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Women’s shirts have buttons on the left side because of age-old tradition

Women’s shirts have buttons on the left side because of age-old tradition

The reason why the buttons on women's shirts are on the left side is steeped in history

You may have actually never noticed, but women's shirts have buttons on the left side, while men's are on the right side.

While some may now recall a drunken chat at the pub regarding the matter, many more are flocking to their wardrobe to see if this is really true.

Yep, it really is.

Well, it appears the reason why women's shirts have buttons on the left-hand side is all because of an age-old tradition steeped in history.

The reason the buttons are on the left side is because of an age-old tradition.

The reason is actually because wealthy women - those who typically wore buttoned shirts - were dressed by their maids.

Obviously, more people are right-handed, so positioning the buttons on the left side meant it provided easier access to the maids.

Melanie M. Moore, founder of women’s blouse brand Elizabeth & Clarke, told Today: "When buttons were invented in the 13th century they were, like most new technology, very expensive.

"Wealthy women back then did not dress themselves — their lady’s maid did. Since most people were right-handed, this made it easier for someone standing across from you to button your dress."

Other possible reasons include, as the Smithsonian Magazine notes, the fact that some people believe many women breastfeed while holding their baby in their left arm, or that Napoleon 'mass-produced clothing that was intentionally difficult for women to put on'.

But what about men?

Other theories have been thrown about.

As for men, it's believed that buttons are on the right side because their clothing was traditionally used to hold weapons back in the day.

Chloe Chapin, fashion historian, previously told Today: “I think it’s important to question which time period we're talking about, since shirt and jacket buttons are a relatively new phenomenon.

“But as a general rule, many elements of men’s fashion can be traced back to the military."

These claims were backed up by Paul Keers, author of A Gentleman's Wardrobe, who told The Guardian: "A gentleman's sword was always worn on the left side, so that it could be drawn with the right hand.

"If a jacket buttoned right over left, the handle of the sword would be likely to catch in the jacket opening when drawn, so any serious swordsman would demand a tunic which buttoned left over right."

Featured Image Credit: Kathrin Ziegler/Getty/Mark Weiss/Getty

Topics: Fashion, News