Why is the lowermost button/buttonhole different from the others on some shirts

On some shirts, any or all of the following may be true of the lowermost button/buttonhole:
The buttonhole is oriented horizontally (whereas all the others are oriented vertically)
The buttonhole is lined with a different colour of thread from the others
The button is sewn on with a different colour of thread from the others

I’m not talking about spare buttons sewn onto the bottom corner of the shirt - this is a proper button/buttonhole, it’s just different from all the others - why?

I always assumed that this one was to make it less likely that this button would come undone, thus causing the buttons above it to become undone. Vertical buttonholes are easier to button, but also easily come undone. Having the lowermost one horizontal serves as an “anchor.”

It lets you know when to quit buttoning, I suppose.

Actually, I HAVE wondered about that, and would be interesting in hearing the real explanation.

This was always my assumption as well. And if it is the reason, it works! That button never comes undone on me.

I’ve been buttoning shirts for 60+ years and I’ve never had one on which the bottom button was any different from the others.

Ah, the next shirt you buy may have it sideways. I notice it mostly on dress shirts. I find it a pain. As Ron said, we did fine for a long time without it. I am quit willing to continue to.

Why would that be, are you saying?

Because the shirt’s opening is vertical. When you pull apart the two sides, the buttons can more easily slide through vertical buttonholes. With a horizontal button, if you pull the sides apart the button slides to the end of the slot and doesn’t come out.

I also assumed it was to keep it from coming undone.

The bottom button has more horizontal stress to deal with than the other buttons, due to the fact that the tails are pulled in different directions . . . especially if the person has a belly. The colored thread may be stronger, and may be used for quality-control purposes (indicating that a stronger thread has been used).

The lowermost button hole, described by the OP, is a better design, but less appealing visually. Since it is intended to be tucked into the shirt, and has to be more resilient, it’s positioned horizontally to help prevent the button from coming undone.

I seldom remember problems with the lower button coming undone. I get tired of obtrusive solutions to problems I don’t have.

You wouldn’t have to suffer through this if you would simply have more problems.


I wonder if it’s a new thing. Or a brand thing.

I’ve only noticed it on shirts that I get from Express.

You feel a horizontal buttonhole is an obtrusive solution?

I wonder if this bottom buttonhole style is one of those things almost universal in some countries and unheard of in others.

I’ve been wearing men’s dress shirts in the US for almost 40 years now. Both cheap and expensive. I have never seen nor heard of a bottom button different from the others.

It *is *common bordering on universal for the top buttonhole (the one behind your tie knot) to be oriented horizontally. But I’ve never seen that same design at the botom.

Yes, they are harder to button. Who needs it?

And there are many Dopers willing to give you theirs.

I just checked my closet. Several of my casual “St. John’s Bay” shirts (from J.C. Penny’s - I know I’m giving up my sartorial secrets here) purchased in the last few years have horizontal lower buttons, while others from the same line do not.

You must find daily life very stressful.:wink:

Ignorance fought; thanks. Next time I buy new dress shirts I’ll be paying attention.