors could well be valid reasons for the buttons of women’s and men’s shirts to be sewn on either side and the trend has ultimately stuck even till today.

man vs women shirt buttons

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