Granted, men and women are different, but have you ever considered why gender extends to your clothing?
It’s not a recent fashion statement. In fact the history behind this curiosity cannot be claimed definitively, but it’s generally considered to be a relic from the days when clothing was a lot more complicated. From the Renaissance and through the Victorian era, women—particularly wealthy women—wore elaborate items and had the luxury of being dressed by a servant. When facing the women being dressed, it was easier for the assistant to have the buttons on the right side based on the assumption that the servant was right-handed. And, since men usually dressed themselves, their buttons were on the other side.
While some question as to whether this makes sense — because such a limited number of people could afford maids to dress them –, the nobility were the tastemakers when it came to fashion.
Another possible explanations includes the fashions of hundreds of years ago when men’s clothing often included weaponry. A right-handed man could pull his weapon out with his primary hand and unbutton with the secondary. The hand-in-waistcoat portraiture of the time somewhat supports this idea, with the right hand tucked into the open flap. (Think Napoleon.)
The other weapon-related theory: Standard fighting position meant facing the enemy with the left side holding a shield. A shirt with an overlap from left to right meant that a foe couldn’t aim a sword in you through an open slit.
Or maybe babies are the reason? Women usually hold a child on their left side to free up a dominant hand and a shirt that opens on the right makes breastfeeding easier.
There are several other theories, yet what might be the most disconcerting of all—that the distinction was made during the early days of mass-produced clothing and was meant to reinforce sexist attitudes by forcing women to button with their “inferior” hand.
However, most likely, it’s because Marie Antoinette and the Downton Abby clan needed help securing their bodices!
Happy weekend and thank you for seizing a daisy.