Why button-down shirts have that little loop on the back
Posted August 2
Have you ever wondered why there’s a loop on the back of button-down shirts? At the point where the pleat meets the yoke (the tailoring term for a pattern piece that fits around the neck and shoulders), there’s a tiny loop of fabric. But does it serve a purpose?
Well, according to TODAY, the loops first came about back in the 1960s and were called “locker loops.” They were designed for young men to hang up their shirts in Ivy League locker rooms, so they would stay wrinkle-free while the students played sports or exercised. Pretty clever! After all, there’s not really room for a hanger in a small locker. Sailors also used the loops to hang up their shirts while changing on the ship.
Here’s a shot from Snowman Tailored Garments that shows what the little loop looks like (in case you’ve forgotten because it’s one of those things you see every day, but don’t pay much attention to).
The loops later took on more significance. Also known as “fruit loops,” the little pieces of fabric would be pulled off by teenage girls to indicate that they had a crush on the boy wearing the shirt. Wearing a shirt sans loop would signify that a man was taken, and a lady would wear her beau’s scarf to show off her relationship status. Wow, dating rituals sure have changed, huh? Think of it as an old-school promise ring.
Locker loops aren’t the only odd clothing quirk that actually serves a purpose. Have you ever wondered what the tiny pocket on the right side of your jeans is for? You know, the little pocket-within-a-pocket that doesn’t seem like it could hold even a single key? The technical name for the micro-pocket is “watch pocket,” and back in the day, it served as protection for pocket watches, which were a very common accessory in the late 19th century, when jeans first came into fashion.
According to Levi & Strauss, the pockets can hold a few other small items, and have also been referred to as the condom pocket, match pocket and ticket pocket.
You learn something new every day!