Buttons on clothing

Why are the buttons on mens clothes on the right but on womens clothes on the left?

Because then the man, if he is right-handed, can easily reach something in his inside pocket. The woman traditionally is seated or walks to the right of her male escort, and then he’s the only one who can peek in her shirt where it might gape a little between the buttons.

Much as I like Nora’s answer, the explanation I always heard was that men buttoned their own clothing, women had theirs buttoned by their ladies-in-waiting (or maids, or whatever). In both cases, the buttons are where right-handed people can use them most easily.

Gary T’s explanation is what i’ve heard as well.

having said that, i’m a girl who’s worn men’s bdus and the only button down shirts i’ve worn the past couple years were male working shirts (i worked at a gas station, and when i’m not there i wear tshirts and said bdus or skirts and tops).

and i finally got a pair of jeans yesterday, and lo and behold, i am having a hell of a time getting used to women’s zipper/button placement! and i always fumble with the buttons on the one women’s shirt i have.

psshht. guess i should’ve been born a guy. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think that’s true for clothes than button in the back (that the buttons are handier for the assistant) but clothes that button in the front are presumably buttoned by the person wearing them.

Nowadays, yes. But centuries ago, when these conventions were established, the noble ladies (the only ones who mattered) were dressed by their servants. So the story goes.

The Master speaks and gives an alternate explanation.


I’m wondering about the bdus, too. Is that some sort of Tunisian slang?

Battle Dress Uniform - military “fatigues” or “cammies” being referred to by their proper name.