Maybe you've noticed it, maybe you haven't, but one of the primary differences between men and women's button up shirts is that they button up on the opposite side. On shirts, they're on the left for the ladies and on the right for the gents. 

Which made us wonder... why?

Well, the answer is because of horses, babies, and Napoleon.

There are several different theories as to why buttons are gendered on dress shirts. Many of them are interesting, and historically rooted, but none have been deemed labelled definitive.

Theory 1. swords

Men's shirts had buttons on the right side, with the open flap on the left. In the olden days of yore, wealthy men's clothing often included weaponry (I'm waiting for the day when the GAP has a buy 2 get 1 sword free campaign!). Since most people are right-handed, and therefore hold their sword in the right hand (sorry lefties!) it was, according to this Quora thread, "more convenient and quicker to use their left hand for unbuttoning. 

So where's the evidence? Portraiture. Take a look at this dude and you'll notice a pretty popular "hand-in-coat" stance from the 19th century. 

Seen here is a right-button orientation that, according to The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was designed to "insure that an enemy's lance point would not slip between the plates, they overlapped from left to right, since it was standard fighting practice that the left side, protected by the shield, was turned toward the enemy. Thus, men's jackets button left to right even to the present day."

Well, we've got the men's buttons down, but why are women's buttons on the left?

Theory 2. Babies

Sorry again lefties, this shirt button orientation has really left you in the dust. The position of these buttons was based on the fact that most women (right handed women) hold their infants in their left arms. So putting the open flap on the right made it easier to maneuver their shirt for breastfeeding. 

Theory 3. Horses. 

So you know how in the olden days women, in large part, rode sidesaddle? Putting the shirt and dress buttons on the left hand side reduced gusts of wind from entering the shirt as women trotted along

Theory 4. Spite

The time when clothing manufacturing practices were becoming more standardized (aka the early days of industrialization) was also the early days of the women's movement. One theory holds that clothing manufacturers were feeling spiteful, so standardized little things in men and women's clothing that would ever so subtly re-assert a difference between the genders. 

Theory 4. The most reasonable theory

It's pretty well known that during the age of industrialization, when clothing was becoming standardized, wealthy women didn't dress themselves. The buttons are on the other side because it was easier for servants to help rich women get their shirt on if the buttons were mirrored. 

When buttons became easier to manufacture and apply to clothing, opening them up to mass consumption, the buttons remained on the left so the masses could mimic the style of the wealthy

Fun fact about this one: The 19th Century sexologist Havelock Ellis tried to use the difference in buttons to argue that women were inferior to men, because men were able to dress themselves. 

So what do you think? 

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

There are few things more satisfying than a crisp $20 bill. Well, maybe a crisp $100 bill.

But twenty big ones can get you pretty far nonetheless.

Whether it's tucked firmly in a birthday card, passing from hand to hand after a knee-jerk sports bet, or going toward a useful tool, the old twenty dollar bill has been used for countless purposes.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

I realize that school safety has been severely compromised and has been under dire scrutiny over the past decade and of course, it should be. And when I was a student, my safety was one of my greatest priorities but, some implemented rules under the guise of "safety" were and are... just plain ludicrous. Like who thinks up some of these ideas?

Redditor u/Animeking1108 wanted to discuss how the education system has ideas that sometimes are just more a pain in the butt than a daily enhancement... What was the dumbest rule your school enforced?
Keep reading... Show less
Image by Angelo Esslinger from Pixabay

One of the golden rules of life? Doctors are merely human. They don't know everything and they make mistakes. That is why you always want to get another opinion. Things are constantly missed. That doesn't mean docs don't know what they're doing, they just aren't infallible. So make sure to ask questions, lots of them.

Redditor u/Gorgon_the_Dragon wanted to hear from doctors about why it is imperative we always get second and maybe third opinions by asking... Doctors of Reddit, what was the worse thing you've seen for a patient that another Doctor overlooked?
Keep reading... Show less
Image by nonbirinonko from Pixabay

When we think about learning history, our first thought is usually sitting in our high school history class (or AP World History class if you're a nerd like me) being bored out of our minds. Unless again, you're a huge freaking nerd like me. But I think we all have the memory of the moment where we realized learning about history was kinda cool. And they usually start from one weird fact.

Here are a few examples of turning points in learning about history, straight from the keyboards of the people at AskReddit.

U/Tynoa2 asked: What's your favourite historical fact?

Keep reading... Show less