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  #1  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:35 PM
phreesh phreesh is offline
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Guys - Do you cut the threads on suit jacket pockets that are sewn shut?

I just started this thread:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=515608

And people generally seem to think I'm a bit of an idiot for not knowing that those sewn-up pockets in my jacket are made to be used. In my defence, how many items of clothing to you own that you have to RIP OPEN to use? I figured, if it's got a seam, it must be there for a reason. I don't rip open any of the seams in my jeans.

And that said, are those pockets not supposed to be used? Is it 'low-class' to ever put stuff in jacket pockets? Or are you expected to open those pockets right away when you buy it?

I'm very confused by the 'sewn shut' thing. Are they mostly sewn shut to make sure that when you buy it and cut the seams the pockets are pristine or are they sewn shut as fashion's gentle reminder to not use them and ruin the line of your garment?

Anyway, I spent years never opening those pockets, assuming they were sewn shut for a reason (actually, mostly I thought they were fake pockets. I assumed most suit jackets had fake pockets. I never really noticed any guys putting anything in them)

Now that they're all open, I hardly ever use them, but it's nice having the option, if I were so inclined.

So, what do you do with your suit jacket pockets? Leave 'em sewn shut? Open them, but use them only in emergencies, or freely use them just as you would a pants pocket?

Curiously,

Phreesh
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:42 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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I don't. I don't want to be tempted to put anything in them, and have the bulges make me appear slovenly and unkempt. Next you'll probably want me to wear a cellphone holster!
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  #3  
Old 04-27-2009, 03:57 PM
RiverRunner RiverRunner is offline
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I cut them open and use them. Even if I didn't plan to use them, I'd still cut them open, if just to get rid of the weird-looking clump of thread holding them shut.
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2009, 04:21 PM
Fuzzy Dunlop Fuzzy Dunlop is offline
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
And people generally seem to think I'm a bit of an idiot for not knowing that those sewn-up pockets in my jacket are made to be used.
I read that thread and I don`t see anyone suggesting you're an idiot. For the record though it's not really true that they're made to be used, as much as one can say that one way or the other with authority. Even if you take the thread out because it bothers you, you shouldn't throw all sorts of stuff in your pockets. Lot's of people leave them shut because they don`t want to put anything in them.

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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
In my defence, how many items of clothing to you own that you have to RIP OPEN to use?
Pants come to mind.
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  #5  
Old 04-27-2009, 04:26 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
I'm very confused by the 'sewn shut' thing. Are they mostly sewn shut to make sure that when you buy it and cut the seams the pockets are pristine or are they sewn shut as fashion's gentle reminder to not use them and ruin the line of your garment?
If the latter, it'd be done with better stitching.

Quite simply, if a dozen guys all try on a jacket, even if only a few of them shove their hands in the pockets, you can forget the thing looking 'new' any more.
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2009, 04:33 PM
stpauler stpauler is offline
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They're sewn shut to keep the form and fit of the garment true. There are those who want to use the pockets and that's why they're made, but I prefer to keep 'em sewn shut.
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2009, 05:19 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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I leave 'em sewn shut. I generally only own one suit and a jacket or two at a time, always of lightweight fabrics that look like hell with anything in the side pockets. If I were in the habit of wearing tweeds or something like that, I'd probably open the pockets, as such a jacket wouldn't be deformed, and if you wear tweeds in the US, you're probably a professor and are expected to look a bit rumpled.
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  #8  
Old 04-27-2009, 06:56 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy Dunlop View Post
Pants come to mind.
Is your fly made of velcro?


I cut my suit pockets open. I like to have a place to stash my hands and a jacket pocket seems as good as anything. Actual items always go in my pants pockets or inside jacket pocket though.
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  #9  
Old 04-27-2009, 07:29 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Yes I have cut a few over the years, but rarely.
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  #10  
Old 04-27-2009, 08:19 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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I like to have the tailor open up the breast pocket. It's where the pocket square goes, after all.
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  #11  
Old 04-27-2009, 08:42 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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I'm not a guy, but I was married to one, and I never let him wear a jacket until the basting stitches had been removed from the pocket opening, and the back vent. They aren't usually sewn completely shut...there is usually a tiny gap at one end so you can get at the stitching. And where else is a man supposed to put my lipstick and ID when we are out on a fancy date if he doesn't use those pockets?

Similarly, I also remove the little brand tag that is tacked...not sewn permanently, but temporarily tacked...to the sleeve by the cuff on jackets and coats. I can barely control myself when I see a woman walking around with that still attached, sometimes by only two tailor's tacks...I just want to grab a seam ripper and get it off for her, poor clueless wench....
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  #12  
Old 04-27-2009, 09:19 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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No, I don't cut them open.
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  #13  
Old 04-27-2009, 09:30 PM
The Seventh Deadly Finn The Seventh Deadly Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy Dunlop View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by phreesh
In my defence, how many items of clothing to you own that you have to RIP OPEN to use?
Pants come to mind.
Sounds like your love life is a lot more exciting than mine.
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2009, 01:22 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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It has always been done for me by the tailor.
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  #15  
Old 04-28-2009, 07:45 AM
corkboard corkboard is offline
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I cut them if the tailor hasn't. I usually don't put anything in them that would destroy the line of the jacket, but occasionally I'll drop my car key fob (just the fob, no other keys on the ring) or a parking stub or something small like that in the pocket. In addition, I've learned that when you are out and about with two young girls in tow, there are usually countless things that they'll hand you that needs a pocket.

I also read the other thread, and nobody accused you of being an idiot.
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  #16  
Old 04-28-2009, 06:17 PM
Red Skeezix Red Skeezix is offline
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Suit coats with the pockets/vent still sewn shut seem like the male equivalent of leaving the tags on something. They frequently use different thread for those seams so that they can easily identified and removed. Also how would you tuck in the "pocket flaps" (not sure what to call those) if you didn't open the pocket?
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  #17  
Old 04-28-2009, 07:53 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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Originally Posted by kittenblue View Post
I'm not a guy, but I was married to one, and I never let him wear a jacket until the basting stitches had been removed from the pocket opening, and the back vent. They aren't usually sewn completely shut...there is usually a tiny gap at one end so you can get at the stitching. And where else is a man supposed to put my lipstick and ID when we are out on a fancy date if he doesn't use those pockets?

Similarly, I also remove the little brand tag that is tacked...not sewn permanently, but temporarily tacked...to the sleeve by the cuff on jackets and coats. I can barely control myself when I see a woman walking around with that still attached, sometimes by only two tailor's tacks...I just want to grab a seam ripper and get it off for her, poor clueless wench....
I once neglected to have the vent opened up--I just assumed that the tailor had done it, and couldn't figure out why my jacket seemed unusually tight. I felt like an absolute rube when I realized what had been going on.

But--you mean there are people who leave that tag on the sleeve? Really? I'd have a very hard time not politely explaining things to them out of kindness. I'd feel too embarassed for them otherwise.

And Red Skeezix, I don't know whether you're being serious or not, but pocket flaps are supposed to remain outside the pockets...
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  #18  
Old 04-28-2009, 08:13 PM
Red Skeezix Red Skeezix is offline
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Originally Posted by LawMonkey View Post

And Red Skeezix, I don't know whether you're being serious or not, but pocket flaps are supposed to remain outside the pockets...
I heard that flaps out was a more casual way of wearing them. But a quick internet search reveals only one such reference. Maybe I've been wrong all these years.
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  #19  
Old 04-28-2009, 11:01 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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In Eastern Europe in the 90s and here in Afghanistan now, men purposely wear their suits with the little tag on the left sleeve left in place. Often it will be a polyester suit that maybe cost $30 and the tag will say Bill Bass, or Ralph Lauren.
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  #20  
Old 03-31-2011, 01:19 PM
Prestorogo Prestorogo is offline
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You are definitely on the right track. Pockets are sewn shut to as to maintain the integrity of those pockets, both on vests (which do often come with fake pockets a lot of the time, though only those of low quality), and blazers for suit pockets. The tread is usually sewn in a way that is easily accessible for a seam ripper or small scissors to get at.

Another point i would like to address for a lot of people that are dealing with this confusion falls on blazers. Typically in the back of blazers there are either one or two 'vents', which are just slits in the lower back of the jacket which most people assume is just for breathing, but this is not the case. Originally there were different types of suits for different occasions. the double vented system was used for horseback riding (also found in morning suits), where the elite of the time would ride their horses after mass. the point of the double vent was to allow the suit to lay flat on the back of the horse so as to not wrinkle during this experience. The single vent also has a historical function, and many other jackets that just havent translated to modern day.

the point i bring this up is because often times you will notice on these jackets is that a simple cross stitch is used (often times in a color contrasting the fabric of the suit) to keep the integrity of the suit as well before it is worn. These stitches as well should be cut out. It is a common mistake, and the most noticeable, to leave these stitches on and will instantly point out a 'freshman' or 'rookie'.

Hope this helps!
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  #21  
Old 03-31-2011, 02:26 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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I cut mine open. I don't fill my pockets with apples or rocks but I do like to be able to drop a key, handkerchief or a business card in there if I so desire.
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  #22  
Old 03-31-2011, 02:33 PM
BigT BigT is online now
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I don't use the pocket, but I can usually see the thread and think it looks tacky. I remove it. And I have seen back pants pockets sewn up. I also open those.

Just be careful. It's usually a women's thing, but, on some clothes, the pocket is fake.
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  #23  
Old 03-31-2011, 03:47 PM
Headrush042 Headrush042 is offline
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Originally Posted by LawMonkey View Post
And Red Skeezix, I don't know whether you're being serious or not, but pocket flaps are supposed to remain outside the pockets...
Tucking in one's pocket flaps is perfectly acceptable. In fact, many pocket flaps are designed to be optionally tucked in to look like a "jetted" pocket, which for many people looks sleeker and more formal.

Particularly for heavier men, tucking the flaps produces a small, but noticable, slimming effect.
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  #24  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:47 PM
Eats_Crayons Eats_Crayons is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Just be careful. It's usually a women's thing, but, on some clothes, the pocket is fake.
I'm female. I've found on my nicer suits the pockets are real but the stitching is a lot nicer than the tacking used on men's jackets, so if you don't cut them it doesn't look strange. I have, however, had the misfortune of not realizing that my new trench coat had loose tacking to make it look nice on the hanger. In my defence, the thread was the same colour as the stitching of the coat itself. I attended a classy semi-formal outdoor affair wearing the coat the entire time and had no idea until I was getting in the car to go home and wondered why it was so awkward getting in and out of the vehicle.
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  #25  
Old 03-31-2011, 08:00 PM
Rand Rover Rand Rover is offline
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
And that said, are those pockets not supposed to be used? Is it 'low-class' to ever put stuff in jacket pockets? Or are you expected to open those pockets right away when you buy it?
Correct. Yes. No.
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  #26  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:41 PM
Kiwi Fruit Kiwi Fruit is offline
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Correct. Yes. No.
Wow! 3 out of 3 wrong.
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  #27  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:33 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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How many zombies wear suits, anyway?
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  #28  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:00 AM
Spoons Spoons is offline
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Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
I cut mine open. I don't fill my pockets with apples or rocks but I do like to be able to drop a key, handkerchief or a business card in there if I so desire.
That's my feeling. I like my jacket pockets open, so such small things can be put in there.
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  #29  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:02 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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How many zombies wear suits, anyway?
A lot of them. They are wearing the clothes they were buried in.
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  #30  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:20 AM
Double Foolscap Double Foolscap is offline
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For my suits (apart from the one I bought in a charity shop), the pockets are left sewn up, as I don't want to ruin the shape. My physique does that on its own

For the jackets I wear on a day to day basis, the pockets are open. The need to be able to carry everything is more pressing than the need to look smart, especially if I'm wearing trousers that are too tight for the pockets to be used comfortably.
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  #31  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:37 PM
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Another vote for opening the pockets, but not using them to hold anything that would ruin the lining of the suit. It's just very handy to have somewhere to put a piece of paper or ticket, particularly during weather when I'm not wearing an overcoat as well. (I use the inside jacket pockets to hold my wallet, phone and earphones, and the trouser pockets just for keys and coins.)
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  #32  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:15 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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I always open them and tuck the flaps in. Except for the outside breast pocket; I don't usually bother with that one since I don't carry pocket squares or handkerchiefs.
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  #33  
Old 04-02-2011, 07:36 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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My wife cuts them for me. She doesn't trust me with a scissors. And I want to always have a paperback with me. However, I don't wear suit jackets very often. When my daughter married in 2004, both she and my wife hit the roof when I said I would wear the suit I had bought in 1990 and worn maybe three times. So I blew $400 on a new suit, wore it at the wedding and never since. I do have a couple of sport jackets that I have worn a few times.
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  #34  
Old 04-03-2011, 03:32 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
In Eastern Europe in the 90s and here in Afghanistan now, men purposely wear their suits with the little tag on the left sleeve left in place. Often it will be a polyester suit that maybe cost $30 and the tag will say Bill Bass, or Ralph Lauren.
Here in the USA, the only men who do that are ones who plan on returning the suit after whatever weding or other event they needed the suit for. Or they don't know any better.

Also, real Ralph Lauren suits are like $1000 and not made of polyester.

It's seems like suit jacket pockets are sewn shut (or are outright fake pockets) on my cheaper "sit around the client site all day" suits like you would find at Men's Warehouse. I don't recall the pockets being sewn shut on my more expensive "important client interview" suits.

Doesn't matter really because the only thing you should ever put in the front pocket is a pocket square.
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  #35  
Old 04-04-2011, 06:32 AM
SecondJudith SecondJudith is offline
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I'm not a guy, but I do this (cutting the stitches holding a pocket closed) on suits and jackets that came like that. And chalk me up as another woman who HATES HATES HATES the fake pocket thing that so many women's clothing designers seem to love. What the hell am I supposed to do with my wallet?
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  #36  
Old 04-04-2011, 08:09 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Blazer, off the rack: Cut them open. Use for train card, or to put business cards in (mine, left; others': right)

Suit, tailored/fitted: I let the tailor make the call. If it's a good jacket that'll hold shape well with open pockets, he opens them but sternly warns me against putting anything in there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondJudith View Post
I'm not a guy, but I do this (cutting the stitches holding a pocket closed) on suits and jackets that came like that. And chalk me up as another woman who HATES HATES HATES the fake pocket thing that so many women's clothing designers seem to love. What the hell am I supposed to do with my wallet?
Why, of course it's a designer wallet that you should keep holding in your hand so everyone sees the label, or put in your designer handbag. Or better yet your accesory should be a a full-time paid flunky to hold your wallet and keys.

But yes, it's one of those annoying elements of fashion also for men - how you're not supposed to put anything in your pockets that will "break the line". My solution is to wear looser-cut clothes.
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  #37  
Old 04-04-2011, 11:13 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Why, of course it's a designer wallet that you should keep holding in your hand so everyone sees the label, or put in your designer handbag. Or better yet your accesory should be a a full-time paid flunky to hold your wallet and keys.
Yes, we should all have full time paid flunkies, apparently, who also somehow manage to look good while holding our possessions.

I really need to go sew some pockets on some of my clothes. I prefer to drop my keys in my pocket, rather than my purse, so I can dig them out quickly. I have given up trying to put my phone in my pocket, because it always falls out when I get into or out of my car. Instead, I open it slightly and put it on my neckline.
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  #38  
Old 04-04-2011, 11:21 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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I just rip them open. Then I can amuse myself at weddings and such by pulling out the individual threads.
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  #39  
Old 03-28-2012, 02:16 AM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Y'all wear 'suits'?

Regularly?

Voluntarily?

Hmph... About the only time you'll catch me in a 'suit', is either a wedding* or a wake*.


*(And that's only if they're 'next of kin'!)
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  #40  
Old 03-28-2012, 04:00 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Unholy cow! I've never in a thousand years known that suit coats came with pockets sewn up. To be sure, I've only had one suit in the past 40 years. Lemme go take a look . . .

:: Runs to closet to check suit coat :: . . .

Nope, pockets NOT sewn shut. And they're real pockets too. Suits confuse me anyway. I went out on a date once. We got talking about suits. Date was dumbfounded when I said I didn't have a sport coat. I didn't even know what a sport coat was, but I was pretty sure I didn't have one -- I had to ask someone later. (It happened to be my doctor that I asked.) I guess that's why I only went out on a date once.

I'm allowed to post in this zombie thread because I AM a zombie. How else do you think I could have known or not known anything for a thousand years?

ETA: And don't even get me started about neckties!

Last edited by Senegoid; 03-28-2012 at 04:01 AM..
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  #41  
Old 03-28-2012, 05:13 AM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
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Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
Y'all wear 'suits'?

Regularly?

Voluntarily?

Hmph... About the only time you'll catch me in a 'suit', is either a wedding* or a wake*.


*(And that's only if they're 'next of kin'!)
I look fucking good in a suit, so dear god yes do I wear them. Ironically, my work attire is jeans and a wacky t-shirt (programmer), so I pretty much only suit up for when hitting the town.

And yes, pockets are meant to be opened, they wouldn't be sewn up so shoddily if they weren't. On the other hand, don't place anything other than a handkerchief in the breast pocket,
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  #42  
Old 03-28-2012, 05:57 AM
Smapti Smapti is online now
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I've never owned a new, tailored suit - all the suit jackets I own are used ones I bought at thrift stores.

That being said, i've always been of the understanding that the pockets on suit jackets are strictly intended for show rather than for use - actually carrying things is what your overcoat and pants pockets are fore.
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  #43  
Old 03-28-2012, 07:39 AM
Sandwich Sandwich is offline
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Pro tip: in the circles where people wear suits as a matter of course, for work and for play, it is gauche to treat them as anything other than informal wear (because that's what they are). You open the pockets, and use them when you want to. No one who matters is going to notice or care (or even understand) that that 'spoils' the jacket.

Thinking about it, if you want to keep your keys in the pocket of your morning coat or evening jacket no one is going to bat an eye at that either. Just open the pockets and relax about it.
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  #44  
Old 03-28-2012, 08:17 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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I use the pockets. I have a couple of nice suits that have convenient sub pockets within the pockets, they wouldn't be there if you weren't to use them. Sandwich has it right, the trick to wearing a suit is just to wear it and not be the guy who walks around worrying about being in a suit, that guy always stands out.
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  #45  
Old 03-28-2012, 08:24 AM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Sandwich View Post
Pro tip: in the circles where people wear suits as a matter of course, for work and for play, it is gauche to treat them as anything other than informal wear (because that's what they are). You open the pockets, and use them when you want to. No one who matters is going to notice or care (or even understand) that that 'spoils' the jacket.

Thinking about it, if you want to keep your keys in the pocket of your morning coat or evening jacket no one is going to bat an eye at that either. Just open the pockets and relax about it.
It took over 2 years, but someone finally put up the definitive post in this thread.
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  #46  
Old 03-28-2012, 08:32 AM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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I wear a suit or sport jacket a couple times a month, and regularly keep my keys in a side pocket and my phone in the inside breast pocket. I'll also put other things in the pockets - mostly things that my kids or wife give me to hold for them.
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  #47  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:59 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Thinking about it, if you want to keep your keys in the pocket of your morning coat or evening jacket no one is going to bat an eye at that either. Just open the pockets and relax about it.
I thought that your valet or secretary was supposed to carry those things for you, and you never went anywhere without him.
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  #48  
Old 03-28-2012, 11:17 AM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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I always cut them if I notice and get around to doing it -- I have jackets that I've had for years with pockets still sewn up, but at any time if I'm near scissors or if the thread is starting to come loose I open it up.

On that second point...some here have been saying that the sewn pockets are intended to stay that way and maintain the line of the jacket or whatever. But IME the sewing is often loose and thin enough thread that it will unthread itself over time. And if anything, the more expensive jackets have the easiest pockets to open.

Last edited by Mijin; 03-28-2012 at 11:18 AM..
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  #49  
Old 03-28-2012, 11:54 AM
phreesh phreesh is offline
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Hey, my first zombie thread!

Welcome back, thread. I missed you.

Also, thanks for the further replies. I'm still aggravated they come sewn shut. Especially given further evidence that they should be used.
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  #50  
Old 03-28-2012, 12:26 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
Hmph... About the only time you'll catch me in a 'suit', is either a wedding* or a wake*.
Me too, but I go to a lot of weddings. 32 in the last 10 years, including mine.
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