Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I heard a perfectly common-sense theory on why women's clothing buttons "backwards" -- ie, left-handed with buttons on the right, and men's clothing buttons right-handed, with the buttons on the left. I never really thought about it, except to laugh a bit when one of my coats is "backwards" for me or I wear on of the Adorable Husband's shirts.
The explanation? Buttons showed up on women's clothing in the mid-19th century, when the whole concept of "idle rich" was a real biggie. Women's buttons were backwards because the had to be right-handed for the maid. Men usually dressed themselves (although not always, I guess), and so they needed to have the buttons properly placed for a right-handed person to dress themself, while women had assistance and thus the buttons were placed for a right-handed person to dress someone else.
Kind of elegantly simple, don't you think?
There are, of course, many other theories (including some cockamamie idea that it forces women to use their inferior hand to remind them that they are inferior to men).
Someone else has spent a LOT of time thinking about the buttons quandary, and has written up a neat article on it.

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