Why Do Women Button Their Shirts on the Left?

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Many have long puzzled over why women's button-up shirts are designed with the buttons on the left-hand side of the shirt instead of the right. It turns out that this practice has its roots in the traditions and dress codes of centuries past.


Most people in the world are right-handed, and while the design of men's shirts conforms to that, the designs of women's shirts do not.

Time Frame

The practice of sewing the buttons on women's clothes on the left side began in the 17th century, according to the Daily Mail website.


Only the wealthy had garments with buttons during the 17th century, and wealthy women had servants—mostly right-handed—who dressed them. So buttons on women's shirts were placed on the left-hand side to accommodate the servants who dressed women, according to the Daily Mail website.

Sword Play

Men carried swords during the 17th century. Because a sword drawn from the left hip with the right hand might get caught in the shirt if the buttons were on the other side, men's shirts were made with buttons on the right-hand side.


This is a feature that is kept mostly out of habit. Additionally, there is some belief that if manufacturers were to put women's buttons on the right-hand side, people would think they were wearing a man's shirt.

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