My Cart


Can Men's Shirts Have Buttons on the Left?

Written by Jerry Calisi


Posted on August 31 2023

Can Men's Shirts Have Buttons on the Left?

Buttons appear on different sides of a shirt or jacket depending on which gender it was designed for. Despite the fact that the vast majority of all humans are right-handed, only men's shirts have buttons on the right side. Women's shirts have buttons on the left side.  

men shirt

The Historical Reasoning

The historical reasoning behind this button placement dates back centuries. In the 19th century, men typically dressed themselves, while women were often dressed by servants or maids. The buttons on men's shirts were placed on the right side to accommodate right-handed individuals, making it easier for them to button up their shirts independently.

On the other hand, women's shirts were designed to be worn by someone else. The button placement on the left side allowed servants or maids, who were predominantly right-handed, to button up the shirts more easily. This design choice made it simpler for them to dress the women they were assisting.

Modern Interpretation

Although the historical reasons for button placement on men's and women's shirts may no longer hold the same significance in modern times, the tradition has continued. Men's shirts still have buttons on the right side, while women's shirts retain the left-side button placement.

However, it's important to note that fashion and personal preferences have evolved over time. Some designers and brands have started to challenge this traditional gendered button placement. They create shirts with buttons on the opposite side, regardless of the intended gender. This blurs the distinction between men's and women's shirts and offers more options for individuals who prefer a different button placement.

Practical Implications

The button placement on shirts may seem like a trivial matter, but it can have practical implications in certain situations. For example, if someone is accustomed to wearing men's shirts and then switches to a women's shirt or vice versa, they may find it initially challenging to button up their shirt due to the different button placements.

Additionally, left-handed individuals might find it slightly more convenient to button up shirts with the opposite button placement. However, since the majority of the population is right-handed, this convenience is not a significant factor in the overall design of shirts.


So, to answer the question, men's shirts traditionally have buttons on the right side, while women's shirts have buttons on the left side. This historical distinction dates back to a time when men dressed themselves and women were dressed by others. While the practical implications may be minimal today, it's interesting to consider how small design choices can reflect the norms and traditions of the past.



Leave a Comment