Vocab

Know Your Terms: Ticket Pocket

Because dropping the lingo is half the fun of dressing well.

You may have noticed it. That smaller third pocket cropping up on jackets and blazers over the last few years. That’s a ticket pocket. Traditionally, it’s a distinctly British detail, but nowadays you’ll find it on pieces from America, Italy, and any number of other locales. The popular opinion is that ticket pockets can trace their lineage back to the early days of train travel in the UK. The story goes that when riding the rails hit critical mass in jolly ol’, city workers and other commuters needed a pocket that provided easy access to their train tickets. Train tickets + a pocket for them = ticket pocket. It’s a reasonable equation, but it’s actually only partly true.

Sure, that pocket was a great place to store one’s proof that they were actually allowed in a given railcar. And yes, that relationship to train travel is where the current moniker comes from. But ticket pockets actually predate the popularity of the railroad. They were initially found on riding jackets, and served as an exterior cash pocket, allowing equestrians easy access to their money at tolls without unbuttoning their jackets. Because of this, they were found on sturdy country suits at first, and only migrated towards urban environs when the railways built up enough (figurative) steam to become a staple of everyday life.

And while both historical uses are a little outdated at this point, the ticket pocket does have its purpose in modern life. Aside from adding a little extra kick to your sport coat or suit, it’s a great place to stash business cards. Networking made easy—all thanks to centuries of British equestrian tradition.

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