Fashion

The Studs in Your Pants and All Those Other "Useless" Details in Your Clothes, Explained

What’s that triangular patch on your sweatshirt for?
ILLUSTRATOR Gabby Jimenez
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When it comes to men’s wear, the devil is in the details. Be it a strip of cloth, a hidden pocket, or an extra stitch, no feature goes to waste. Men’s clothing, after all, is based on the real lives of all sorts of men, whether it’s the refined sartorial tradition of gentlemen or the humble and practical workwear of tradesmen. Although many of these features have once held practical use, the evolution of style and technology has rendered these elements as decoration in modern times. You may have overlooked these little details before, so take time for a brief lesson.

 

Denim Rivets on Jeans

Ever wondered about the tiny metal studs on your favorite pair of blue jeans? It turns out they serve an essential purpose. Called rivets, these round metal things are used to hold jeans together, especially in areas most likely to come apart from strain. In the 1870s, workers would find their denim trousers falling apart from manual labor, so Jacob Davis, a tailor, patented rivets alongside Levi Strauss, leading to the creation of the jeans we know today.


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Ticket Pocket on Suit Jackets

A man’s suit jacket is full of invisible details, including the ticket pocket. This usually sits right above the right hip pocket, and is half its size. Meant for men who travel by railway, its purpose is as straightforward as its name: to hold a man’s train ticket. It’s also one of those details that shows off the workings of a custom suit.


 

Slot on Penny Loafers

Penny loafer isn’t just a fancy name for leather slip-ons. When G.H. Bass started making loafers called Weejuns (named after Norwegian cattle farmers who wore similar shoes), he added a distinct detail on the shoe straps that allowed men to stick a penny in each slit. Back then, you only needed two pennies to call home via a payphone.


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Working Buttons on Suit Jackets

If your jacket has working buttons, meaning you can fasten and unfasten the buttons on the sleeves, then you’re probably part of society’s elite—that is, if this were the 19th century. Also known as surgeon’s cuffs, these sleeve buttons were meant to keep a man’s tunic clean by allowing the sleeves of their very expensive suit to be rolled up. Surgeons, who were considered part of upper class two centuries ago, could attend to patients without getting blood on their coats. Nowadays, it’s a little detail that separates bespoke from off-the-rack.


 

Selvedge Denim

Check the outseam on a pair of jeans. If they have colored lines running along the seams, chances are they’re selvedge denim. Once a forgotten craft, selvedge denim has made a comeback with its coveted weaving technique and premium quality. Selvedge, taken from “self-edge,” uses the edge of the garment as its outseam, which ensures the denim won’t unravel.

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Triangle on Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts were a popular fashion choice among college athletes back in the 1960s. The triangular patch on sweatshirts, also called the dorito or the V-stitch, was meant to collect sweat around the neckline after exercising. With advanced clothing technology, the V-stitch figures as more of an aesthetic feature nowadays.


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Collar Hole on Dress Shirts

Feel the underside of your dress shirt collars for hidden pockets. These pockets are home to collar stays, which keep your shirt collar crisp and in place.


 

Hammer Loop on Pants

Carpenter pants, which feature several pockets and loops for carrying tools, are worn by carpenters and construction workers. A hammer loop, meanwhile, is a long loop on the left leg meant to carry a hammer.


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Shotgun Patch on Jackets

Shooters, during hunting or sport, wore shooting jackets that have its roots in English country attire. Shotgun patches are shoulder paddings added to the jacket to cushion the gun’s recoil on the shoulder.


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Sam Beltran
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