Engineered Garments Expedition jacket; photo via Steven Alan.
-Pete

Engineered Garments Expedition jacket; photo via Steven Alan.

-Pete

Plackets and Pockets: Know the Details
For classic men’s style, expressions are often in the tiniest of tiny details. Closed eyelets on shoes express formality, cuffs on trousers express casualness, and structured shoulders give a sense of rigidity and authority.
The details of a button up shirt are just as expressive. The length of your collar points, shape of your collar, and cut of your cuffs all hold certain meanings. I’ll cover those some other time, but today I’ll discuss something you may not have considered - plackets and pockets.
A placket is that extra piece of material at the front of the shirt  where the buttonholes are placed. It’s usually created by folding the shirt’s  material onto the front, or by sewing a separate piece of  material onto this area. This design not only helps give support and strength to the  opening of the shirt, where most stress is placed, but it also  creates a visual center when the shirt is buttoned. Most  shirts you’ve seen (and almost certainly the one you’re wearing right  now) have plackets.
The alternative is the French front (also known as the “plain  center”). Here the material is folded to the underside of the shirt so  that it’s not visible. It is then secured by the stitching on the  buttonholes.
There’s no right or wrong way to choose between these details, but you should know what effect each will have. Getting a shirt without a placket or pocket, like the shirt above, will look cleaner, and since simplicity tends towards formality, it will also be dressier. A shirt with a placket and pocket, then, will conversely be a bit more causal.
I also find that shirts without plackets and pockets look more Continental European, while shirts with these details look more American. As such, you should choose shirts that most accords with your personal sense of style. I happen to favor shirts without them, as I like dressier, tailored Italian clothes, but someone who likes a more casual American style should get shirts with these details.
However you choose, note that some shirts should be made in certain ways. An oxford cloth button down, for example, is inherently casual and very American, so I think it looks best with a placket and pocket. If you want it to be even more American, you get the pocket with a flap, like this. This design detail was invented by J. Press and has since been strongly associated with the trad/ Ivy League crowd. Again, it’s all about knowing what these details mean and choosing accordingly.

Plackets and Pockets: Know the Details

For classic men’s style, expressions are often in the tiniest of tiny details. Closed eyelets on shoes express formality, cuffs on trousers express casualness, and structured shoulders give a sense of rigidity and authority.

The details of a button up shirt are just as expressive. The length of your collar points, shape of your collar, and cut of your cuffs all hold certain meanings. I’ll cover those some other time, but today I’ll discuss something you may not have considered - plackets and pockets.

A placket is that extra piece of material at the front of the shirt where the buttonholes are placed. It’s usually created by folding the shirt’s material onto the front, or by sewing a separate piece of material onto this area. This design not only helps give support and strength to the opening of the shirt, where most stress is placed, but it also creates a visual center when the shirt is buttoned. Most shirts you’ve seen (and almost certainly the one you’re wearing right now) have plackets.

The alternative is the French front (also known as the “plain center”). Here the material is folded to the underside of the shirt so that it’s not visible. It is then secured by the stitching on the buttonholes.

There’s no right or wrong way to choose between these details, but you should know what effect each will have. Getting a shirt without a placket or pocket, like the shirt above, will look cleaner, and since simplicity tends towards formality, it will also be dressier. A shirt with a placket and pocket, then, will conversely be a bit more causal.

I also find that shirts without plackets and pockets look more Continental European, while shirts with these details look more American. As such, you should choose shirts that most accords with your personal sense of style. I happen to favor shirts without them, as I like dressier, tailored Italian clothes, but someone who likes a more casual American style should get shirts with these details.

However you choose, note that some shirts should be made in certain ways. An oxford cloth button down, for example, is inherently casual and very American, so I think it looks best with a placket and pocket. If you want it to be even more American, you get the pocket with a flap, like this. This design detail was invented by J. Press and has since been strongly associated with the trad/ Ivy League crowd. Again, it’s all about knowing what these details mean and choosing accordingly.

Q and Answer: Where Do I Put My Cell Phone?
Eric writes: I’m always in a quandary about what to do with my cell phone.  Other  sites say to never wear a cell phone on a belt—apparently it’s this  generation’s pocket protector or Batman utility belt accessory.  On the  other hand, I don’t like the way a cell phone in the front pocket breaks  up the line of my always flat front dress pants.  What’s a guy to do?
There are a pair of answers to this question, which we get a lot in our email inbox.
The first is to carry a bag.  You’re describing work; my presumption is that you’re bringing a briefcase of some kind with you.  There’s plenty of room for wallets, phones, keys and all other manner of miscellanea in there.
The second is to put it in your jacket pocket.  I tend to use the upper pocket (seen above) for my cardholder, and the lower pocket for my phone.  Neither breaks the line of my jacket significantly.
Generally speaking, these are the solutions to all your stuff-carrying problems.  I generally carry a car key and two house keys, a small card holder, and some folded cash in addition to my phone.  It all goes either in jacket pockets or a bag unless I’m not wearing/carrying either.  In that case, it fits fine in the pockets of my jeans.
You’re right to think that the belt clip is the pocket protector of our generation.  There is absolutely no excuse for it.  It is embarassing, and if you own one of these grotesque monstrosities, you should throw it away now, lest you be tempted to wear it in the future. 

Q and Answer: Where Do I Put My Cell Phone?

Eric writes: I’m always in a quandary about what to do with my cell phone.  Other sites say to never wear a cell phone on a belt—apparently it’s this generation’s pocket protector or Batman utility belt accessory.  On the other hand, I don’t like the way a cell phone in the front pocket breaks up the line of my always flat front dress pants.  What’s a guy to do?

There are a pair of answers to this question, which we get a lot in our email inbox.

The first is to carry a bag.  You’re describing work; my presumption is that you’re bringing a briefcase of some kind with you.  There’s plenty of room for wallets, phones, keys and all other manner of miscellanea in there.

The second is to put it in your jacket pocket.  I tend to use the upper pocket (seen above) for my cardholder, and the lower pocket for my phone.  Neither breaks the line of my jacket significantly.

Generally speaking, these are the solutions to all your stuff-carrying problems.  I generally carry a car key and two house keys, a small card holder, and some folded cash in addition to my phone.  It all goes either in jacket pockets or a bag unless I’m not wearing/carrying either.  In that case, it fits fine in the pockets of my jeans.

You’re right to think that the belt clip is the pocket protector of our generation.  There is absolutely no excuse for it.  It is embarassing, and if you own one of these grotesque monstrosities, you should throw it away now, lest you be tempted to wear it in the future.