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Answer Angel: Solutions for stadium no-purse rules

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Football season is starting and so do the “no purses” restrictions at stadiums, at both college and pro games. This summer, women unaware of the restriction at some pro baseball parks had to trudge back to their cars to deposit their purses. What’s your advice on how to bring in your cellphone, keys and other essentials?

— Peg F.

Dear Peg: Several college and NFL football leagues have required patrons to use clear plastic “purses” for years — to prevent weapons or other contraband from being brought into stadiums. You can order clear plastic stadium tote bags on Amazon (, $10 and up). Some stadiums, like the Baltimore Orioles’ park, allow small purses inside, so tiny crossbody bags or small clutches work there. You can wear pants with pockets (and why do so many women’s pants still not have them?) and carry your cell, credit card, glasses, etc. in them. Or bring a jacket and use its pockets. Be prepared to put all those items aside for scrutiny as you pass through the metal detector. And check the stadium’s website for the purse policy and dimensions that are acceptable.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’ve always wondered why men and women’s shirts have buttons on different sides. Women’s are on the left; men’s on the right. Meanwhile, I have a bunch of men’s shirts I wear all the time, and do you think anyone can tell? And, does it matter? Is this some sort of a fashion faux pas?

— Paulette W.

Dear Paulette: No, it doesn’t matter. Not a faux pas. Nobody notices or cares. Keep wearing the men’s shirts. They’re often sturdier and less expensive than women’s. But back to your question of why is there this difference in the first place. Here’s a couple possible explanations I found when researching the answer — though they don’t explain why fashion manufacturers continue to produce shirts that button on opposite sides for men and women.

For women: Way back when, some had servants who dressed them, and more of the population is right-handed than left, so it was easier for “the help” to button the lady’s garment if the buttons were on the left.

Another possibility (also from way back) is women rode horses side saddle, with only the left foot in the stirrup. If their shirts’ buttons were on the left, there was left air entering to balloon up their tops. This sounds rather spurious but oh, well.


One more rather lame explanation: Women usually hold babies with their left hands (huh?) so they needed to have their usually dominant right hand free to unbutton for breastfeeding. Buttons on the left supposedly made that easier.

For men: It has to do with weapons. Mostly right-handed military found it easier to reach for a gun in their shirt or jacket if the buttons are on the right? Pre-guns, men carried swords on their left sides, and if the shirt were buttoned buttoned left over right, that diminished the likelihood that the hilt (handle) would catch on the shirt, tunic, etc.

Angelic Readers

Janice O. writes: “For your reader Jennifer who complained that the 100% cotton T-shirts she loves shrink in length even though she doesn’t use the dryer, I am only 5-foot-4 and 125 pounds, but I buy Lands’ End ( Women’s 100% cotton T-shirts in size Small Tall. The Tall gives enough length so that even if there is some shrinkage, you don’t end up with a boxy shirt.” From Ellen: Why didn’t I think of that?

Other readers who also suggested that Janice buy Tall size shirts: Ruth C., Celeste L., Susan H., Judy W., Elisabeth L., Gene, W. D. S. Margaret T., Martha B., Sue and George B. favor the “longtail T” from Duluth Trading Co. (

Reader Rant

Janet B. says, “I never put any of my garments in the dryer. Nothing. The dryer shrinks all of my clothes. On the other hand, my husband’s clothes never shrink. There’s no doubt in my mind that manufacturers use different, substandard material for women’s garments as compared with the material they use for men’s garments.”

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