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Ever wonder why the buttons on a male garment are on the right while women’s are on the left? It’s a long left over affect from times gone by.

Buttons did not appear on clothing until the 13th century. Like all new items there were extremely expensive.

The theory on women’s buttons being on the left are these:

  1. It was easier to open the shirt for breast feeding since most people are right handed.
  2. Wealthy women did not dress themselves. They had their maids do it. Placing the buttons on the left made it easier for the maid to button up the clothing.
  3. When women rode horses they rode side saddle to the right. Having buttons on the left meant that the wind could not blow open the garment and accidentally show off undergarments or skin.

The theory on men’s buttons being on the right is much easier. It has to do with the military. Go back to the days of swords, spears, shields and chest plates. Since most people are right handed the man would hold the shield in his left hand, sword in his right. Thus, his left side was presented to the fighting. Because of this, the chest plates closed left over right making it harder for a sword or spear to slip between the two.

When war evolved to include sword and guns again the same theory came into play. Since most are right handed and would draw their weapon with their right hand it is more efficacious to have buttons on the right so that the left hand is free to unbutton the coat if it needed to be quickly removed.

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