This is why sailors have 13 buttons on their trousers

An old sailor’s tale is that the buttons represent the 13-original colonies.

At least, that’s what Navy recruits tell each other during basic training — but that wasn’t the real intention.

In the early 1800s, the iconic trouser’s front flap (crotch area) or “broadfall” had 15-buttons before it was modified 90-years later to have just seven, allowing the manufacturer to reduce the amount of material.

Related: This is why some sailors wear gold stripes, and some wear red

Navy dress uniform

The modern day 13-button trouser. Good luck getting out of these if you need to pee.

Also Read: This is how US Army uniforms have changed since the Revolutionary War

Reportedly years later, the broadfall was enlarged for various reasons including that many sailors didn’t have enough room down there, so the Navy listened and added the extra material and six buttons.

Navy dress uniform

These old school sailors take a moment for a photo op wearing the classic seven (left) and 15-button (right) trousers. Look closely and see the difference. (Source: Pinterest)

Pro tip: Many sailors have their trousers tailored to remove all the buttons and replace them with Velcro strips to grant easier access to the goods. They then resew the buttons to the outside flap, with uniform inspectors being none-the-wiser.

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