Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Feminine Differential - Part 2

Back Closure


Note: I am making a cursory study of some of the obvious differences in feminine vs men's clothing. If there were no differences then what would we do? Some of the differences are whimsical others rooted in history and I have always wondered the organs - If any. Let me know of any you can think of and your take.

This from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A back closure is a means for fastening a garment at the rear, such as with a zipper, hooks-and-eyes or buttons. Back closures were once common on Western female clothing, but have recently become less so, especially on female casual and business attire. They continue, however, to be widely used in underwear (such as brassieres and garter belts), formal wear (such as evening gowns and wedding dresses) and specialized clothing (such as smocks). Back closures are also common in garments for infants and toddlers.


Back closures throughout the past several centuries have been common on clothes designed for females of all ages, including dresses, skirts, jumpers, blouses, sweaters, and sometimes slacks, and on certain unisex clothes such as infant and toddler wear, costumes, wetsuits and special-needs outfits. Though usually a feature of a garment's designs for stylistic reasons, some back closures can be difficult or sometimes impossible for the wearer to operate oneself, a factor that has favored their phase-out.

In earlier centuries, buttons found on the back of a dress as opposed to the front were originally intended to give the appearance of wealth in a woman, as wearing such a garment implied the woman could afford servants to help her dress. Many such dresses, especially the most frivolous and those intended for formal occasions, were difficult to impossible for the wearer to fasten by themselves.

Back closures on female clothing remained common in Western fashion even through the Industrial Revolution, when servants became rare except to royalty and the wealthiest of women. Even then, back closures were still favored by women who wanted to appear wealthy or more attractive. It is for this reason that back closures have more often been associated with clothes intended for smarter occasions, such as formal events, religious services, or professional wear.

In the 1970s and 1980s, women began taking on a wider range of activities and professions; clothing originally intended as casual and sports wear became acceptable as street wear, and women began favoring such garments that they could don and doff unassisted.

Certain types of women's clothing, however, continue to feature back closures out of tradition. Formal wear such as evening gowns and wedding gowns, for example, frequently fasten at the back. Many summer dresses, especially in petite sizes, feature back zippers, though in recent years, fabrics that can retain these styles without the use of a zipper have been developed. Back closures also remain commonplace in some everyday garments that can be donned backwards and then reversed, such as skirts and bras, or that can be slipped on/off without the need for a closure, where they only are present for stylistic purpose

Advantages and Disadvantages

  •     Back closures allow for a solid unbroken front to the garment that is uncluttered by fasteners. On thinner and more fitted garments, the bulk introduced by a button placket or a zippered seam may also be deemed less conspicuous when worn at the back. Designers thus often favor back closures in couture and formal wear, where aesthetics are more important: the solid front makes it simpler to feature elaborate necklines, embroidery and fabric patterns across the bust.
  •     A garment with adjustable fit may conform more closely to the torso if it fastens at the rear, where adjustments take in fabric across the flat of the back rather than the curve of the bust. Many women find back-fastening corsets and brassieres more comfortable for this reason.
  •     It is easier to flex one's arms forwards than backwards. A back closure may thus be easier for the wearer to enter and exit the garment from the rear, especially if it is closely fitted and does not stretch. A high-necked garment which opens at the back can also be quickly pulled on without disturbing one's hair.
  •     Most people find it awkward or difficult to reach the middle of their back, and even more so to manipulate fasteners, out of sight, on a garment that closes in back. The wearer may need assistance to dress and undress, or at least find it time-consuming to don or remove the garment.
It is a fact of life that during your wedding, your guests will spend most of the ceremony staring at your back. That’s why you’ll want to give them something to look at.





  1. To me back closures on dresses and blouses have always seemed to be a distinctively feminine thing. Having to have someone help me zip up my dress made me feel very feminine.

  2. I actually like back closures very much. I have 1 pretty white blouse that has lace embroidery down the front and buttons down the back. Very elegant.

    - Christina Cross