- It stems from old world fashion and swords
- The most common explanation for this is that because men went to war
Men button their shirt right to left while women do it from their left– but why? After all they are only buttons and why should there be a right and wrong direction to it?
Curious? We tell you why
Hah! You may have thought about the right-handed woman and left-handed man thing, but that is not possible because majority of the people are right-handed, some left and some ambidextrous. Hold on! This theory makes it even more confusing. Here’s straightening things out
It stems from old world fashion and swords. Two simple things changed the whole direction of men and women’s clothing.
According to Caitlin Schenider writing for the Mental Floss, in the Victorian era, noble women often had handmaids to dress them (remember Gone with the Wind?) since they deemed even dressing up a task. To make it less cumbersome when the woman faced the maid to be buttoned up, they assumed the assistants would be right-handed and so they stitched buttons on the right side(which means the maid’s left). In case of the men who usually dressed themselves it was in the right side.
The male side of the argument doesn’t make sense,does it? The most common explanation for this is that because men went to war and often had to hide knives and use weaponry like swords and guns, buttons to the right made it more convenient and at that time it was assumed that men held their weapons in the right hand so the opposite hand had to be free to do the unbuttoning.
It is further explained in the book titled The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “To insure that an enemy's lance point would not slip between the plates, they overlapped from left to right, since it was standard fighting practice that the left side, protected by the shield, was turned toward the enemy. Thus, men's jackets button left to right even to the present day.”
It basically meant that buttoning up a garment right to left would restrict movement for the sword hand(right) so.
Coming back to women, another theory that commonly prevails that women hold babies in the left-crook of the arm and so it frees the right for the unbuttoning of the shirt, in times of breast-feeding.
Well, that was then but the style and pattern surely stuck on. However, fashion is evolving and now unisex clothes rule the roost in most places. But hey, at least now you know why you feel and look funny if you try on your husband’s shirt, or a woman’s shirt by chance.
Last Updated 7:03 PM IST