Buttons and Bows

It’s funny with things that are the way they are only because of the way some other related thing is, or at least was a long time ago. Don’t you think?

Point in question: buttons. And bows. Or to put it more simply, why do women’s clothes button on the opposite side from men’s clothes?

Think about it. Go on, think! And then read on.

jacketHere’s the main reasons I could find:

1) Rich women in the past were largely dressed by servants and it made things easier for them by putting the buttons on the opposite side than was natural for right-handed people. While men, even rich ones, mostly dressed themselves. And then, of course, women who did not have servants tried to pretend that they did by having clothes that buttoned on the left and it rapidly became a standard.

2) Men’s jackets were modelled on armour which closed in a way that was designed to prevent a right-handed opponent from jabbing something sharp and painful through the seam.

3) Men’s jackets were designed to make it easy for them to unbutton with the left hand while drawing a sword or gun with the right. And men’s clothes in general tended to folllow millitary fashions while women’s were based on more domestic concerns.

And now a related question: what is the point of the little pockets in men’s underwear that you are supposed to drag the little guy through while peeing in a public toilet? Has anybody actually gotten this to work? Ever? If so, please let me know the secret because my shoes have had quite enough surprise yellow showers for one lifetime.

And don’t even get me started on shoe-laces…

/ paddy


6 thoughts on “Buttons and Bows

  1. It’s a historical thing, and now we’re stuck with the tie. See

    Neckties are believed to be major vectors in disease transmission in hospitals.

    As for women’s buttons – the ultimate show off concerning servants is of course having the buttons in the back, thereby enforcing having servants to button upp the womenfolk.


  2. And, weirdly enough, owing to a combination of an interest in traditional archery (armour etc) and working in theatre (Costume) I knew all that!!
    Bugger me

  3. Damn I already replied here but it vanished! Ah well:

    Mathias: The tie is an extra penis, of course.

    Rolf: Or just wear ordinary clothes but cut your arms off.

    ladyFi: I didn’t know that! But I suspect it was a reaction to independence from England.

    expat21: See previous line!

    Sean: If anybody knew that, then I would lay odds that it would be you, Seanie boy.

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