Buttons and Napoleon

Day 26: 22. Button

Buttons are interesting because there is some speculation about why buttons are located on the left side of shirts for women and on the right for men. My favorite theory is the one that ties it back to a portrait of Napoleon.

The Emperor Napoleon in his study at the Tuileries. 1812, by Jacques-Louis David

Napoleon had a tendency to put his hand in his waistcoat on the right side. In the 1800’s, it has been recorded that women took a liking to this pose and imitated his hand placement as well. As Charles Caleb Colton once said, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. This particular stance indicated a level of class for this era, which in turn infuriated Napoleon because women were considered a lower class than men.  Therefore, he demanded to have the buttons changed to the left side for women in order to prevent further imitation. When I thought about how something so small could affect various aspects of clothing, I decided to put together a setup for today’s image with one of my very own blazers.

Sometimes a button is just a button.

This challenge is completed: 22. Button



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