Why Button-Down Shirts Have That Little Loop On The Back

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Have you ever wondered why there’s a loop on the back of button-down shirts?

Maybe you’ve never noticed this tiny piece of fabric on the back of many 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.”

lockers photo
Getty Images | Stanley Chou

Ivy League Pioneers

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!

harvard photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

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).


Dating Trends Over Time

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.

holding hands photo
Getty Images | Pascal Le Segretain

Wow, dating rituals sure have changed, huh? Think of it as an old-school promise ring.

Tiny Jean Pocket?

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?

jeans photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

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.

watch pocket jeans photo
Flickr | Muffet

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.

H&M—What Does It Mean?

While we’re on the subject of random facts, have you ever wondered what H&M stands for?

You know, the name of the cheap, casual clothing retailer found in nearly every shopping mall?

hm store photo
Getty Images | Chris McGrath

This brand comes with a lot of history, despite the fact that it’s clothing, shoes and accessories are very modern and hip.

The first H&M store was opened in 1947 in Sweden, only it didn’t bear the name “H&M” at the time. Back then, it was called Hennes, which is Swedish for “hers,” as they only sold clothing for women in the beginning.

hm store photo
Getty Images | Tim Boyle

Skip to 1968, when the Hennes brand acquired a hunting apparel and fishing equipment retailer called Mauritz Widforss.

After acquiring this new brand, H&M founder Erling Persson decided to start creating menswear and children’s clothing in addition to women’s fashion.

hm store photo
Getty Images | Anna Webber

Since the label would no longer just carry women’s clothing, a name change was required. Hennes & Mauritz was born. In 1974, the company rebranded and became H&M, and it launched in America later that decade.

Because Americans know it only as H&M, that’s the only name that’s used in the U.S., but many Scandinavians still call it by its original name, Hennes.

You learn something new every day!