Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All Buttoned up

And here it is. The answer to the question you've been asking yourself all morning, announced with all appropriate fanfare: why do women button their clothing from left to right and men from right to left? (Admit it: you HAVE been asking yourself this question.)

Well wonder no more because I have your answer. The custom started round about the 15th century, when most men were generally still dressing themselves. (Unlike today when they need their wives to do that job.) Most were right-handed, and so it made sense for buttons to be sewn to garments along the right-hand side. Women were a different story. Those who could actually afford buttons at that time usually employed dressing maids to assist them with fastening their buttons, corsets, etc. The maids were (of course) mostly right-handed, requiring a mirror image of the button placement. The tailors of the 15th century were accustomed to this and fashioned women's clothing accordingly. The custom of placing buttons on a particular side of clothing for men and women remains in place today.

So, ladies, here we are in 2000-something, stuck with backward buttoning AND being fashion police for our husbands. (How does this make sense again?)

If you have any other pressing questions that you would like me to solve for you, kindly keep them to yourselves. xo


Brandie said...

Too funny! I have actually always wondered what was up with that. Thank you for explaining it!

City.Girl.Em said...

Very interesting....I did wonder about that from time to time. Thanks for the research!


Kalanna said...

oh sheesh

Thauna said...

I have wondered about that...just assumed men did things backwards or opposite of us women. Good to know and ironic that we still do it that way so many, many years later.