What is that Little Loop Under the Back of the Collar of Men’s Button-Down Shirts Used For?

Have you ever noticed how button-down shirts have a loop on the back? Of course, we’ve all seen this shirt loop, but most of us haven’t given it much thought. Well, it actually serves a purpose, or it used to.

We take so many common design elements for granted because we don’t know their purpose. And, over the years, the apparel industry has revealed many intriguing puzzles. For example, we’ve already discussed the small pocket on your jeans and what it’s for. And on this article, we’ll unravel the facts about the small loop on your button-down shirt. Exciting, isn’t it?

What is the Little Loop at the Back of Your Button-Down Shirt is For?

You’ve probably seen them before, but you’re probably unaware of their history – or why they were created in the first place. Well, the answer is fascinating, especially given that most men’s shirts are still made with them today. Who knew that such a minor detail would be one of the few things to withstand the passing of time in the fashion world? 

The loop, which can be found on many men’s dress shirts, is a tiny piece of fabric that usually takes up the space between both shoulder blades. It is where the shirt’s yoke or the upper back meets the crease.

This small detail is known as a locker loop, and it serves a particular purpose that dates back to the mid-1900s.

For East Coast Sailors

This unnoticed feature, like many others, is associated with America’s Ivy League schools. However, before it was associated with East Coast prep, the detail was first appearing on East Coast sailors’ clothing in the first half of the twentieth century.

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Due to space constraints, ships were equipped with space-saving lockers rather than wardrobes. Since these lockers were too narrow to fit a clothing hanger, shirts were sewn with fabric loops that could be hung on hooks inside the lockers. As a result, shirts were also less wrinkled when they were hung rather than folded.

For Ivy League

The sailors weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the loops. When Gant Shirtmakers incorporated the locker loop into its line of oxford cloth button-downs, it eventually gained some popularity. Back in the 1960s, collegiate participants liked button-down shirts and needed a way to keep their shirts looking nice and neat while working out. And as Yale’s official fashion brand, Gant created a mainstay on the New Haven campus, notifying famous men’s fashion throughout the United States.

For Romantic Signal

Locker loops have initially been used in collegiate locker rooms, as we already mentioned. Still, students repurposed them to convey their relationship status. For example, if a guy’s loop was missing, it indicates that he was dating someone. On the other hand, women wear their boyfriend’s scarf to show they were taken.

The Best Button-Down Shirt for Men

Since we are talking about the little loop on men’s button-down shirts, which we now understand its purpose, maybe it’s time to look for a new button-down shirt to add to your wardrobe. 

Before you pull the plug on your button-down, there are two significant factors to consider — fit and fabric, which are the enduring foundations of any smart clothing purchase and are very critical.

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And to help you with your next purchase, we’ve listed down some of the best (at least we know they are the best) button-down shirts in the market.

Uniqlo Men’s Slim-Fit Oxford Long-Sleeve Shirt

It is never a secret that this is a genuinely affordable slim-fit Oxford from Uniqlo. This button-down shirt is also something you can wear all the time. And as you know, If you untuck your Oxfords, they can look boxy or too long. But with this one, it will look flattering and can be worn both ways. In addition to white, the shirt is available in four other colors: light blue, pink, gray, and navy.

Patagonia Organic Cotton Flannel Shirt

The flannel shirt’s broad appeal reflects the design’s timeless nature. There is truly one for everyone, from your grungy younger brother, who prefers his long and slouchy, to your highly disappointed father, who likes his sturdy and substantial enough to withstand the residual debris it will encounter as an accessory to any difficult house chores. Take, for example, Patagonia’s soft, organic cotton offer.

Todd Snyder Chambray Work Shirt

A chambray shirt is an excellent option for any man. The athletic shirt style looks great under a blazer and chinos for work or layered over a T-shirt and jeans for weekly adventures. It’s light, absorbent, and suitable for all seasons, which is, well, a no-brainer.

Everlane The Heavyweight Overshirt

Shackets, also known as shirt jackets, are an excellent stylish top-layer for transitional weather. Everlane’s utilitarian button-down is made of heavy cotton twill to keep you warm when the weather cools down. Still, it won’t make you sweat inside. It is considered the Goldilocks of fall outerwear.

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Topman Denim Shirt

There’s no denying that the denim shirt is a fashion staple. We could extol its stylistic virtues six times over, but suffice to say that if there’s one piece of iconic Americana genuinely deserving of the superlative, it might just be the denim button-down.

Bonobos The Cord Shirt

This season, you can elevate your rugged look with a rich, textured corduroy shirt. This Bonobos button-down shirt tops off your casual style with a sincerely soft feel when overlaid over a T-shirt or turtleneck.

Outerknown The New Denim Project Knit Shirt

Listen to what we have to say if you’re curious about a shirt made of repurposed jeans. This button-down has significant environmental benefits. It uses less water than similar shirts and keeps fabric out of landfills. Not only that, but it is also incredibly comfortable and one-of-a-kind. Each shirt has a one-of-a-kind color pattern because it’s made from re-used jeans.

The Bottom Line

The locker loop is no longer regarded as a symbol in pop culture, but it is still an integral part of button-down shirts from some brands. And, whether or not you use this historic design feature for its original purpose, which is for hanging it in a locker, it is still nice to know the reason behind this clothing mystery. But, at least now you know what that little loop at the back of your button-down shirt is for. Amazing, right?

READ ALSOWhat is the Small Pocket in Men’s Pants For?

Jonathan B. Delfs

I love to write about men's lifestyle and fashion. Unique tips and inspiration for daily outfits and other occasions are what we like to give you at MensVenture.com. Do you have any notes or feedback, please write to me directly: [email protected]

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