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Posted by on Aug 13, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Why Do Men’s Clothes Button on the Right?

Why Do Men’s Clothes Button on the Right?

Buttons became popular during the Middle Ages in Europe as fasteners for the close-fitting garments that were coming into style. At first, both men’s and women’s clothes had the buttons sewn on the left. But this arrangement on a man’s coat obstructed the swift drawing of the sword he wore on his left hip.

Thus, the buttons were changed to the right side so that men could unbutton their coats quickly with the left hand, and draw the sword with the right hand. Although this is no longer necessary, the tradition of men’s clothes buttoning on the right remains today.

Though there’s no historical record or museum with an exhibit devoted to buttons or factual logic as to why a person’s sex would have anything to do with said buttons’ orientation, most sources seem to cite the same simple rationale that dates back over a century.

Another explanation behind this lore. Mens’ buttons are on the right side because men have always tended to dress themselves and Womens’ buttons are on the left side because years ago, during the Victorian Era, the women that could afford fancy clothing with a bunch of buttons would rely on maids to help dress them.

So, if a servant (most of whom, naturally, would be right-handed) is going to routinely buttoning up a shirt or dress for someone else, that servant is going to prefer to have the buttons on their right side (which would be the left side of the garment).

Content for this question contributed by Diane Stankowski, resident of, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA