A jacket’s pockets are the quickest way to discern the formality — and often the origin — of a suit. They might be jetted, flapped, patched, patched with a flap, or specifically tailored to carry your train ticket; but each tells a unique story of its own. Below, a breakdown of the most common pockets found.
Referring to the thin strip of fabric taping at the top and bottom of the slit, jetted pockets are the standard style of hip pockets. Most jetted pockets have a flap, which exists to protect contents in the unfortunate event of rain, but a pocket sans flap — typically found on tuxedos — is a sleeker, more formal look.
Patch pockets are made just how you’d expect — a patch of fabric (usually rounded at the bottom) is sewn directly onto the jacket. It’s a less formal look, more commonly found on sportcoats and summer suits. Patch pockets often have flaps to keep rain out and contents in, and are sometimes pleated. A baffle pocket, often seen on shooting jackets, extends outward from the jacket. The extra capacity is great for spent shotgun shells or a cold beer (but probably not both).
Ticket pockets are generally thought to have originated in the early days of train travel when — wait for it — passengers needed somewhere to put their tickets. In fact, they were originally found on riding jackets to allow equestrians easy access to funds when it came time to pay a toll. The style migrated to business suits during the heyday of train travel. Today they’re most commonly found on suit coats from Savile Row — or on those intended to look like they came from the Row.