Monthly Archives: July 2017

Women’s and Men’s Shirts Have Buttons on Different Sides

Once upon a time long ago, your sex determined your fashion choices—women wore dresses and men donned pants. But the evolution of fashion has progressed to a less patriarchal mindset, and nowadays, men and women are free to wear anything they please. (Here are 51 fashion tips personal stylists won’t tell you for free.) Except for one gendered fashion trend that has stood the test of time—buttons sewn on the right of men’s shirt and women’s shirt buttons on the right. There are many different theories circulating, but it’s most certainly not because one sex writes with their right hand more than the other.

Some historians suggest that this ancient fashion trend may originate from the days of daring sword fights and knights in shining armor. “I think it’s important to question which time period we’re talking about, since shirt and jacket buttons are a relatively new phenomenon,” Chloe Chapin, costume designer and fashion historian told “But as a general rule, many elements of men’s fashion can be traced back to the military.” Throughout history, men often tucked their swords or firearms into the left side of their jacket so they could easily access their weapon with their right hand in case of a dual and quickly button up with their left without sacrificing the use of their often dominant right hand in a fight.

As for women’s shirts, the elite may be to blame for the right-sided button fashion statement. Buttons were once deemed a status symbol that only the wealthy could could afford in the 13th century. Since most affluent women paid maids to dress them, it only made sense for buttons to be sewn onto the left side so the servants could button the dresses up with their right hand. (By the way, here’s how you can spot a piece of quality, well-made clothing.)

Whatever the reason may be, it looks like the left-sided and right-sided buttons on men and women’s shirts are here to stay.

Layer Clothes to Stay Warm This Winter

Dressing for winter is always tricky because you want to be warm enough to beat the cold, but not so warm that a 10-minute walk to the bus leaves you drenched in sweat. This is where layering comes into play.

The most important rule of layering for cold weather is to start with the thinnest layer and work your way to the thickest. Think of the first layer as your base, and it should always be fitted to the body, like a snug-fitting, long-sleeved top, and, depending on how cold it is, maybe even leggings. A stretchy, sweat-wicking fabric is ideal, but silk works too. “The best way to stay warm is to wear something close to the body and for it be thin and comfortable, so you can layer and not feel like a stuffed sausage with your other layers on top,” says Susie Carlson, a Los Angeles-based stylist. “The layer touching your body is going to keep you the warmest and allow the rest of your outfit to fit better.”

 Once you have the foundation, build the rest of your outfit for the day: If you’re looking for something casual, try a chunky sweater with jeans. If you’re headed to work and need something more professional, Carlson recommends a silk blouse with a wool blazer that you can take off if you get warm. You can skip the leggings and opt for tights instead, which can be worn under a dress, skirt, and even pants.

The right fabrics make all the difference. Janis Shaffer, senior lecturer in the department of apparel merchandising and interior design at Indiana University, recommends wool, polyester synthetic polar fleece, down goose, cashmere, micro-fiber, and Gore-tex, because these fabrics trap heat, but are also sweat-absorbent and breathable. “A knit polyester microfiber (with Lycra) shirt to fit under your fashion piece is like a second skin to start, then a cotton flannel shirt or wool sweater, topped by a Polyester fleece is good insulation under an outer shell jacket made of polyester or nylon, which helps with wind-stopping, or Gore-tex if you’ll be in snow or wet weather,” says Shaffer. Fabrics to avoid in the winter include cotton, linen, and rayon, as they allow body heat to escape.

Thicker winter fabrics don’t tend to need to be washed as frequently as thinner summer fabrics, but if your clothes start to smell, follow these tips to de-stink them, no washing required.

When it comes to accessories, both Carlson and Shaffer say a big wrap scarf is a must because it prevents heat from escaping from around your neck, it can be worn a million different ways, and it’s a great fashion piece. And be wary of weird accessories that may seem useful at first, like sleeves that hook over the thumbs, which could get in the way if you work with your hands. Jazz up your winter wardrobe with these accessorizing tricks.

Style Shorts in a Professional Way

I’m a student doing an internship in a nanoscience lab. My area has a really hot and humid climate (we’re having 95 degrees right now, I can’t imagine how August is going to be…), and the internship takes all of summer.

I’m a pear-shaped girl, and I cannot wear skirts or dresses as they are really impractical under the mandatory Breaking Bad-esque lab suit, nor full-length pants because I might melt in the heat.

The best option is to choose shorts, but how can I wear them in a way that is both internship-appropriate (there is a lot of office work too, and weekly meetings) and flattering?

Thank you very much,

Heat-wave Squint.

Our Response

Dear Heat-Wave Squint,

While styling shorts in a professional way might seem hard at first (after all, shorts aren’t really what we normally think of when we think “work/internship-appropriate”), it’s actually not so different from styling a skirt.

As long as you’re willing to put the time into finding shorts that are more polished than your average pair of cut-offs, you’ll see that finding the right shorts for your situation can be a breeze.

Having said that, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind while on the hunt for professional-looking shorts:

  • Pay attention to fabric: This is one of the most important things to consider when looking for shorts to wear to work, as you don’t want to choose a pair of shorts that’ll make you look like you’re headed for the beach! Stick with dressier materials such as cotton, flowy crêpe, linen, or even chambray. Also, this is probably obvious, but holes and distressing are a big “no” when it comes to choosing work-appropriate shorts.
  • When in doubt, go looser: Many pairs of shorts today are made to fit rather tightly, so, when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to choose a pair that skim your legs rather than cling to them. Not only will they keep you cooler than their skin-tight counterparts, but shorts that flow away from the body slightly tend to be flattering and appropriate.
  • Consider length: Another important point to keep in mind is the lengthof the shorts that you’re wearing. It’s a good idea to think in terms of the length of skirts you’d wear in a professional setting, and then apply that guideline to the shorts you’re considering. Personally, I’d recommend going no shorter than mid-thigh length in a business-casual or casual work environment.

Now that that’s out of the way, keep scrolling to see some professional outfits featuring shorts that I have put together for you:

How to Wear Shorts to Work: Outfit #1


Although this outfit is a little on the formal side, it is still very much appropriate for work, and it shows that shorts don’t necessarily have to look casual.

These black shorts from Ann Taylor are basically the Summer version of classic black trousers, and would look amazing on any body type due to their mid-thigh length and ultra-flattering cut.

For this look, I paired them with a lightweight sleeveless ruffled blouse, which would look great either left out or tucked in with a simple black belt.

Since you’re working in a lab and are therefore probably required to wear closed-toe shoes, I found you some cute loafers, which also add a nice pop of color to the outfit.

As for jewelry, these pretty flower earrings and interesting cuff bracelet add just the right amount of sophistication.

Lastly, since you mentioned that you’re required to do office work and attend meetings as part of your internship, I thought I’d include a trendy-yet-professional-looking blazer that you can throw on once you are no longer wearing your lab suit.

How to Wear Shorts to Work: Outfit #2


The chambray shorts in this outfit are a little more on the casual side, but they are made work-appropriate thanks to the more structured nature of the rest of the look.

Start by tucking in a gorgeous golden-yellow top into the shorts to show off their high-waisted silhouette. The shorts actually do a great job of subtly showing off your legs, thanks to the shorts’ length and the way that they flare out a little.

Next, add some boho jewelry, including some amazing fringe earrings, a beautiful bracelet, and a dainty layered necklace.

Finish off the look with an elegant pair of d’orsay flats, and don’t forget to take along a lightweight blazer (this one’s a linen-rayon blend) to dress things up a little for your non-lab-related internship duties.

How to Wear Shorts to Work: Outfit #3

This feminine outfit with shorts for work is perfect for those days when you don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into your look, but still want to look polished and professional.

To achieve the look, all you have to do is tuck a loose-fitting sleeveless blouse into a pair of white sailor-style shorts.

Next, add some girly jewelry, like this lovely ombré necklace, cute bow earrings, and delicate floral cuff.


If your style is classic but fun, then this is the look for you! I chose this blue floral-print top for its subtly playful floral print, and because I think it’d look great tucked in to these classy and practical shorts.

I really like the perforated and scalloped details on this pair of white loafers, which would also look great with a variety of different outfits.

In terms of jewelry, I decided to go with a bright pair of beaded earrings, a pearl bangle, and a long lariat necklace, all of which add a polished touch to the look.

For the finishing touch, add a classic black three-quarter-sleeved cardigan for when you’re not in the lab.