Friday, July 16, 2010

Punctilios: Besom Pockets

Behold, an illustrative diagram.  On the left, you see a flap pocket, standard issue on men's suits these days.  But wait--what is that?--there on the right?--is it a bird? a plane?--no, it's a besom pocket, rarer still than Superman.

Flap pockets are a newer design than besom pockets.  The Fourth Earl/King/Gurkha of Whateverceistershire in the Northumberland popularized the flap pocket by sheer force of will.  (True story; the names have been changed to protect my ignorance.)  You still see besom pockets in formal settings, such as tuxedos.

Good news!  Many men's suits can be turned into besom-pocket suits for a slightly different but still very refined look.  Just lift the flap and remove the stitches keeping the pocket closed.  A pocket knife or seam ripper will do nicely.  Then tuck in the flap.  If the pocket's lower, previously hidden edge is finished, voila! besom pocket.

N.B. Several dry cleanings may have left an imprint on your jacket:

If so, take it back (or take a hand-steamer to it) and see if you can knock out the rectangular border left behind.  If not, pull the pocket flap back out and voila! flap pocket, still very respectable.

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