If you polled 100 on the street and asked them how many different types of suit pockets there are, you will likely get 15 different answers (if the guys don’t simply roll their eyes and walk away). These men will likely be surprised to hear that there are 5 different pocket types commonly found in men’s suits, and we will profile in a little bit of detail below.
The besom pocket (or welt pocket or jetted pocket as
it is also known), looks like a slit cut in the suit fabric. The two
sides of the pocket that meet are called the welts, hence its
alternative moniker. This pocket is considered quite formal and is
commonly found on suits and tuxedos.
The flap pocket is a modified besom pocket that has a
flap of fabric covering the bottom welt. Some men will tuck the flap
into the pocket giving the suit the illusion of having a besom pocket
(this also gives the wearer flexibility with his suit). As with the
besom pocket, this is one of the more formal pockets and is found on
suits and tuxedos as well.
The single welt pocket is similar to a besom pocket
but doesn’t have the upper welt; this makes the pocket more accessible
for the wearer. The single welt pocket is commonly seen on vests for
three piece suits.
The patch pocket is more casual than the three
previous pockets. The pocket is sewn onto the fabric of the suit as
opposed to being cut into the fabric. The patch pocket is found on
casual sport coats and not on formal attire.
The last and least common pocket is the bellows pocket.
It commonly appears as the pocket found on cargo pants. This pocket
traces its roots back to the jacket’s hunting and sport origins. The
folds in the pocket allow it to expand when filled to capacity. As with
the patch pocket, this is a very casual option and should be worn for
less formal occasions.
While we are talking about pockets let’s quickly address a common
question men have when purchasing a suit: “Why are the pockets sewn shut
on this suit?” This is called the basting stitch or basting thread and
is found in various pockets and locations on new suits. Initially, the
stitch is used to keep pockets and vents closed and lined up while the
suit is being constructed. Once finished, the thread is kept on and
helps keep the pocket closed and the suit flat during transportation,
display, and fittings. Once purchased, the thread has serves no further
purpose and can be carefully removed. Whether you take it out though
is up to personal preference; there’s no set style rule that says your
pockets must be basting stitch free!