I was told many years ago that women's shirts had the buttons on the opposite side from men's so that mothers had an easier time buttoning their (male) children's shirts. However, I recently saw a video that claimed it was for women to imply that they had servants to dress them.

Are either of these explanations (or another) supported historically?

  • 1
    Simple symmetry? – Denis de Bernardy Sep 8 '17 at 20:59
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    Fails preliminary research test. Google gives meAtlantic or Smithsonian – Mark C. Wallace Sep 8 '17 at 21:39
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    @MarkC.Wallace that seems to be two news sites* presenting speculation, not so much as a pointer to a primary source. And there is only minimal overlap between them, no definitive answer as to whether there is solid historical evidence. (*: I'm not sure what the relationship, if any, is between Smithsonian.com and the real Smithsonian is, but the speculation and lack of primary sources still stands) – Kevin Sep 8 '17 at 21:46
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    True - but the preliminary research test means you should account for the obvious common stuff. Doing history without preliminary research is like building a house without a foundation. Besides, what they share is the admonition that the truth is unknowable - which would take the question over to the "if you doubt the existing narrative" flaw. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 8 '17 at 21:48
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    Does it occur to you that it was done to make it easier for men to unbutton women's blouses, since the small motor skill motions would be the same? :p – KorvinStarmast Sep 9 '17 at 0:00

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