Tuesday, July 10, 2007

the economic naturalist

Why do women button their clothes from the left, and men from the right?

With regard to the positioning of buttons on clothes. Why are they on the right for men, and the left for women, especially since, for the 90 percent of the population who are right-handed, it's much easier to do up buttons from the right?

It's because when buttons were introduced in the 17th century, they were affordable only by the wealthy. As rich men then dressed themselves, they did so from the right; whereas wealthy women were dressed by servants, who preferred to button them up from the left. The custom continues today, even though fewer women are dressed by servants, because there has been no incentive for the fashion industry to change it.

http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Naturalist-Explanations-Everyday-Enigmas/dp/046500217X

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