The Patch & Flap


If you thought that this post was going to be about the iconic J.Press patch and flap pocket know that it was a good guess. I actually won’t be talking shirts at all. What I will be talking about is why I am a big proponent for patch and flap pockets on sport coats and blazers.

Patch and flap pockets are a big part of the trad look. In terms of importance they are up there right along with the 3/2 roll and being dart-less, but are probably more akin to center vents versus hooked vents in that they are one of the more negotiable elements in the trad cannon.

Before I dive into why I am a such big fan I will get everyone up to speed on patch and flap pockets. When it comes to suits and sport coats there are basically two types of pockets. There is the jetted and the patch. If a jacket has jetted pockets the only visible part of the pocket will be the horizontal line of the pocket opening. This is the more formal of the two pocket types.

Patch pockets are the less formal and are almost exclusively found on sport coats/blazers. The patch pocket is exactly what it sounds like which is a patch of fabric that has been attached to the jacket. This technique leaves a visible outline of the pocket. Being that it is the least formal it should come of no surprise that it is also the most trad pocket.

Not only am I fan of the patch pocket I am also a fan of the flap pocket. The flap is attached above the pocket allowing for the pocket to be closed. It should be noted that not all patch pockets have flaps. In all honesty I am not a fan of flap-less patch pockets. They look unfinished or incomplete to my eye like a pair of chinos without a cuff.

Fall 1981 Grey Herringbone Sport Coat
An Example of Jetted Pockets with Flaps

Grey Herringbone Sack Sport JacketAn Example of Patch and Flap Pockets

In short, I am an advocate for these pockets because look more casual than jetted pockets. They look sporty and dare I even say a little rugged. As we all know we live an increasingly causal world. This can be a challenge for those of us that prefer a little more formality in our attire. This is where patch and flap pockets become your friend.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

3 Comments on "The Patch & Flap"

  1. Fred Johnson says:

    I am a big fan of the patch & flap look as well as the unparched flap look.
    Patch & flap is the less formal of the two and, for me, lends itself to more casual trousers like
    Chinos and cords. Swelled edges and lapped seams also
    add to a less formal look. I am not a fan of unflapped pockets.

  2. oxford cloth button down says:

    Fred – Great point! I did not mention that in my post, but should have as it is definitely where my head was at.

  3. Bag Of Coins says:

    I’ll chime in as a fan of the unflapped patch pocket as well as the flapped patch. Like the patch & flap, unflapped pockets communicate informality while staying well within the realm of classic/trad clothing. But to me the unflapped patch pocket is particularly appealing/practical with heavier wools and thicker Harris Tweeds. And its easier to casually use your hip pockets too. I’m also (probably in the minority here) a bit averse to jackets that mix patch pockets & jetted pockets (i.e. patch hip pockets and a jetted chest pocket). Even thought its perfectly acceptable and used all over, it looks to me like the manufacturer changed their minds in the middle of a production run. The triple patch pocket (flapped or unflapped hip pockets) really shines as casual but still classic. It shows you can handle a degree of formality (and professionalism) without going all the way and wearing a suit.
    And congratulations on five years of blogging! Looking forward to more!

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