Colorful ButtonHave you ever put on a shirt and thought, -This is buttoning backwards?- If so, you were probably wearing a shirt that was designed for the opposite sex. It's a little known fact that men's and women's shirts and jackets button differently -" men's on the right and women's on the left.

No one is absolutely sure why this is, but fashion historians and cultural anthropologists offer a few theories. In the past, both men and women tended to wear more clothes than people do today. In fact, many of the clothes worn in previous eras are no longer worn or made.

Right vs. Left Buttons

On a daily basis men used to wear waistcoats, pantaloons, gaiters and wool jackets. Looking back in history, a man's role as hunter required that he pull a weapon from left to right. Fastening a garment from right to left would impede the movement of our ancestors. Women's fashions were much more complex and may have included a dozen or more garments including petticoats, bloomers, gowns, corsets, and bustles, making getting dressed a challenge.

In Victorian times, men of middle- and sometimes upper-class society generally dressed themselves. Only the very wealthy were attended to by valets. Women of these classes, however were most often attended to by lady's maids who assisted with every need, including dressing. In addition, women often changed clothes multiple times each day -" just think about Downton Abbey!

By reversing the buttons on clothes, tailors realized that they could make the dressing ritual easier and quicker, especially for lady's maids. Because so few men were dressed by valets, however, there was no need to reverse the buttons on men's garments. Hence a custom was created.

Today this tradition carries on, mostly  because it's rarely noticed, something we are accustomed to, and nobody seems to mind.

Men's or women's, right or left orientation, makes no difference at DELIA'S Cleaners. We will make sure all your buttons are in place before we return your clothing.