Why Ladies Shirt Buttons Are On The Left

woman buttoning shirt

One user, Will Wister, claimed the side on which buttons are sewn is historically related to how the different genders got dressed.

He said: ‘Women were dressed by servants who tended to be right-handed, while men tended to dress themselves.’

However, others argued that men were also dressed by servants in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Mr Wister also put forward another theory, writing: ‘Portraits of Napoleon often depict him with his right hand tucked into his coat, which is only possible because of left-to-right buttoning.

‘Napoleon ordered that all women’s shirts be buttoned on the opposite side because women used to stick their hands in their shirts to mock him.

‘With the buttons on the opposite side, women could no longer mock him.’

But according to user Gwen Sawchuk, the answer is in fact related to breastfeeding for women – and self-defence for men. She said: ‘Women usually hold a baby on their left arm, so their right hand is free to unbutton a blouse for suckling. Men defend themselves with their right hand (sword, or fist) and thus their left hand is available to adjust their clothing.’

Others had more bizarre theories. Hanna Svenonius claimed the buttons were designed to stop parishioners getting too excited in church. ‘Men and women traditionally sat on different sides of the centre aisle, so buttoning the shirts differently made sure nobody could sneak a peek at some naked chest of the opposite sex,’ she wrote.

Quora hit the headlines last year when US President Barack Obama used the website to personally answer questions about his nuclear deal with Iran.

Theories: The design could be to do with nursing


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