Why Women’s Buttons And Zippers Are Different

Image: Public Domain, Pixabay
Image: Public Domain, Pixabay

Have you ever noticed that the buttons and zippers on women’s clothing are oriented in the opposite direction from the ones on men’s clothing? Do you know why?

This may be common knowledge to some, or news to others. The reason the various closures on women’s clothing are put on in the opposite direction from men’s clothes isn’t to distinguish the garments of one gender from the other or for right and left handed people. They’re actually done that way because for quite some time, women didn’t dress themselves.

Common folk typically had clothing that simply slipped on or had basic drawstring closures, sometimes they could afford clothes with toggles. High-born ladies on the other hand, had finer clothes. They also had dressers, people whose job it was to dress a woman. Because the clothes were put on and closed by another person, the closures were put on “backwards” to make that act easier.

That makes me think of times when women were always trussed up in corsets and layers of petticoats. If you couldn’t breathe or move freely, your clothes were done “right”. I’m glad those days have passed, though I must say that I like the look of a corset, and I like that there are now corset-like tops intended as outerwear. I’m not sure how I’d feel about a petticoat, or worse, the hoops and bustles that were once so common.

I can imagine what it would be like to have someone dress me. It might be nice from time to time, but I think I prefer the option of dressing myself. It is interesting to me that the zippers and buttons on women’s clothing are still put on the old way. Very few designers attach them the other way around. On the positive side, if you and your spouse are similarly sized (like Eric and I are) it does give you an immediate signal that you’ve grabbed the wrong pair of jeans!


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